Sea cadets offer local youth skills, choices and fun

An activity for youth age 12-18 that won't cost parents a dime.

Now that vacation season is over, local youth-based organizations are hoping to increase their membership. The 347 RCSCC Avenger – Ashcroft’s Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps – is one of them.

Commanding Officer Lt. Darrin Curran is wondering why more teenagers aren’t taking advantage of everything the cadets have to offer.

“We’re having trouble getting information out to the parents, I think,” he says.

Reception from the students at the schools he’s visited has been very positive, he says, and the excitement about the program at  Cache Creek Elementary was huge. But no one signed up.

“Why aren’t you getting your kids into this activity?” he wants to ask parents. “It’s the best no-cost activity in Canada.”

The program is open to boys and girls, ages 12-18 years old.

Curran says the cadets get their uniforms free, the activities are free, they get paid for attending camp… Cadet activities promote a healthy lifestyle and respect for others as well as themselves.

Curran says some adults worry about what they think is a military component to cadets. There is exposure to the military, but that’s all.

“We’re not a stepping stone to the military,” Curran says. “It’s the same as boy scouts or any other youth program out there.”

Cadet activities include sailing, marksmanship, parade, sports competitions, scuba diving, rock climbing, band, drills and weekend outings. Curran says they try to leave the schedule open so they can take advantage of last minute opportunities that open up, like sailing and sports competitions.

There are the annual events, like the formal mess dinner at Christmas. And next May marks the 10th Annual Review for the 347 RCSCC Avenger – the sea cadet corp in the middle of the desert.

The cadets drill weekly at the Ashcroft high school, from 6-8 pm on Thursday nights.

The program is open to male and female teenagers, 12-18 years old. To sign sign up, the teen can show up at any of the drill nights throughout the year. A parent must accompany the cadet the first night with picture ID and medical card.

No money changes hands and nothing further required from parents except voluntary fundraising. Last year the corps travelled to Halifax for the Battle of the Atlantic ceremony. They fundraised in order to make that trip.

If you need more information about the program, call Lt. Curran at  250-319-3461.