To Learn, To Serve, To Advance ....

... that is our Air Cadet[] Motto.

Our very own Kiwanis Club of Ottawa Hall of Famer, Vic Castledine, was the very first Commanding Officer of the 211 Ottawa Kiwanis Air Cadet Squadron. His son, and a present member of our club, Allan Castledine, was the first cadet enrolled in the squadron. The squadron was formed in the fall of 1941.

The Kiwanis Air Cadet Committee today is made up of members of both military and non-military backgrounds. The ones with the military background are always interesting to listen to, because they offer a lot of experience on why the air cadet movement is organized and operated the way it is. It is a very good learning experience for those members that are removed from that way of life.

The Kiwanis Air Cadet Committee of the early years also had to be commissioned and acted as officers for the squadron. Tom Beveridge’s father, George, was a member who was also an officer and instructor on the Aero engine. Other Kiwanis members who were also commissioned as officers include Percy Comber and George Perley. Vic explains that the original squadron met in the gym of the former Kent School. They had their first inspection on the grounds of Glebe High School. They had many Sunday flights and held their first camp at Uplands.

The present squadron meets every Wednesday evening from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. They meet in the Gym of Notre Dame High School. The first Wednesday of each month, they have a formal parade with the band leading the squadron. This parade takes place between 7:00 PM and 7:15 PM. Our committee strongly recommends that every one of our club members attend one of these short parades. You will be amazed on how well organized this group of men and women are. They are outstanding!

Major Ron Donovan, who also is part of our committee, leads the squadron. Ron is an excellent leader and role model for these kids.

Sponsorship of the squadron

There are approximately 446 squadrons of air cadets in Canada. These squadrons comprise of about 22,000 cadets. The organization is split into six Canadian regions with Ottawa being the National HQ. The air cadets squadrons are all sponsored by some form of volunteer group that may be comprised of service clubs, corporations, or parent volunteer groups. The air cadets themselves do not pay to belong to the organization, so there is a lot of financial responsibility put on these volunteer groups. Our committee gains revenue from the Club, a Legion donation, selling Nevada tickets, DND contributions, and fundraisers participated by the cadets themselves.

The expenses include for purchases of equipment, bush camp weekends (2 per year), music instruction, music instruments and repairs, flying, sports programs, Christmas dinner, and administration costs.

The sponsoring committee's main responsibilities are:

Make known the aims of squadron activities within the community, seeking support for those activities.

Provide the squadron with suitable quarters so that squadron administration and training can be carried out.

Ensure that necessary funds are available for squadron needs, and organize fund raising activities.

Manage funds raised for the squadron’s benefit.

Make necessary arrangements to obtain adequate premises for special activities.

With the support of the commanding officer, organize recruiting aimed at enrolling new cadets as well as new members for squadron staff, when required.

Maintain good relationships with the military side of the partnerships.

Take steps to organize a schedule of special events.

Ensure that cadets are evaluated and treated fairly.

Programs for the cadets

The cadets can enroll in cadets as early as 12 years of age, and must graduate no later than their 19th birthday. They have many opportunities of learning during the cadet career. There are a variety of compulsory and optional courses. They include: drill, citizenship, drill instruction, physical fitness, leadership, effective speaking (generally taught and judged by our committee members), aircraft identification, navigation, radio communications, aircrew survival, etc.

One of the most attractive benefits is where else can a young man or young woman earn a pilot’s license free of charge!

The Last Word This group of young people and caring staff of officers are a real pleasure to be involved with. They also really appreciate our involvement and support, making our efforts very worthwhile. The present committee is made up of members that are long standing supporters of this group. I encourage any Kiwanians who have never been involved with this committee to sign up right away!