Officer is worried about the fate of cadets because youth seem to be losing interest.
Arthur C Green
Gladys Smith is an officer with Whitbourne cadets, and she is worried about its future.
“Everything that I am and that I have, I owe to the cadet movement here in the province,” Smith said.
The cadet corps in Newfoundland and Labrador is seeing youth march to a different drummer as enrollment numbers are on a decline.
“The numbers are declining from when I was a youth in the cadet program,” said Smith. “It’s a sin because cadets is free.”
When Smith first enrolled in the program in 1998, her squadron had a membership of about 50 members. The Whitbourne 2584 Royal Canadian Army Cadet squad now has 25 enrolled.
The Newfoundland program, which has 63 squads, mainly focuses on teaching young people discipline, respect and provides valuable life qualities which Smith says has followed her into adulthood.
The program provides courses in public speaking, marksmanship, hunting skills, and music. As well, cadets have a regular chance for travel in the summer with various camps being spread throughout Canada. Youth are paid for their attendance in these summer programs.
Brandon Smith, 14, is a sergeant in the local 2584 squad.
“I think it’s really important for all youth to join,” Smith said. “For high school, cadets gives me career hours which can be used towards graduation.”
According to the federal government the total number of cadet’s in the Atlantic provinces is 8,660. With 52,890 cadets across Canada serving in 1,000 cadet groups.
There is also no obligation for youth to join the Canadian Armed Forces. Although they learn the same drills, and partake in the same type of military traditions.
In order to join this program, youth must be at least 12 years of age and be under 19.