540 face masks: Show off your #540Pride and purchase a 540 face mask… or two!

Registration closed: Due to reduced physical occupancy limits, we have had to close registration for new and returning cadets on 25 Sep 20. If you did not make the cut off, please join our waiting list and we will notify you if and when we able to accommodate additional members.

Supporting your Cadet’s development

The training staff will instill in each new Recruit a sense of responsibility and ownership over their own “careers” with us, however this takes time to build. We ask that parents support their first year Cadets’ development by encouraging them to participate and attend activities.

It is required for a Cadet to maintain a minimum 70% attendance for mandatory activities. Mandatory activities include Tuesday training nights and FTXs, and are necessary for a Cadet to pass their Proficiency Level as well as be eligible for promotion to the next rank. Other activities and teams such as the band and precision drill team have their own attendance commitments for Cadets who are selected to join the team.

We understand that school is important to you and your Cadet, and that sometimes it will have to come before Cadets. That being said, participation in Cadet activities can provide your Cadet with many leadership and training opportunities not found in school. We encourage you to help your Cadet balance between their school and Cadet obligations.

Being a Cadet takes hard work and effort, and your Cadet may find themselves struggling at times. As a parent, it is important that you help your Cadet persevere through any difficulties they may be having.

In the event your Cadet cannot meet their attendance commitment for an activity, it is vital that they communicate this as soon as possible. We have a Report an Absence section on the website that facilitates this.

Getting involved

It takes a lot of hands to run a Squadron our size and the SSC is always looking for extra parent volunteers to help out, whether on a regular basis as a member of the Committee, or just on a casual, ad-hoc basis.

Speak to a member of the SSC for more information.

Staying informed

Questions are great and we encourage parents to get involved, ask questions, and understand the program. We’ve seen that parents who understand the program are more likely to be able to support their Cadets as they face and overcome challenges.

We understand that you may have questions and that it can be frustrating sometimes feeling left out of communication flows. However, we encourage you to step back and let your Cadet do the work instead of you taking charge and spoon feeding them answers.

Not only does that build initiative on your Cadets’ part, it also gives our Staff Cadets (the role your child will eventually perform) opportunities to fulfill their leadership responsibilities.

Having said that, we know that most of our Cadets need a little extra support from their parents in their first year. We make it easy for parents to stay up to date via the following mechanisms:

  • Closing parades
    Each Tuesday training night ends with a closing parade where staff provide announcements to the Squadron. Attending provides an opportunity to hear the announcements in real-time and ensure your Cadet has understood and is adequately prepared.
  • Website
    Announcements as well as information on upcoming events is posted weekly to the website. You and your Cadet should be reviewing this on a regular basis to stay informed.
  • Slack
    Shortly after registering and providing your email address you will receive an email invite to our parents Slack group. This is an invite-only, closed group consisting of parents, SSC members, and Adult Staff. Questions are encouraged, but the answer might sometimes be “check with your Cadet first”. Parents are also encouraged to collaborate with other parents, for example to organize car pooling.

Fundraisers

The Squadron Sponsoring Committee’s main responsibility is to raise and administer funds to assist in the operation of the squadron. Most of the significant cost needed to run the squadron is provided through the fundraising efforts of the SSC. The following are some of the specific activities we undertake to achieve our revenue goals:

  • Tagging: Twice a year the SSC runs a tagging fundraising event in the Oakville area. This is a mandatory activity for all Cadets and serves as our primary fundraiser. Cadets go out into the community over four days and solicit cash contributions from the public. This aims to raise awareness of the Air Cadet program as well as to engage community support.
  • Lottery: The Air Cadet League sponsors a lottery raffle every Spring for valuable cash prizes and new vehicles. The funds raised go directly towards the costs of operating the 60+ aircraft fleet used for Air Cadet glider training. All Cadet squadrons participate in ticket sales and as incentive, they receive back a portion of the funds they raise to help support specific squadron activities. Cadets are asked to sell lottery tickets from September to December to family, friends, neighbours etc. and the prize draw takes place during the following April.
  • Meat Fundraiser: At 540 squadron we have an annual meat fundraiser event in partnership with North Country, a reputable meat and seafood vendor with excellent quality products. The squadron receives a commission based on the number of boxes of meat and/or seafood sold. This is an effective and efficient way to raise funds while providing a great service to busy Cadet families. The money raised goes directly to supporting the squadron budget.
  • Golf Tournament: We host an annual golf tournament at a local course every June. The 9-holes are sponsored by corporate sponsors and funds are also raised through ticket sales. If you are interested in golfing for a great cause, or to help out with running this event, feel free to contact [email protected].

Our fundraising sub-committee is always looking for new and creative ways of approaching local government, businesses and service groups for financial assistance. We are open to hearing from you about any donation/sponsorship opportunities that you may know about. These can be money as well as goods or services donations (e.g. food for various events, space for activities, gift baskets for raffles etc.) Please contact [email protected] for any questions.

FAQs

The Cadet Program is the premiere youth program in Canada. It includes the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets. It is a national program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18 who are interested in participating in a variety of fun, challenging and rewarding activities while learning about the sea, army and air activities of the Canadian Forces.

