THUNDER BAY — Thus far, the 2021-2022 has demonstrated how flexible and responsive the Cadet program in Thunder Bay can be! After a brief period of online reintroductions and administration, in-person training returned, and 70 Thunder Bay Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron and her sister-units made the most of the opportunity. Fort William Sea Cadets joined the Squadron for a day of marksmanship, biathlon and fitness training in early October, including completing a multi-stage, cross-country obstacle course. Three weeks later, the Squadron coordinated an orienteering training and competition event among four Thunder Bay area units, including Fort William Sea Cadets and 18 Service Battalion and Lake Superior Scottish Regiment Army Cadets at Trowbridge Falls Park.
The Squadron has also found a new temporary home and has been parading in-person (along with Fort William Sea Cadets) at West Arthur Place and hosted a sports and fitness training night at the Canada Games Complex. While the recent increase in COVID-19 cases has necessitated a temporary pause of in-person training since December, cadets and staff are now well-versed in Microsoft Teams, and 70 Squadron is regarded in the Northern Ontario Cadet Area as a leader in virtual training.
“Virtual training is no one’s first choice,” said 70 Squadron Commanding Officer Captain Kate Yap, “but it does allow our cadets to continue to learn, to serve, to advance even in these challenging times. Our adult staff and senior cadets do amazing work creating opportunities for our cadets to gather together virtually and to continue to grow and strengthen as a unit, even when we’re not able to gather together.”
Dynamic and engaging instruction and learning opportunities such as trivia contests, flight simulators and self-directed fitness programming continue even when the squadron is not able to parade in-person, and annual activities including the Thunder Bay area biathlon and marksmanship competitions are being reimagined to ensure that cadets remain both safe and engaged in their cadet career development. All of these activities are free, and all are designed to help to meet the goals of the cadet program to develop attributes of good citizenship and leadership, promote physical fitness and stimulate an interest in the sea, army and air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.