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Flying high with the Air Cadet program

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I am Flight Corporal Luke Parnell, of the 199 St. Vital Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron. I am 15 years old and joined Cadets after my 12th birthday.

For me, being an Air Cadet is a very gratifying experience and has allowed me to grow as a person more than I thought imaginable throughout these few years. The Air Cadet program emphasizes personal growth and discipline, as well as engaging youth in activities that broaden their horizons and offer unique opportunities for them, as well as helping young men and women learn more about the Air aspect of the Canadian Forces.

I wanted to join Cadets since I was seven years old. My first day at Cadets, one Thursday after signing up, was a very different experience for me – definitely like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. At the same time, it was very exciting and I knew immediately that this was a decision I would not soon regret.

Getting into my uniform and meeting with the rest of the squadron every Thursday is always very refreshing and lets me catch up with my friends in the squadron.

Cadets allows you to meet many people who share your interests and ideas. In fact, it was through Cadets that I’ve met some of my closest friends, and our friendships have extended outside of Cadets and into everyday life.

Being a Cadet opens up many doors for you and your future. Through Cadets, you can go all over the country to attend summer training camps, to extend your knowledge and learn more of a certain aspect within the Cadet program, whether it be drill, marksmanship, air crew survival, sports and fitness and more.

Not only does Cadets give you the opportunity to travel the country and learn more, it allows you to create friendships with people from all over Canada, and even across the Earth if you take part in the International Exchange.

But it doesn’t stop there; you can enjoy all sorts of things through the Cadet program, from training camps to pilot’s licenses to scholarships. I know many other Cadets that have gotten their pilot and glider Pilot licenses through the Cadet program, as well as some who grew up to go into the Reserves and the Armed Forces after their tour as a Cadet was finished. I would recommend anybody who asks me about Cadets to sign up.

Air Cadets is a program for youths between 12 and 18 years of age, aimed towards improving values of citizenship, leadership and fostering an interest in the Air element of the Canadian Forces.

For more information on this program please visit http://www.cadets.gc.ca or contact your local Cadet unit.

Luke Parnell is an Air Cadet who lives in St. Vital.

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