Cadets are encouraged to become active, responsible members of their communities. They make valuable contributions to Canadian society on a daily basis in terms of environmental, citizenship and community activities. Cadets also learn valuable life and work skills such as teamwork, leadership and citizenship.

Coached and supervised by Officers of the Canadian Forces, Cadets progress through stages of increasing responsibilities and leadership, with senior Cadets organizing and taking a lead role in many of the activities.

Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor are they expected to join the military.

Questions are great and we encourage parents to get involved, ask questions, and understand the program. We’ve seen that parents who understand the program are more likely to be able to support their Cadets as they face and overcome challenges.

It is standard operating procedure for Air Cadet units to operate with a clearly defined chain of command. This is beneficial because the Commanding Officer – being only one person – can not realistically meet with each Cadet or parent individually. In order to fully meet the needs of the Cadets and their parents, we adhere to our Chain of Command.

The Chain of Command is the command hierarchy within our unit starting at the top with our CO, proceeding down to section heads, junior staff, and then down through our Staff Cadets and ultimately ending at the bottom with our brand new recruits.

All of our Cadets learn about the chain of command – right from Day #1 in recruit training – and we encourage all of our Cadets to follow that chain of command when asking questions or speaking to staff. This means that Cadets should contact a peer or their Staff Cadets to their before jumping straight to an Adult Staff member. This gives your Cadet the chance to go through the process of problem-solving as well as practising communication skills and taking initiative.

The Cadet they ask will either answer the question, or continue the process up the Chain of Command until an answer is found, and brought back down the chain.

We understand that you may have questions and that it can be frustrating sometimes feeling left out of communication flows. However, we encourage you to step back and let your Cadet do the work instead of you taking charge and spoon feeding them answers.

Not only does that build initiative on your Cadets’ part, it also gives our Staff Cadets (the role your child will eventually perform) opportunities to fulfill their leadership responsibilities.

Having said that, we know that most of our Cadets need a little extra support from their parents in their first year. We make it easy for parents to stay up to date in the same way as our Cadets – our website. All announcements, sign up forms, administrative issues are all posted online for you and your Cadet to read together.

We also have a dedicated Slack workspace for parents, Adult Staff, and SSC members to communicate on.

In addition, 1st year parents are strongly encouraged to come into the Blakelock gym for closing parades on Tuesday evenings to listen to the announcements.

There are occasions when it is necessary to bypass the Chain of Command, e.g. due to time constraints, safety issues, sensitive issues not appropriate for youth to deal with, or other reasons. In these situations it is appropriate and encouraged for Cadets or parents to directly contact an Adult Staff member or directly contact the CO.

All our Adult Staff members have an open door policy. In fact, the staff office sits in the main school hallway – so there are no doors.

Absolutely not!

While the Adult Staff are here to help facilitate the program via our Staff Cadets, they pride themselves on their ability to connect with and mentor all of the youth under their care.

Parents are always encouraged to come in and say hello.

The adult staff are made up of a combination of the following:

  • Officers and Non-Commissioned Members (NCMs) of the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Civilian Instructors hired as specialists by the Department of National Defence
  • Civilian Volunteers screened by the Air Cadet League of Canada

‌Our Officers are within the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS) sub-component of the Reserve Force. They are specifically trained and tasked with the supervision, administration, and training of our Cadets.

As a member of the Reserves, all of our Officers have full time day jobs, or are pursuing post-secondary education, and dedicate their evenings, weekends, and even vacation days to the development of the youth under our care.

Our Adult Staff come from all walks of life and bring a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to the Squadron. The vast majority of our Adult Staff were Air Cadets before and all of them are here to give back to the community and the program that raised them.

All of our adult staff either have full time day jobs or are post-secondary students. They dedicate and volunteer their evenings, weekends, and sometimes vacation days to the development of the youth of 540 Sqn.
Our recruiting staff are quick to point out that the Earth’s surface is composed of approximately 1/3 land and 2/3 water, but the entire Earth’s surface has air. That may be a slightly biased response, so interpret that as you wish.

The Air, Army, and Sea programs share many common goals such as the development of young Canadians into future leaders that have the skills to be successful in society. All three programs have similar rank and progression structures, similar opportunities for leadership and teamwork, as well as a similar core training program. Where the programs differ is the elemental academic training content as well as the selection of extra-curricular activities above the core training program.

What the Air elemental academic training provides is a focus on aviation, aerospace, principles of flight, propulsion, meteorology, etc.

Extra-curricular activities include the opportunity for all Cadets to experience glider familiarization flights, aviation themed trips, as well as the opportunity to receive a Glider Pilot License and/or Power Pilot License from Transport Canada.

Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor are they expected to join the military.

Having said that, many of our Cadets come to appreciate and excel within the highly structured environment that the Cadet Program provides. As such, many of them choose to join the Canadian Armed Forces, or other similar paramilitary organizations such as police services or EMS.

Whatever route they take, youth who participate and get involved with the Cadet Program go on to become successful members of society.

