Air Cadets engage and develop leadership skills in youth

by Lindsay Ducharme

868-SQN-YMMBy definition the Air Cadets program was created to serve kids, with members spanning the ages of 12-18. However, as Diane Schuldt-Zundel, chairperson of the Squadron Sponsoring Committee for the local Air Cadet squadron, explains, the Air Cadets program actually benefits the community as a whole.
“It’s really amazing to watch. These kids come in at 12 and they are all arms and legs, uncoordinated and silly and goofy and when they leave they are accomplished young adults, ready to be leaders in their community.”
It is for this reason that Schuldt-Zundel hopes community members will consider volunteering with the local Air Cadets squadron.
“I’m involved because I think it’s a great program and I want to see it continue. My kids have both benefitted hugely from the program,” she began.
“From the volunteering aspect, the program is really important because it really engages and develops the leadership skills of the youth in the community. Volunteers have a chance to be involved in kids lives.”
“I am a big believer that it takes a community to raise a child, especially in the case of teenagers. I believe every child needs some adults that are engaged and involved in their life, that are a positive influence, to be that mentor and sounding board for them. The officers in particular really do provide that,” she continued.
Volunteer opportunities with the Air Cadets span all interests and experience levels, with options in everything from instruction to accounting to helping out in the canteen. Schuldt-Zundel said the Squadron Sponsoring Committee, in particular offers a role for everyone.
“Our main goal is that the program has a place to meet and we have the funds to operate the program. There are a lot of different roles you can take on.”
On the flip side, instructor positions appeal to community members looking to take on a more direct role with the cadets themselves. “We are always looking for either people who have been involved with the cadets movement before or people who may be willing to pursue taking on an instruction role, so they either have a military background, a teaching background, we love RCMP members, we love firefighters, because a lot of the elements of our program relate to those disciplines,” she added.
Those interested in volunteering as an instructor are encouraged to attend a parade night, which take place every Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club from 6:30-9:30. Those interested in the Squadron Sponsor Committee can email Schuldt-Zundel for more information at dschuldt@telus.net.