Cadet corps in Hay River looking for more help from community members

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The Hay River Army Cadet Corps is looking for more help from community residents.

Capt. Stephen Watton, left, the zone training officer for cadets, and Capt. Poul Osted, the commanding officer of 2724 Hay River Cadet Corps, are seeking more help from community residents for the long-running program for teenagers. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Capt. Stephen Watton, left, the zone training officer for cadets, and Capt. Poul Osted, the commanding officer of 2724 Hay River Cadet Corps, are seeking more help from community residents for the long-running program for teenagers.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

And there are a couple of options on how people can to that.

There are five paid part-time positions at the corps, either for people who want to sign up and train as a member of the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) or as a civilian instructor.

The corps already has a CIC instructor – Capt. Poul Osted, the commanding officer – and another person is planning to enroll soon.

Plus, the corps has a civilian instructor.

That leaves two openings for CIC instructors or civilian instructors to bring the complement up to five.

“I’m willing to bet it’s been 15 years since the last time we got anywhere close to that,” said Osted, who has continued in his role as commanding officer even though he moved to Fort Resolution almost three years ago.

Osted and Capt. Stephen Watton, the zone training officer for cadets in the NWT, have jointly put out a call for adults to help out, including as unpaid volunteers.

“Because the more adults you have, the more activities you can do,” Osted said. “We’re not always relying on one person to try and take all of it or to do all of the background work. We can spread that out. The less work for everybody, the more stuff gets done.”

The commanding officer noted there are a fair number of adults in Hay River who would have been in the cadet corps in the past.

“I would say probably close to 1,500 youth have come through this office,” he said. “Some of them for a couple of months at a time, some of them for seven years in a row.”

Military experience is not needed to apply to become a member of the CIC, Osted noted. “It helps, but at the same time a regular civilian off the street could come in, sign up, go through the recruiting process and … you could get the military training to get you that experience and knowledge that you need to come back and do these jobs.”

Watton said the heart and soul of any cadet corps is leadership and the adults who help run it.

“Some are just parents or volunteers from the community who would like to assist some way in their community,” he noted. “And working with cadets is a great opportunity for them to develop new skills that they can use.”

The commitment would be about six hours on one day per week and normally one weekend per month.

“As part of the Cadet Instructor Cadre, we train them in different qualification courses, different specialty courses, to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need to work with cadets,” said Watton, noting the training would normally be in Edmonton or Winnipeg.

They would get paid up to 25 days a year, which depending on rank would be from $105-$240 a day.

Adult leaders must be between the ages of 18 and 64, have Grade 12 or equivalent, be a Canadian citizen, complete screening and meet medical standards.

The 2724 Hay River Cadet Corps was originally formed in 1963 and disbanded after five years due to lack of interest from adults. It restarted in 1971 and has been going steady ever since.

Osted said having more adults involved in the corps would be good in case he cannot make the drive from Fort Resolution for some reason, which has not yet happened.

“I intend to continue as long as I can,” he said. “I’d just like to make sure that there’s a succession plan and more adults coming in so there can be more activities for these kids so that it isn’t all resting on one or two people. The more people we have, the easier it is to do more activities.”

Osted makes the three-hour roundtrip from Fort Resolution to oversee the Tuesday evening gatherings of usually a dozen cadets at the Royal Canadian Legion.

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