Summer Training, also erroneously known as “summer camp” is conducted at one of many Cadet Training Centre (CTC) across Ontario and Canada. Summer Training provides Cadets with in depth and specialized knowledge to supplement their regular training. Courses run during July and August, and range from 2 to 7 weeks long. Some of the topics offered include aviation, leadership, fitness, marksmanship, survival, music, and more.
Being selected to attend Summer Training is a competitive process and Cadets are required to apply and go through a selection process that is based on several factors such as their attendance records, participation in squadron activities, and performance within the Squadron. Advanced courses such as the Glider and Power Pilot Training Courses and International Air Cadet Exchange courses require a more extensive application process including an interview with a selection committee comprised of members of the Air Cadet League of Canada and the Department of National Defence.
Approximately 20,000 cadets across Canada are selected to attend summer training. As such, cadets are required to apply and go through a selection process that is based on several factors such as their attendance records, participation in squadron activities, and performance within the squadron. National courses such as the Glider and Power Pilot Training Courses and International Exchange require a more extensive application process and include an interview.
Living arrangements vary between training centres, and may include barracks, student residences, or semi-permanent softwall shelters. Cadets will share a sleeping space with peers, separated by gender.

All meals will be provided by the training centre, and will be served in the mess hall or equivalent dining facility. Cadets may also have an opportunity to eat MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Snacks and drinks can be purchased from the canteen during their free time.

Training occurs six days a week from before breakfast to after dinner, and as such parents are encouraged to visit their cadets only during evenings or weekends.

Depending on the course, parents may pick up cadets for weekend leave after training has concluded for the week. Cadets attending the first year, 2-week General Training Course are not eligible for leave.

Cell phones are not permitted during training hours, and can only be used during free time (evenings and weekends). Cadets will have access to pay phones during their stay at a CSTC, and can purchase calling cards from the canteen or bring them from home. You may also write mail to your cadet, to the address found in the joining instructions for your cadet’s CSTC. In the event of an emergency, please contact the Duty Centre for your cadet’s CSTC, found in the joining instructions.
Similar to the home unit, the summer training centres employ the same ‘youth leading youth’ model with most of the instruction and close supervision performed by staff cadets with facilitation and overall supervision by CIC Officers and Civilian Instructors.
Unfortunately, logistics and scheduling of summer courses is performed at the provincial and national level and are largely out of the control of 540 Sqn. The cadet units in our local area are typically assigned to Serial A for three week courses and Serial B for the two week General Training course.

Cadets who request other serials will be offered a position only if there are not enough cadets from the units typically assigned to that serial. As there is a lot of competition for summer training positions, cadets being accepted to other serials is very rare.

Each training centre has different requirements. A detailed kit list will be provided in the summer course joining instructions once your cadet has been accepted to summer training.
The Squadron staff will be happy to answer your questions. However we ask that you review the CTC brochures and joining instructions prior to reaching out.
Once our administration department has processed the recruit paperwork, training can begin training.
On the first few regular training nights a new recruit will go through initial training, consisting of:

  • Procedures for communicating with superiors
  • Basics of marching
  • Personal deportment

The transition from civilian to cadet can be intimidating, and your recruit will need your support and encouragement throughout the training process.

It typically takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks from the date of measurement for uniforms to arrive. Once the uniform arrives, your cadet will be taught how to properly wear and maintain their uniform.
In the meantime, they should be wearing appropriate civilian attire as dictated by their recruit staff.
A new Recruit is eligible to join any of our teams during their intake periods, usually in September. Most teams go through a “tryout” selection process and require multiple weeks of attendance before final decisions can be made.

Selection is not always solely based on immediate skill; motivation, learning ability, maturity, and other factors are also taken into consideration, so your cadet shouldn’t feel discouraged just because they’re new!

If your cadet does not make a team it is recommended that they try out for another open team – previous team status is not a factor.

A Field Training Exercise (FTX) is an overnight 3 day, 2 night training weekend where cadets learn a significant portion of their mandatory training. The daytime consists of training and activities, and in the afternoons the cadets get time off to socialize with peers before resting for the next day of training.
Training topics covered for first year cadets on an FTX include:

  • Survival psychology
  • Fire building
  • Snare building
  • Shelter building
  • Radio navigation
  • Fitness

The Fall FTX occurs near the start of the training year and is a mandatory training activity. It is required that all cadets attend the Fall FTX in order to pass their training level.
In addition to the Fall FTX, there is also a Spring and Summer FTX. These FTXs are complementary and are not mandatory events. It is strongly encouraged for all cadets, especially 1st year cadets, to attend all FTXs.

The tagging fundraiser (“tagging”) occurs twice a year and is the squadron’s primary source of fundraising. Money raised through tagging is used to pay for school rentals, transportation, training equipment, supplies, etc.
One session is held in the fall at the beginning of the training year and a second session is held in the spring. Each tagging weekend runs from Thursday to Sunday and includes 6 shifts that the cadets can sign up for and participate in. Each shift is approximately 4-5 hours. While on a shift, cadets will be assigned a retail location in Oakville. New/junior cadets are paired with senior cadets at each location.
Cadets are expected to participate in at least 3 tagging shifts in the fall and 3 more tagging shifts in the spring.