Kootenay cadet programs are in such dire need of adult leaders that they are reaching out to municipal leaders for help.
“To me, it’s a problem that every volunteer group has been having the last little while, people are busy and volunteerism is not what it used to be,” Major Kevin DeBiasio told the Trail Times. “We have units in the East and West Kootenay, so we are asking all the cities if there is anything they can do to help us.”
The program is asking councils to get the word out at meetings, via social media, or any other public avenues municipalities have at their disposal.
Whether it’s a one-night session to teach first aid, or a few hours a week sharing Toastmaster skills, more hands are needed for the Sea and Air Cadet program to fully succeed.
“Right now, we do not have the engagement we need to continue offering a fun and challenging program,” DeBiasio said. “There are all sort of options … volunteer instructors or a more formal arrangement to use adults on a regular basis … whatever works for your schedule.”
Civilian Instructors are paid positions that can involve teaching the cadets skills or taking on an administrative role.
“Then we have people that want to become an officer,” he explained. “They enrol in the armed forces and become a member of the Cadet Instructor Cadre, which involves a commitment of one night a week and a weekend a month.”
He says the best fit for a paid position is someone 18 or older, but younger than 65.
“The whole process from walking through the door to being in charge of a unit, which is the ultimate goal, is a minimum of five years,” DeBiasio clarified. “It’s great for someone who is semi-retired or for university students. There are also opportunities for paid employment during the summer.”
Ideally, most of the instructor’s work is supervision.
“Because, in a perfect world, it’s the 16 or 17- year old senior cadets who are doing the teaching and the adult leaders supervise the training of the younger cadets,” he said. “The officers and instructors fill in as needed.”
Currently the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps have 21 cadets in Nelson and 11 in Trail. The Royal Air Cadet Squadrons have 84 youth involved, 22 in Trail, 31 in Castlegar, 18 in Nelson and 11 in Grand Forks.
“The Cadet Program is a dynamic, structured and engaging program that has been life-changing for many youth in Trail,” DeBiasio said. “Becoming part of the program as a Civilian Instructor or Cadet Instructor Cadre Officer is a choice that many adult leaders in the community have already made throughout the years, and it has made a big difference for youth in the community.”
For more information about supporting the cadet’s drive for adult leaders, contact Major Kevin DeBiasio at 250.231.0710 or email kevin.DeBiasio@cadets.gc.ca.