Submitted by Major Kevin DeBiasio
The Regional Cadet Support Unit, Pacific, (RCSU Pac) hosted a Regional Directed Activity (RDA) weekend for Sea, Army and Air Cadets from the West and East Kootenays recently. Training and accommodation took place between the two Cranbrook cadet units – 1813 Lord Strathcona Army Cadet Corp and 552 Key City Air Cadet Squadron.
Music clinics, orienteering, summer biathlon, standing range and first aid brought over sixty-five interested youth together from Grand Forks, Nelson, Trail, Invermere, Kimberley and Cranbrook. For many of these cadets, it was the first time they have had the opportunity to try these activities.
The music clinic offered cadets a chance to have some quality learning time, working on theory and techniques with qualified instructors. On Sunday, everyone formed up and marched down the street to the beat of the Bass Drum.
Toni Kitto from the Kootenay Orienteering Club assisted with running an orienteering clinic and then a race for 40 cadets. The course was set out around the College of Rockies, in the Community Forest. With a 1:5,000 scale map, competitors needed to find a number of “controls,” in the correct order, within the allotted time frame. The great thing about orienteering is you decide which route is the best for your ability. Cutting across the terrain may be a shorter distance, but some of the obstacles may slow you down. On the other hand, staying on the path may take a longer time. It is up to you when to stay on the path and when to try a short cut, and that makes this sport fun and challenging.
“Summer” biathlon is a combination of running and marksmanship. It requires tremendous endurance and strength, as well as skill and precision. Unpredictable elements including weather and wind conditions make this outdoor sport a fun and rewarding challenge. In marksmanship, cadets learn the two shooting positions – “prone” (laying down) and “standing.” On Sunday, they were introduced to the proper stance and body positions for the standing position. In both programs, cadets are taught the proper use and safe handling of firearms.
Four local firefighters stopped by to chat with cadets about what they do and what it takes to become a firefighter. They discussed their roles and responsibilities during emergency calls, and that each call is different. When it comes to first aid, their primary focus is to stabilize the patient for transportation. The firefighters demonstrated securing a cervical collar onto a cadet volunteer, who had a “suspected spinal injury.” As they went along, they talked about the whole procedure. The cadets had a large variety of questions for the firefighters and a keen interest in the responses.
If you have an interest in music, aviation, sailing, marksmanship, public speaking, first aid, drill, the cadet program offers opportunities to contribute your skills close to home.
· The Cadet Program is open to all Canadian youth from the ages of 12 to 18 regardless of income, race, religion, culture or other socio-economic factors. The program embraces Canada’s multiculturalism and offers young Canadians opportunities to interact with youth from other cultures.
· In the West Kootenays, there are two Sea Corps and four Air Squadrons, and in the East Kootenays, there are five Army Corps and three Air Squadrons.