If you haven’t had the unique pleasure of attending an Annual Ceremonial Review of the 617 Dambusters Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron it’s worth marking on your calendar now for next year.
Numbering around 60 members this year, the Dambusters are one of the most successful youth groups in The Pilot coverage area.
Throughout the year cadets meet on a weekly basis where they practice marching, learn how to shoot a rifle, practice music, attend classes and much more. In addition they also attend practice sessions for various components of cadets, such as biathlon. Not to mention making appearances at community functions and taking part in fundraising initiatives for the community.
We are so used to seeing Dambusters cadets in our community. With a proud 56-year history they are ingrained into the general sense of community we all share. What would the Santa Claus parade, Happy Tree lighting or Remembrance Day ceremonies be without cadet participation?
What makes this youth group even more special is that it is open to any and every youth who wants to take part. There are no sign-up fees, uniform costs, camp fees, etcetera. In fact, everything is provided for each cadet from the tip of their shiny black boots to the tip of their wedge/headdress — the uniforms are provided at no cost to cadets. The only thing cadets are asked of in return is to wear it with pride.
The various training opportunities such as glider flights and summer camps are at no charge. Cadets have opportunities to explore areas of flight and just a few months ago The Pilot reported on one cadet, Jessica Stuckey who earned her private pilot’s license, all through the opportunities afforded to her by the cadet program and through her dedication to earn those opportunities.
Over the years various Dambusters drill teams have won regional and provincial awards for their skills. Biathlon team members have had amazing results that have carried them all the way through to national competition.
The Dambusters wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community, especially the Kin Club of Notre Dame who took over from the Royal Canadian Legion as the sponsoring body for the local cadet organization a few years ago.
It also takes a dedicated team of volunteers to come out every week for various training and community events to make the program possible.
Then there are the parents who also make sure their children make it to the meetings and events. You can be sure they are also behind the scenes making sure uniforms are clean, pressed and inspection ready each time.
The Dambusters and it’s supporters are to be congratulated for their ongoing success and for encouraging generations of local youth to commit to something important that will have long-lasting positive impacts in their lives and in their schools and communities.
— Karen Wells