New cadet corps

The Glengarry News - - News -

You may have seen cadets in cam­ou­flage and big smiles, milling about North and South Glen­garry over the last few months.

These young peo­ple are mem­bers of the new cadet corps in Alexan­dria, des­ig­nated as the ACFC No. 1 Don­ald High­landers, Alexan­dria Cadet Force, or ACFC Cadets, Alexan­dria for short.

This new cadet pro­gram, for youth aged 12 to 19 is in­de­pen­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Army Cadets, and pro­vides a dif­fer­ent model than the tra­di­tional army cadet pro­gram.

The new group is hold­ing an in­for­ma­tion and reg­is­tra­tion night for parents and adult vol­un­teers May 25, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sand­field Cen­tre at Is­land Park in Alexan­dria. Youth in­ter­ested in join­ing, are en­cour­aged to bring a par­ent or guardian and sign up. There will be a short pre­sen­ta­tion and video start­ing at 6:30 p.m. and parents, care­givers and youth will get to meet vol­un­teers and cadets.

Those un­able to at­tend the reg­is­tra­tion night may con­tact the ACFC at [email protected] or fol­low the corps on In­sta­gram @acfc_­canada

The unit's act­ing Cap­tain, Si­mon McDonald, notes that there is al­ready an Air Cadet pro­gram in Alexan­dria. “The Glen­garry Mus­tangs Air Cadets in Alexan­dria is an ex­cel­lent pro­gram,” he says, adding he re­spects the or­ga­ni­za­tion. “How­ever, it's a once a week pro­gram, with oc­ca­sional week­ends and a sum­mer camp. Our pro­gram is com­pletely dif­fer­ent as it's an ev­ery-day af­ter-school pro­gram, and runs all sum­mer long for youth that do not get the op­por­tu­nity to go away for camp.”

He adds that the two pro­grams are not in com­pe­ti­tion with each other.

“I en­cour­age ev­ery child of el­i­gi­ble age to join the Mus­tangs. ACFC Cadets are wel­come to par­tic­i­pate in any other pro­gram such as Air Cadets or Scouts. Our com­mit­tee also felt as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and parents, that we had to do some­thing to keep the youth of Glen­garry en­gaged and on track in the wake of the re­cent drug ar­rests in Alexan­dria. At the end of the day it's all about the kids,” says Mr. McDonald.

He is well known as Chair­man of Clan Don­ald Fes­ti­vals, who along with his team, was re­spon­si­ble for sav­ing the 2017 Fes­ti­val of Lights, and staged McSanta in Mart­in­town, the Kilt Skate and Op­er­a­tion Cold Turkey in Alexan­dria. He is also a mem­ber of the board for half a dozen other com­mu­nity groups and com­mit­tees. Mr. McDonald re­lates: “We started our cadet pro­gram in early March of this year with 10 Cadets as a soft-launch to gauge the in­ter­est from the kids and the com­mu­nity. Since then we have re­ceived an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­sponse and tremen­dous in­ter­est in our pro­gram, and we are now ready to ex­pand our force. We cur­rently have the ca­pac­ity in terms of fund­ing and adult su­per­vi­sion to add up to an ad­di­tional 50 cadets.”

ACFC fo­cuses on com­mu­nity ser­vice, life skills, and wilder­ness sur­vival, and is largely based on the Bri­tish ACF. All adult in­struc­tors and adult su­per­vi­sors are vul­ner­a­ble sec­tor screened vol­un­teers, and due to the volunteer work­force and low ad­min­is­tra­tion costs, the ma­jor­ity of ACFC's fund­ing goes di­rectly to the cadets' train­ing, equip­ment, and fa­cil­i­ties.

Drop-in cen­tre

At the core of ACFC, is an af­ter school drop-in cen­tre where youth can go and play pool, video games and hang out with their friends in a drug and al­co­hol-free en­vi­ron­ment su­per­vised by adult vol­un­teers. The lo­cal head­quar­ters will be open six days per week, from Mon­day to Satur­day be­gin­ning in Septem­ber. A lo­ca­tion for the cen­tre has not yet been de­ter­mined. Cadets will learn and prac­tise a va­ri­ety of valu­able skills Fri­day Pa­rade Nights, and op­tional week­end field train­ing ex­er­cises, through­out the year. They will learn G1 li­cence in­struc­tion, G2 road test prepa­ra­tion, cook­ing, bud­get and project man­age­ment, lead­er­ship, wa­ter safety, wilder­ness sur­vival, marks­man­ship and firearms safety, crit­i­cal think­ing and sit­u­a­tional aware­ness.

There is also a huge em­pha­sis on com­mu­nity ser­vice, and veteran ap­pre­ci­a­tion. ACFC Cadets have al­ready par­tic­i­pated in clean-up ac­tiv­i­ties in St. Raphael's, and Alexan­dria Is­land Park as well as taken part in Op­er­a­tion Cold Turkey, a Clan Don­ald ini­tia­tive to raise aware­ness of poverty is­sues, and col­lect do­na­tions of cash and gro­ceries for the lo­cal food bank.

The en­tire pro­gram in­clud­ing the uni­forms and camp­ing equip­ment are pro­vided free of charge, and is funded by the com­mu­nity and lo­cal busi­ness spon­sors. ACFC Cadets is an in­de­pen­dent civil­ian or­ga­ni­za­tion, with an army theme and is not part of or af­fil­i­ated with the Cana­dian Forces or the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fence. Cadets have no obli­ga­tion to join the Cana­dian Forces.

ACFC is also look­ing to ex­pand the num­ber of adult vol­un­teers. Cur­rent and for­mer Cana­dian Forces mem­bers will have a chance to teach their unique skills such as bushcraft and win­ter sur­vival and help the youth of the com­mu­nity stay on track. Pre­vi­ous mil­i­tary ex­pe­ri­ence is an as­set but not re­quired. ACFC also has volunteer po­si­tions for adult su­per­vi­sors and sup­port com­mit­tee mem­bers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.