Air cadets heading abroad for 75th ‘D-Day’ anniversary

Sam Odrowski

Local air cadets are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Western Europe to participate in the 75th anniversary celebration of “D-Day” on Juno Beach later this spring.
From May 31-June 9, the cadets participating in the trip will explore the history of both world wars as they travel from Amsterdam to Paris on the “Road to Liberation.”
It’s the first trip of its kind for the 908 Rainy Lake Air Cadets and they are extremely excited to travel abroad, administrative officer Kirsty Sinclair noted.
The visit is being facilitated through Education First (EF) Tours to help the cadets navigate their trip and offer context to the historical sites they visit.
The cadets who attend are expected to actively participate in the commemoration ceremonies and tours, as well as develop an informed understanding of the historical events impact on the present and future.
They also will be expected to make connections by researching the life of a local soldier, honouring a hometown regiment, or by connecting with other squadrons who are embarking on the “D-Day” trip.
Building perspective is another important part of EF Tours.
This is done by developing a richer understanding of historic events on a global scale as the cadets participate in activities and explore sites of significance that highlight various historical, social, and cultural perspectives.
Lastly, reflection is a major focus of the tours. The tour director will help facilitate meaningful reflection individually and in groups through activities designed to engage travellers.
It is hoped the visit will help broaden the cadets’ perspectives and provide them with a more in-depth view of the world.
It will be beneficial to have “the cadets see that they’re part of something bigger than just what they see in Fort Frances,” Sinclair explained.
During the trip, the cadets will be meeting with other cadet groups in Amsterdam and France, which also will help to provide them with a different experience, she added.
“They’ll get to see a bigger picture of what the cadet program is, which might spark interest in possibly furthering their careers in the military if that’s what they want to do,” Sinclair reasoned.
The trip will cost the squadron about $20,000 and members have been fundraising actively to fully offset the cost.
So far, a little over $13,000 has been raised through a series of events.
Late last year, the squadron organized the “Jimmy The Janitor” show, did a bottle drive, held a bake sale at The Bargain Shop, sold hot chocolate, chili, and soup during the town’s Santa Claus parade, and held a meat draw.
For Family Day (Feb. 18), the cadets plan to host a pancake breakfast at the local Legion to help raise more funds for the trip.
As well, they hope to hold another meat draw for Father’s Day in conjunction with a barbecue at the Legion.
The cadets also are hoping to host an all-in-one garage/plant/craft/bake sale in the spring.
If they exceed their fundraising goal of $20,000, Sinclair said leftover funds potentially will be used for future trips for the squadron.
“I hope this is the first of many [trips] that we’re able to continue doing,” she remarked.
“I hope that it goes well and there will be more interest for something like this at a later time.”