The Royal Canadian Air Cadet program was designed for youth between 12 and 18; there are no fees to join and offers a variety of activities throughout the year, free of charge.
The program stresses responsibility, community service and good citizenship. The cadets receive training in flying, gliding, aviation, leadership, public speaking, sports and wilderness survival. Additional optional exercises include participation in the squadron Band, or the Precision Drill, Rifle Drill, Marksmanship or Biathlon Teams, Sports Teams, Model club and RC Club which all meet weekly. All instruments and equipment are provided and no experience is necessary.
Air Cadets learn about the traditions of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and participate in flight-related activities. Air Cadets have a chance to earn their civilian pilot licences through the program. Gliding, and the opportunity to pilot a glider is also a popular aspect of the program and it provides a solid base for learning how to pilot more complicated aircraft. Many Air Cadets go on to enjoy civilian flying careers, while others choose to pursue flying as an enjoyable life-long hobby. According to the Air Cadet League of Alberta, records show that since 1946, one out of every four private pilots trained in Canada has been an Air Cadet.
The cadets wear uniforms supplied by the Canadian Forces and can rise through the ranks from Air Cadet to Warrant Officer First Class. Promotion is based on the skills and abilities developed through the many opportunities provided. There are a number of weekend camping trips per year and cadets may also apply for summer training camps which give a unique combination of outdoor and social activities along with valuable instruction. Attendance at camps is free and the Canadian Forces provide all transportation, meals, lodging and special equipment. Ground school training and some scholarships have age related requirements. As the cadet progresses they have an opportunity to apply for a summer scholarship camp such as power pilot, glider pilot license or even an international exchange to a different country.
Youth may join cadets on the day of their 12th birthday and are eligible for most activities from the beginning. Sign-up occurs at Mewata Armouries every Tuesday evening from September and January.