Cadets corps look to rebound following tough past few years

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Prince Albert Cadet Corps hosted an Open House and Pancake Breakfast at the Prince Albert Armoury on Saturday.

The Prince Albert Cadet Corps parent sponsor committees want people to know about the advantages of the Cadet programs in Prince Albert.

On Saturday at the Prince Albert Armoury the groups held a pancake breakfast and open house to get the community interested in the programs. The Cadets Corps of Prince Albert is made up of the W.K. Reed #5 Navy League Cadets, #118 Rawalpindi Sea Cadets, 38 Anavets Air Cadets and the 390 Army Cadets.

Rose Mineaux, vice president of the parent sponsor committee for the Prince Albert Branch of the Navy League and Sea Cadets, said the corps have been trying to get members back.

“We lost so many numbers due to COVID and we want to bring people back into the programs and get the information out there,” Mineau said.

“We want to bring the excitement at an affordable cost. Cadets change lives. I was a Cadet and it stems back and I am here in the program because it’s great and I like the program,” she said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Tammy Allan flipped pancakes at the Pancake Breakfast and Open House for the Prince Albert Cadet Corps on Saturday at the Prince Albert Armoury

Mineaux is a former cadet herself. She loved the program as a youth, and wants current students to have the same good experience she had.

The cadet program is for children/youth between the ages of 9 and 18 years. Each cadet group has a focus on leadership, community development, citizenship and specialized programs at an affordable cost. They welcome any potential cadets at any time throughout our training year and have several fellowship opportunities each month.

The pancake breakfast included three sausages and three pancakes for $5. Each Cadets Corps had tables and displays set up inside the Armoury with information for those who were interested.

All proceeds from the pancake breakfast were donated to the YWCA Coldest Night of the Year and remaining food was donated to the shelter located at the Exhibition Grounds.

“We wanted to provide help to the homeless,” Mineau said. “Our proceeds are going to Coldest Night of the Year, but we wanted people to come in the door to see what the Cadet programs are about.”

Mineaux said the goal was to provide information to anyone who needed it. She said many youth and parents don’t know much about the program, which makes it difficult to recruit new members.

“We have these wonderful programs that nobody knows about, and at affordable costs,” she explained.

The Air Cadet, Sea Cadets and Army Cadets receive some support from the Department of National Defence, but most of their funds come from local fundraising efforts. Mineau said the Navy League is the only group that relies entirely on fundraising and volunteers, but all cadet groups need strong local support.

“We are all about the community and fundraising and we rely on the community for support ourselves and our family supports and sponsors,” she explained. “That’s why we are trying to bring in the community to see what we are doing to give back and to help.”

She added that the Navy League is improving. In 2021 they had a single cadet before Christmas and that built up to 11 as of today.

While the other cadet programs didn’t drop to such low numbers, Mineau said the past couple of years have been difficult for all corps.

“The other programs numbers are suffering too, so we thought if we joined together and showcase everything,” she said. “Everybody has a good chance at building numbers and it shows a community together. We are all on the same team, we are all for the kids.

“We all have the same mission, it’s all for the kids and the community, the citizenship, the leadership and we are unique because we are not just sports,” she added.

The Cadets offer other opportunities such as fan flying with the RCMP and in a biathlon and things like fall survival in the Air Cadets.

“We are everything,” Mineau said. “We want these kids to excel and it’s not about academics, it’s about pride and routine. That’s what our mission is.”

The Cadets make a difference and Mineau speaks from experience.

“I have been involved for 15 years because I believe in the program,” she explained. “It changed my life and it has changed me. I was a shy quiet kid and you would never know that now. That’s what I hope for all kids, the growth is so much you can tell the kids when they come in and at the end how much they have grown.”

She said that she often goes out in the community and hears from former cadets and there is camaraderie after the fact.

“It is wonderful to see that,” she said.

The Prince Albert Navy League will also be hosting a celebration in September to celebrate 75 years of operation in Canada. The Navy League is the oldest cadet corps in Saskatchewan.

“We were the first corps established in Saskatchewan, so we are going to host the 75th Celebration here in Prince Albert,” Mineau said. “We are inviting all of the Navy League from across the province for a banquet and dance and displays.”

“It will be here at the Armoury and the Exhibition Centre and we are going to set up a parade,” she explained. “We are not sure of the location but the dates will be Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 1.”

For more information, come to one of the Cadets Corps parade nights at the Armoury. The Navy League cadets parade Friday evenings between 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (9 to12-years old), Sea Cadet. (12 to 18 years old), Army ca (12 to 18 years old) and Air Cadets Monday evenings 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (12 to 18 years old).

“We parade on Friday nights, we are always looking for adult volunteers and cadets, parents, kids, people, community support,” Mineaux said. “We are all across Canada.”