By Maxime Corneau, Army Cadet League of Canada, Maria Granados, The Navy League of Canada, & Anthony Langlois, The Air Cadet League Of Canada
Cathy Bach, parent of a former cadet in B.C., came to the Army Cadet League of Canada not knowing anything about the program or its inner workings. Inspired by the change she saw in her newly enrolled son, Bach decided to become involved with the League and has since risen to the board’s national level.
In her words, “There is no better youth program in Canada. I am amazed every year at the quality of youth that have benefitted from being part of this organization. My son has been out of the program for almost 10 years, and I still want to give back and support the program.” Now a member with over 15 years of experience, Cathy brings tremendous personal and professional experience to influence the local, provincial, and national boards.
Bach is amongst the thousands of like-minded individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds and have seen the results in youth who participate in the Cadet programs, and have since decided to give back to the program for a variety of reasons.
Christian Bedford, Director of Communications on the National Board for the Navy League, originally became a member to stay in touch with his maritime defence background when he moved across the country, but continues to volunteer because “the Sea Cadet and Navy League Cadet programs, just like Air and Army Cadets, provide our youth with fantastic opportunities unlike any other youth programs out there. I can’t think of a better place to volunteer my time.”
Together, the Navy, Air and Army Cadet Leagues support over 1,000 Cadet corps and squadrons across Canada. The varied Cadet programs benefit over 55,000 young Canadians aged between nine and 18 every year, and they continue to grow. Although the Leagues are closely involved in the development of policies and overseeing the civilian support to the program, they also sponsor a variety of awards, recognitions and scholarships. The Leagues also maintain strong relationships with a variety of supporting organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion, Young Citizens Foundation, ANAVETS, the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Education Foundation, industry partners and many others.
The Cadet Leagues are volunteer-driven, civilian organizations that partner with the Canadian Armed Forces to provide young Canadians with the opportunity to grow in a dynamic, challenging and fun learning environment. These Air, Army, and Sea themed programs prepare young Canadians to become active, responsible members of their communities.
Our members are dedicated to developing the leaders of tomorrow and teaching them skills that can be applied in all aspects of life. It is with the generous support from our communities and partners that we continue to help deliver first-class youth programs. These programs are tailored to those with a sense of adventure and looking to develop strong leadership skills, life skills and to improve their self-confidence and sense of responsibility.
“Through the Air Cadet program, I was trained in methods to help me to be a good leader, a good citizen, a man of my word and, most importantly, a good friend. The program taught me what integrity, loyalty and discipline truly were. It taught me to take responsibility and be accountable for my own choices,” says Donald Berrill, National President of the Air Cadet League of Canada. It is from his personal experience and the benefits that the program offered him that he, to this day, remains an engaged member of the League, and has been for decades.
Throughout the years influential individuals, such as past chiefs of defence staff, members of parliament, community leaders, and retired military members along with committed family members all work alongside to share their knowledge and experience with the Leagues.
“From the very first moment I joined the League I realized that, as a volunteer organization, the League recognized my skills while allowing me to better balance my support to the Army Cadet program with my personal and work lives,” says Robert Gill, former Army Cadet & CIC officer, local, provincial League member, and current Executive Director of the ACLC National Office. “There was no minimum or maximum commitment and no matter how much I volunteered, I always felt part of a team.”
Do you have any experience and skills you may want to bring to the table? Do you wish to help represent the Leagues’ national interests across Canada for the benefit of the Cadet programs? No matter your background, your involvement within the Cadet Leagues would be invaluable to us.