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Local Air Cadets participate in Survival Weekend
Teens demonstrate strength and friendship
For many teenagers, a Saturday morning might be a time to relax and wind down from school. A large group of them woke up bright and early, eager to participate in a weekend of survival training. From Saturday, April 27 to Sunday, April 28, Air Cadets from 211 Ottawa Kiwanis Squadron and 661 Lt. W. F. Sharpe Squadron hosted a joint bush weekend at Limerick Forest.
The weekend focused on teaching practical survival skills to the cadets. Lessons ranged from first-aid to night navigation. The cadets were also split up into groups to construct their very own “bivouac sites.” This included a shelter which cadets had to make out of tarps, twine, branches and sticks. Cadets also had the option of participating in a survival test. “I wanted an extra challenge,” said Cadet Daniel Poirier of Lockhurt Avenue. “So I was left in a separate part of the woods with another cadet where we had to build our own shelter and survive on limited rations.”
Aside from lessons, cadets were also given time to play games and bond with one another. Activities included Capture the Flag and Downed Pilot: a game where cadets have to search for an “injured pilot” and carry them back to the campsite. “I made a lot of new friends,” said Cadet Sander McDonald of Churchill Avenue. “And the activities were really fun.”
During the night, cadets sat huddled around a warm fire as the officers entertained them with ghost stories. They were given the opportunity to sleep in the forest – inside the shelters they created.
On Sunday, the final activity was a summer biathlon challenge, which was composed of marksmanship and running. After a safety briefing and a demonstration, cadets were ready to have their turn with the air rifles. “Running a range at the FTX proved to be a unique experience,” said Sergeant Bradley Martire of Barrie Avenue. “Many of the junior cadets had an excellent time trying their hand at precision shooting and a summer biathlon competition.”
For the older cadets, this was an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills. The weekend’s events were planned and organized by the senior cadets with some assistance from the officers. “We worked together very well,” said Warrant Officer Second Class Samantha Cianfaglione of Patricia Avenue. “And I think it’s brought us closer as a group.”
Air Cadets is a free youth program, open to youth, 12-19. 211 Air Cadets meet on Wednesdays at Notre Dame High School from 6:30 pm to 9:15 pm. For more info: 211aircadets.com
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