The 574 Dakota, Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron has been a part of Martensville and area for the past three years and since then, it has seen considerable growth.
This year as they head into training, there are approximately 40 cadets taking part in the program. “Each year we usually conduct an active recruiting drive and open house, but this year, we have relied on word of mouth to bring in cadets,” Commanding Officer Captain Davies stated.
The Air Cadet program is a youth program designed for ages 12-19 that foster physical fitness, citizenship and an interest in the air element of the Canadian Armed Forces. The entire cadet program is a partnership between the Department of National Defence and in the case of the 574 Dakota, Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, the Air Cadet League of Canada. “As the name implies, we focus on those interests for all aspects of the air element from interest in being a pilot, to technical work on planes, at airports and meteorology,” Davies explained.
The program is free to join and the Canadian Armed Forces provides uniforms and staff to assist in the instruction aspect of the program. According to Davies, there is a very active and supportive Squadron Support Committee that consists of dedicated parents that help with fundraising to cover much of the operating costs.
With COVID-19 having affected the majority of us, the local Cadets are no different. Due to the global pandemic, some changes were required in order to coincide with the guidelines put in place by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The typical parade night that takes place has now been scheduled to be staggered and many of the extra-curricular programming such as band, range and biathlon have been suspended for the year.
Additionally, many of the community events that the Air Cadets typically participate in – Legion Poppy Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Hampers, etc. have been curtailed this year, as well as the field training and flying program; although Davies noted they are working on different avenues to make these happen. “The squadron prides itself in getting involved in community events, as this is a major teaching point in helping to develop the leaders of tomorrow,” said Davies.
In previous years, if there was someone interested in the Air Cadets program, they would be invited to attend an evening to see it for themselves; however, this year, those interested can visit www.574dakota.ca to learn more.