The squadron will be out in force to celebrate their Annual Cadet Review on May 27 at Queens Place Emera Centre, with everything set to begin at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public, and there is no charge.
The cadets will be demonstrating their skills during the celebrations, starting with their parade past the dignitaries. Also on display will be a fitness presentation, survival demonstration and their drill routine, which the unit came in third for in all of Southwest Nova Scotia.
Once the demonstrations are compete, cadets will receive their awards and four will receive certificates for graduating from the program. Others will receive promotions, including one to Warrant Officer.
A Warrant Officer is the highest level a cadet can reach in the program, and is then next officer down in the chain of command from the Captains. Their responsibilities equal those of the adult leaders, and they the ones who carry out orders as well as handle discipline within the unit.
Capt. Jean Blackler says the warrant officer is a critical role for the cadets, and one that sets the stage for the culture of the organization.
"You can see that change from year to year, Warrant Officer to Warrant Officer," she says.
Being a Warrant Officer is more than just the time served with the unit however, though that is a factor. Capt. Blacker says it is based on their performance, command presence, and what the commanding officers think they need as the head of the unit.
Next year will be a critical time for the squadron, when they move to their new home at South Queens Junior High. Capt. Blackler says they need a Warrant Officer to help build the unit up. The move will mean many changes for the unit, and a fresh start in many respects. They want to have a better visibility within the community, and recruit more youth into the program. The celebration on Sunday is a big part in bringing that visibility.
"A good way to get a feel for the cadets is to join us at the Annual Cadet Review," says Capt. Blackler.
A host of speakers and dignitaries will be present, including Premier Darrell Dexter who is a former cadet from the local squadron himself. Several representatives from the air cadet league will be down, as well as many other former cadets from the local program.
Capt. Blackler says it is important to show to the public how cadets have influenced the leaders of the communities.
Others in Queens County that went through the cadet program have gone on to server prominent roles as well, both outside the military and within. Case in point is Commodore William Truelove who will soon be promoted to Rear Admiral and will take command of the West Coast Canadian Navy in June.
"We'd like to send messages to them and the next generation of cadets that what they learn here is transferrable to whatever they choose to do," says Capt. Blackler.
In addition to speakers, there will be several aspects of cadets on display. The largest of which will be the full sized glider used by the cadets when learning how to fly.
Also around the arena will be historical photos dating back to the beginnings of the program, a tribute slideshow to the Canadian Forces created by one of the cadets, and other information about the program in Queens County.
After the formal part of the presentation, the floor will be opened up to the public to wander around and speak with the officers and cadets.
The cadet program is a little over 100 years old, started by teachers looking to offer a more structured program for youth. The program evolved from there so that anyone could become a leader and officer of a unit.
Women were first allowed to join the program in 1972, and since then the integration has been very successful. Though there is some fluctuation from year to year with numbers, the ratio of men to women cadets remains about even.
Nova Scotia has cadet units under all three branches - air, sea and army - with the largest unit at the Kings-Edgehill school in Windsor. At the school, all students are required to be part of the army cadet program.
Funding for the cadet program comes through the Department of National Defense (DND) as well as local community groups such as the Legion, Kinsmen and Lions Clubs.
All expenses for the cadets are paid for, including uniforms and the costs for flight training. Any youth older than 12 and under 18 can join the cadet program.