What is Air Cadets?
Air Cadets is a nationally funded program for youth ages 12-18. We meet every week to parade, practice drill, and learn everything from how to fly to how to survive in the woods. On weekends we take part in various activities in the area -- parades, camping trips, gliding days, and much more.
Who joins Air Cadets?
Anyone! Cadets is open to anyone between the ages of 12 and 18. You don't have to commit to the military either; feel free to come out and see if cadets is for you.
Why should I join?
It's a great way to have fun and make friendships that will last a lifetime. It builds character, and more importantly, cadets runs some of the best summer camps ever.
Do you have an interest in flying or want to earn your pilot's license for free?
Are you interested in wilderness camping or want to know how to survive on your own in the woods?
Do you want to become a great leader (maybe even the next Prime Minister)?
Do you enjoy being a part of a team and doing things together?
Do you have an interested in the military and want to learn more about it?
Do you enjoy playing an instrument in a marching band?
Are you interested in precision target shooting?
Do you have an interest in space, astronauts, and aerospace?
... Or maybe just spend a summer running around, playing sports, and having fun...
If you answered YES to any of the above, cadets has something for you!
How much does it cost?
There is no initial cost to joining. Through a combination of fundraising and funding provided to us by the Department of National Defence, the cadet program is one of the only programs in Canada for young people that costs nothing at all! The uniform, your training, your weekend activities, and even summer camps are covered. We only ask that you help the squadron in fundraising whenever you can. There are 3 major fundraising activities each year which are mandatory - these are our annual lottery ticket sales drive, and participation in two tag days (fundraising in the community). We also have a number of smaller, voluntary fundraisers such as cheese/chocolate sales, and taking part in community events. Of course the more that you volunteer for, the more the squadron is able to do (such as trips, visits, etc).
Sounds great! How do I join?
We accept new recruits throughout the the training year from September - Febuary. The recruit training program is about 4 weeks long and always begins with a parent and cadet information session where you will be able to ask questions and learn more about our program from one of our officers and some of our senior cadets. Check out the link above for more details.
In September 1951, barely six years after the close of the Second World War, 534 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron received its charter. That fall, some forty young men donned thee gray-blue woolen uniform of a Royal Canadian Air Cadet and began what has been nearly 70 continuous years of Air Cadets in Peterborough.
Parading in the Peterborough Armouries, various parking lots and open fields around the city, the new Air Cadet Squadron slowly gained members and a reputation for providing Peterborough's young men with sound technical and social training. In those early years, cadets traveled to RCAF base Trenton for familiarization flights in Dakotas, Yukons, and Harvards. At home, they were trained by World War Two veterans who had put much of the training they were now imparting to the cadets to good use only a few years earlier.
Many of the early cadet officers and instructors were members of the sponsoring body, 428 (Peterborough) Wing RCAFA. Men such as Ft. Lt. Maurice Coddere and Al Dawson went on to become Commanding Officers. Former RCAF WO 1 Percy Johnson taught drill and many others gave of their time teaching theory of flight, radio operation and aircraft recognition. Still other Wing members worked at raising money for the squadron to support their flying and travel programs.
Through the late 1950's and early 1960's the squadron grew in size and in reputation. By the mid 1960's the squadron, then known as the "City of Peterborough" squadron had grown to over 100 young men. A number of former cadets had gone on to successful careers in the RCAF and in ciilian aviation. The squadron also moved into its new home, atop the RCAFA 428 Wing headquaters building at 274 King Street. Here, the squadron could teach classes, hold model aircraft building sessions, store equipment, and permorm administrative functions. The squadron's administrative offices are still located in the Wing building some fifty years later.
The end of the 1960's saw many social and political changes occur in Canada and around the world. The Air Cadet movement wasn't immune to these changes and enrollment dropped as the Squadron sought to find its role in a changing world. On change, and perhaps the most dramatic, was the inclusion of female cadets in the early 1970's.
534 Squadron had some of the earliest female cadets in Canada. Karen Brown, one of the first, recalls making her own uniform skirt, because the Trenton base couldn't supply one, and slacks were not permitted. Despite having to make their own uniforms, many young women joined the Squadron and today make up a large percentage of all Cadet squadrons and corps across Canada.
The 1980's saw the cadet program adopt a new training mandate leaving behind its traditional model of preparing young people for service in the air force. The new model saw the cadet program shift towards its current form of being a mixture of leadership, citizienship, and fitness training with the involvement of the armed forces and an emphasis on aviation.