The Canadian Cadet Organizations seek to develop citizenship, leadership, and fitness. Three senior cadets from the 908 Rainy Lake Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron have a chance to do so when they attend 5-week advanced aviation camps across the country.
Flight-Sgt. Batiuk is in Connaught, Ontario, while flight sergeants Donaldson and Crabbe went to Cold Lake, Alberta. Donaldson and Crabbe left last Wednesday, and Batiuk left this week.
The Air Cadet League of Canada describes the course as an opportunity to develop as a specialist with the skills and knowledge to be an instructor and team leader for aviation activities within the Air Cadet Program. Activities include instructional technique, radio communications, meteorology, and air navigation.
Commanding officer Andrew Saciuk says the camp is a good way for the cadets, aged 15-16, to develop skills and gain further intrigue for aviation.
“The intent is to foster an interest,” he says. “Hopefully we can either light a lifelong passion with some of these kids in the aviation industry, or possibly look at aviation as the something they want to look at as a prospective career.”
Saciuk says a number of cadets go into the aviation industry.
“We have a number of pilots who are former cadets from our squadron,” he says.
Saciuk himself attended a similar style camp when he was a young sea cadet. His Winnipeg squadron went to Vancouver Island for nautical training.
“The best five summers of my life,” he says. “It was a fantastic experience.”
Saciuk estimates several thousand cadets attend these types of camps across Canada each year. These are annual camps, though no-one has attended since 2019 for obvious reasons.
The cadets attend at no cost — Saciuk says the camps are funded by the Department of National Defence. Their camp includes lodging, meals, and the training itself.
Apart from these camps, Saciuk says junior cadets attend CAPs (Cadet Activity Programs) for general training, and then once at an advanced level, they can choose a more specified camp, eg. air rifle marksmanship instructor, survival instructor, or of course, advanced aviation, among other options. He says his CAP cadets left for Thunder Bay on Sunday.
In his squadron, Saciuk was the commanding officer for five years, the administration officer for three, and then went back to commanding officer where he’s been since 2018. In his unit, he says there are two other uniformed officers along with a civilian instructor. He says about the squadron’s numbers hover around 25 cadets aged 12-18.