Saturday, April 21, I was one of several guests invited to the 279 Elk Valley Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Mess Dinner. This was a new experience for me but one that proved very informative and enjoyable.

On arrival at the Lizard Creek Cirque Restaurant I quickly realized this was a formal event. Flipping over the program page I was surprised to see a long list of Rules of Order. “No one may come in and sit down at the table, leave the table, read except for the program or send or receive messages. Phone use is prohibited. No foul language, political or controversial discussion, talk about work, speaking in a foreign language or telling rude or insulting jokes”, were only a few of the list of rules I read.

On Dinner Etiquette, suggestions were or should I say orders were to “keep elbows close to sides at all times and never place them on the table, silverware or glasses must not be played with, never speak with food in the mouth or make gestures with utensils, never ask for anything that is not offered on the table”. Good manners are regular practices in Air Cadets I discovered.

Young Canadians from ages 12 to 18 can participate in fun, exciting and satisfying activities while learning life skills such as leadership and teamwork.

I was told the purpose of this group is to “Advance the education of the Air Cadets and to promote an interest in the air element of the Canadian Forces. Air Cadets are not members of the Canadian Forces. The movement is, however, sponsored by the Department of National Defence in partnership with the Air Cadet League of Canada”. The kids in Cadets develop social responsibility by learning Drill, First Aid, Aircraft Identification and Communication, Sports, Survival, Navigation, Marksmanship, Music, Aerospace and Airport Operation just to name a few of the learning opportunities.

Kids can join by contacting a local squadron in the directory or by showing up during one of the training nights to register. For more information about joining Air Cadets, visit www.cadets.ca

I was impressed by the cadets male and female that I met that evening. This squadron has nearly thirty members, ten being from Fernie, one from Jaffray and the rest from Elkford and Sparwood. They meet once a week in Sparwood and occasionally in Elkford. Guests were placed amongst the cadets and I had delightful young people next and across to me. One of them Jacob Mayne, was a sixteen year old with impeccable manners, Jeremias on the other side I believe was only about seven yet he was very respectful and held a good conversation as did Kierra Kinch, also Thomas Gold sitting at the head table. These cadets were respectful, intelligent and good speakers as were all of the cadets that evening.

The time spent with these young people was a delightful mix of formality and friendliness that showcased how successful this program must be for the cadets.

I want to thank Captain Sherri Shaw, and all the leaders for inviting me to the dinner and I also want to thank the Sparwood Legion that is a sponsor of the cadets, but a special thanks to Thomas, Kierra, Jeremias and especially Jacob for the excellent company they provided and to all of the cadets, you kids are special, what you are learning will carry you far in your life’s ambitions, Congratulations and very Best Wishes to all of you.

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