Parents FAQ’s

What is the cadet program all about?

The Cadet Program is the premiere youth program in Canada. It includes the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets. It is a national program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18 who are interested in participating in a variety of fun, challenging and rewarding activities while learning about the sea, army and air activities of the Canadian Forces.

Cadets are encouraged to become active, responsible members of their communities. They make valuable contributions to Canadian society on a daily basis in terms of environmental, citizenship and community activities. Cadets also learn valuable life and work skills such as teamwork, leadership and citizenship.

Coached and supervised by Officers of the Canadian Forces, cadets progress through stages of increasing responsibilities and leadership, with senior cadets organizing and taking a lead role in many of the activities.

The Cadet Program is open to youth aged 12 to 18 and 132 Spitfire is always looking to recruit new members.

Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor are they expected to join the military.

As a parent of a cadet, who do I ask my questions to?

Questions are great and we encourage parents to get involved, ask questions, and understand the program. We’ve seen that parents who understand the program are more likely to be able to support their cadets as they face and overcome challenges.

Chain of Command

It is standard operating procedure for Air Cadet units to operate with a clearly defined chain of command. This is beneficial because the Commanding Officer – being only one person – can not realistically meet with each cadet or parent individually. In order to fully meet the needs of the cadets and their parents, we adhere to our Chain of Command.

The Chain of Command is the command hierarchy within our unit starting at the top with our CO, proceeding down to section heads, junior staff, and then down through our staff cadets and ultimately ending at the bottom with our brand new recruits.

How should cadets use the Chain of Command?

All of our cadets learn about the chain of command – right from Day #1 in recruit training – and we encourage all of our cadets to follow that chain of command when asking questions or speaking to staff. This means that cadets should contact a peer, their Flight Commander, or a Warrant Officer before jumping straight to an adult staff member. This gives your cadet the chance to go through the process of problem-solving as well as practising communication skills, taking initiative, and conquering fears.

The cadet they ask will either answer the question, or continue the process up the Chain of Command until an answer is found, and brought back down the chain.

How should parents support the Chain of Command?

We understand that you may have questions and that it can be frustrating sometimes feeling left out of communication flows. However, we encourage you to step back and let your cadet do the work instead of you taking charge and spoon feeding them answers.

Not only does that build initiative on your cadets’ part, it also gives our senior cadets (the role your child will eventually perform) opportunities to fulfill their leadership responsibilities.

Having said that, we know that most of our cadets need a little extra support from their parents in their first year. We make it easy for parents to stay up to date in the same way as our cadets – our website. All announcements, sign up forms, administrative issues are all posted online for you and your cadet to read together.

In addition, parents are strongly encouraged to come into the gym for closing parades on Wednesday evenings to listen to the announcements.

Bypassing the Chain of Command

There are occasions when it is necessary to bypass the Chain of Command, e.g. due to time constraints, safety issues, sensitive issues not appropriate for youth to deal with, or other reasons. In these situations it is appropriate and encouraged for cadets or parents to directly contact a staff member.

All our staff members have an open-door policy. In fact, the staff office sits in the main school hallway – so there are no doors.

Does this mean cadets/parents should not interact with staff members?

Absolutely not!

Our staff pride themselves on their ability to connect and mentor our youth. One of the main reasons they dedicate so much of their personal time to this program is because they enjoy working directly with, and making an impact on, our youth.

Who are the staff?

Adult staff who wear a uniform at 132 Spitfire are members of the Cadet Instructure Cadre (CIC) branch of the Canadian Armed Forces. As a member of the CIC, they belong to the Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service (COATS) sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserve.

As a part of the CIC, our CAF Officers at 132 Spitfire are specifically tasked with the supervision, administration, and training of our cadets. As a member of the Reserves, all of our Officer staff have full time day jobs and dedicate their evenings, weekends, and sometimes vacation days to the development of the youth under our care.

In addition, to our Officer staff, we also have a number of civilian staff members who all have either full time jobs or are currently post-secondary students.

In either case, the vast majority of our adult staff were Air Cadets before, and approximately half of our staff were cadets here at 132 Spitfire!

Do the adult staff work full time at 132 Spitfire?

All of our adult staff either have full time day jobs or are post-secondary students. They dedicate and volunteer their evenings, weekends, and sometimes vacation days to the development of the youth of 132 Spitfire.

How is Air Cadets different from Army or Sea Cadets?

The Air, Army, and Sea programs share many common goals such as the development of young Canadians into future leaders that have the skills to be successful in society. All three programs have similar rank and progression structures, similar opportunities for leadership and teamwork, as well as a similar core training program. Where the programs differ is the elemental academic training content as well as the selection of extra-curricular activities above the core training program.

What the Air elemental academic training provides is a focus on aviation, aerospace, principles of flight, propulsion, meteorology, etc.

Extra-curricular activities include the opportunity for all cadets to experience glider familiarization flights, aviation themed trips, as well as the opportunity to receive a Glider Pilot Scholarship and/or Power Pilot Scholarship.

Do cadets have to join the military?

Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor are they expected to join the military.

Having said that, many of our cadets come to appreciate and excel within the highly structured environment that the cadet program provides. As such, many of them choose to join the Canadian Armed Forces, or other similar paramilitary organizations such as police services or EMS.

Whatever route they take, youth who participate and get involved with the cadet program go on to become successful members of society.

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