Elk Valley Air Cadets continue to soar
By S.L. Furedi
The Elk Valley Air Cadets are heading into a busy home stretch for their 2014-2015 drill year, with first aid and effective speaking competitions, volunteering, gliding, trips and fundraisers.
Roger Fairhurst, co-chair of the 279 Squadron Sponsoring Committee (SSC), says, “Our cadets have been involved in so many activities this year, it’s amazing. Right now, we’re getting ready for our annual fundraiser, a Spring Fling at the Michel-Natal Royal Canadian Legion, April 11, and we know it’ll be good. We sell out every year, and the crowd has a good time dancing in Sparwood to Common Soul, bidding on prizes and helping out the squadron.”
Tickets are $15 in advance and available at the Legion, or $20 at the door. The event runs from 8 p.m. to midnight. Funds raised help pay for various activities such as trips and training.
“We sent five cadets to a range competition in Cranbrook in January, and a dozen cadets recently finished a first aid course to prepare for both cadet and mine rescue competitions. We were sponsored by donations from the Legion and Telus for this training, and we are very grateful for that.
“Another exciting opportunity for our squadron was the Regional Effective Speaking Competition,” says Fairhurst. “We did an in-house competition last month and chose three of our cadets to go on to Cranbrook. We are very proud to announce we had cadets take first and third.”
Flt. Sgt. Joel O’Sullivan, of Elkford, will represent the East Kootenay in Richmond April 12. This is the second time he has competed and won at regionals, and Flt. Sgt. James Fairhurst took third place in Cranbrook.
“It’s a great skill for our cadets to have, but we know how scary public speaking can be,” says Fairhurst. “For our cadets to perform so well, it’s a true accomplishment. Cpl. Thomas Gold has to be commended especially, as it was his first time at the event. He’s actually younger than the other competitors but really stepped up.”
The squadron has also been active in the valley, helping at a pancake breakfast for Winter in the Wild in Elkford, and selling bingo tickets with the Sparwood Lions Club.
The next events for the squadron include an annual trip to Nanton, Alta. to the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, and a gliding exercise in Cranbrook, both combined with other squadrons in the East Kootenay.
“That’s one of the best parts of cadets,” says Fairhurst, “getting to meet up with other squadrons and participate in these exercises. We’ve also done joint survival and sports weekends, and the cadets have an excellent time.”
To complete the training year, Elk Valley Air Cadets will hold their Annual Cadet Review in June, and then start packing for summer camps. Camps develop a variety of skills, such as drill, music, marksmanship, aviation, aircraft manufacturing and maintenance, aerospace and survival, and are fully funded through the Canadian Department of National Defense.
The Elk Valley Air Cadets meet Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. at the Eagles Hall in Sparwood, and are open to anyone from the Elk Valley, aged 12-18. For more information on the cadets, call Captain Murray Clow at (250) 425-1271, or visit the squadron’s Facebook page at [email protected].
Lead image: More than a dozen cadets and officers attended and passed the St. John’s Basic First Aid course to prepare for upcoming cadet and mine rescue competitions. Photo by Trish Dyck-Mcartney