Cadets from the Sea and Air squadrons in Nelson, Trail, Castlegar, and Grand Forks got a brief, but intense course in learning the basics of cadets over the Nov. 26 weekend.
Four cadets from the Nelson Air Cadet corps are from Nakusp: Chiara Minchin, Horatio Kostuch, Elias Hibberson, and Riley Baron.
“This is something that we do locally, we do it every year, once all the first years have signed up,” said Major Kevin Debiasio, area cadet instructor cadre officer for the West Kootenay region. “Since we have smaller squadrons and corps in the area, we do it as a big group, so that kids can meet other people, and learn the stuff with more people around.”
Over the weekend the cadets had the chance to learn a variety of new skills including drill, marching, even boot polishing. They also learned some general knowledge, such as what all the ranks are in cadets, and what the cadet program is all about.
Though the Nelson cadets hosted the weekend, the boot camp took place at the Trail Armouries.
Cadets arrived at the armouries early in the morning on Nov. 26. Once they reached the barracks they separated into their different squadrons.
For Minchin, this was the first time she had ever taken part in any kind of boot camp.
“It was a really great experience because there were 23 other cadets there and we got to meet new people and try different things that we normally wouldn’t get to try,” she said.
About five hours of drill was done each day and cadets got a two-minute break every 15 minutes.
After three different lessons for drill, which lasted about half an hour each, cadets had Meals Ready to Eat, known as MREs, which are sent overseas to soldiers.
Cadets learned air rifle safety and after several lessons, the cadets did their safety tests. Two cadets, Noah Malenfant and Kia Thomson, both of Nelson, achieved their Level 1 Marksmanship qualification.
Debiasio said reaction from both the cadets and their parents has been nothing but positive.
“The parents have all said that the kids enjoyed it and they got something out of it,” he said. “One mother even said that their kid came home and started polishing their parents’ shoes.”
At the end of the weekend, each cadet received a certificate stating they completed Level 1 Boot Camp.