Cadets Canada is adapting to today’s cadets.
This summer at Penhold Air Cadet Summer Training Centre, a new interactive general training program will allow cadets age 12 to 14 to spend less time in the classroom while getting a taste of a variety of cadet training.
“As youth change, the cadet program needs to change with them,” said Capt. Amber Wenzel-Novakowski as the centre in Springbrook prepares to welcome about 1,300 cadets, who will start arriving on Saturday.
“Over the next few years, there’s going to be five new courses developed so the entire summer program is changing.
“It’s going to be much more interactive and dynamic.”
By the end of summer, 630 cadets will have gone through the new two-week, hands-on course where they can build a weather vane, construct paper airplanes, participate in a drum line or soar through the sky in a glider.
They will also learn life skills like how to use a washing machine and make a bed the cadet way with a flat sheet and hospital corners.
“Not all kids learn well sitting in a classroom and having someone talk at them. Kids learn better by doing,” said Capt. Deborah Nahachewsky, squadron commander of the new course.
The cadet music program, that includes a pipe band, a military brass band and a reed band, will continue its high-quality instruction with one new twist.
“I think the big push is to try to make our advanced musicians do more at the local headquarters. They are getting the tools to start up bands or to help their band officer make a better band,” Lt.-Cmdr. Ryan Graham said.
A new gymnasium floor in a refurbished hangar at the former air force base is also awaiting cadets.
This week, 150 staff cadets, who arrived on Saturday, will prepare to take on roles in supervision and training.
Work by Red Deer County to curb and repave most of the roads that run through the centre should be mostly complete by July 15.
Wenzel-Novakowski said extra care will be taken when cadets march on the grounds and inspections of the cadets will be done indoors before they set foot near muddy construction areas.
“These cadets put hours of work into their uniforms, into their boots, so we’re going inspect them in their barracks until the work is done,” she said with a smile.