Who are the Air Cadets?

The Royal Canadian Air Cadets are teenagers craving exciting activities where their personal limits as individuals and team-members are tested.

We are proud members of a national youth organization that strive to excel in:

  • Leadership;
  • Citizenship; and
  • Physical Fitness.
Army, Air, or Sea Cadets?

Well, we’re biased, but AIR of course!

All of the cadet organizations are fantastic and each will teach you valuable skills while having great fun. The choice is yours.  All we ask is that you come visit us on one of our training nights before you decide.  After that, you’ll know AIR is the way to go.

What do the cadets do?

Firstly, you get to learn about everything aviation: Principles of Flight, Propulsion, Aerospace, Air Navigation,Meteorology (weather) and Aerodrome Operations.

You also have the opportunity to participate in some of our activities: gliding, familiarization flights, orienteering and military navigation, marksmanship, biathlon, Marksmanship Team, Drill Team, winter survival, team sports, leadership, citizenship, radio procedures, first-aid certification, summer courses (we pay you to go!) and much, much more!

If I join cadets, am I in the military?

Short answer is: No.

While the cadet programme does foster a better understanding of the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Department of National Defense provides funding for the program, cadets are absolutely not in the military!  

You will not handle firearms, throw grenades, drive a tank or fight overseas!  But you may go abseiling, canoeing, camping, go on ‘exercises’, and learn to lead other cadets – just to name a few.  

Also, you’ll play a special role in things like the annual Remembrance Day parade and other community events.

Certainly, there are a few cadets who might choose to go onward to a military career, but it is not required. Cadets teach you life skills that you will take with you on whatever path you choose.

What does it cost?

This is the best part for the parents: cadets is FREE!  

The program is funded by the Department of National Defense Canada, with additional local fundraising coordinated by the Squadron Sponsoring Committee (SSC).  

It costs nothing to join, and the dress uniform, most travel expenses, food, lodging, training and more is free.  

There are only a few small expenses such as your name tag, optional clothing, and pocket money for refreshments during the canteen break each parade night.

Do I get paid to be a cadet?

No, and yes.

Cadets are not paid during the months of September – June. Cadets who attend summer camp receive a training bonus at the end of the summer.  Also, senior cadets who return to camp as leaders are paid a daily wage and make very good money for the summer.  Most staff cadets are 16-18 years of age and they come back with lots of money in their bank accounts!

Do I get to shoot guns?

Once you have been adequately trained on safety precautions and handling procedures, and have proven yourself a responsible cadet, you might then be eligible to be coached as a target rifle marksman.

Cadets who participate in marksmanship use the Daisy 853C Air Rifle, a pellet rifle designed for cadet use in marksmanship competitions.  

Cadets are supervised at all times by the Range Safety Officer (RSO), senior cadets and coaches.

What's a Sergeant or a Flight Corporal? How do I become one?

Once you are enrolled into the army cadets, you are assigned the rank of “Air Cadet”. From there, you will have to go through your training and demonstrate your leadership skills and ability to lead.

To learn about the different ranks, and the requirements visit the Proficiency Level Requirements page.

What kind of activities are there in Cadets?

638 has something for everyone.  If you are a cadet who wants to do more than come out to regular parade nights and exercises, you might like to check out one of our many Optional Training activities.

Being part of an optional training team adds to your skills and abilities, and opens up wonderful opportunities for competition and travel.

Will I have people bossing me around?

You will have other, more senior, cadets in-charge of you.  

You will not be bossed around, belittled, or made to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.  

You will, however, be guided by your seniors and be made to contribute to the corp’s overall tasks and goals. You must follow instructions. But once you have proven yourself to be a good follower, you will begin to climb the ranks and take on a leadership role of your own. In no time you will have cadets of your own to command – and teach!  

There are eight ranks, beginning with Cadet.  The sooner you join, the sooner you move up!

There are so many people around. Will I make friends?

Definitely!  Whether you are shy or outgoing, you are certain to make a ton of friends in cadets.  Here’s why.  When you come to cadets for the first time you will be put together with other new recruits, and you’ll get to know who they are.  Not long after, you will be put into a ‘section’. A section is made up of only 10-12 cadets and these people will become your closest buddies! As soon as you’re in a section you will meet your Sergeant (Sgt) – the cadet in charge of your section.  The Sergeant is there to answer all your questions – when in doubt, ask your Sergeant!

Sections always work as a team so you will be surprised just how fast you learn everyone’s name! You will also be placed in a Proficiency Level, Level 1 for new recruits. Level 1’s attend all their classes and training together, so you will get to know a whole bunch of new cadets just like yourself.

Lastly, if you are concerned about making new friends, bring an old one!  We are always happy to welcome new cadets and many new recruits bring a friend to join with them.

What are the uniforms like?

There are two types of uniforms – FTUs (field training uniforms, sometimes referred to as “combats”) and the dress uniform. Both are provided at no charge to the cadet, but both MUST be returned upon leaving the program.

Is there any travel involved?

638 Squadron is lucky because we have a chance to travel across Canada.

Throughout your cadet career, you will have a chance to go to different cities in Ontario, and sometimes other provinces.  This is especially true if you join one of the teams, as they often travel to competitions.

The squadron as a whole also does trips or citizenship training. Once you have completed your cadet training, you may be eligible to do an overseas exchange with 20-30 cadets from all over Canada!

Exchange cadets might go to the New Zealand, England, or even Japan!  Our corps has a proud tradition in this regard … we are accustomed to sending senior cadets almost every year across Canada and the world!

Are cadets insured? What happens if I get hurt?

Several of our instructors are first-aid qualified. Should you get hurt, there are policies in place on appropriate courses of action, whether that be self-aid, medical treatment or a trip to the hospital.

If there are medical expenses, your provincial health card will cover most expenses.

Further expenses are covered by your parent’s private insurance plan, and finally, all the cadets are insured with the Air Cadet League of Canada, through a private insurance company. They are the last resort to pick-up and last costs.

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