What YOU can do as an army cadet

Drill and Ceremonial

Cambridge Army Cadets Drill Team practicing their routine
There is an old saying that everyone loves a parade.  Even more so when there is some well executed and coordinated moves.

Modern drill is an evolution of movements originating from maneuvers used by troops in battle.  Throughout the centuries it has gone from the coordination of pike-men and knights on horseback, to archers in the field and finally to muskets.  Many of the historical maneuvers can still be seen today.

However, drill is not just a throwback to a bygone era, it is still the backbone of the modern military.  Drill helps to teach group cohesion, develops physical coordination, self control and leadership.  Watching a cadet corps in action you will notice it more often than not other cadets who are giving the commands and not the officers.  That is because, as a cadet moves up through the ranks, they are given more and more responsibility.

In addition, there is a yearly drill competition where the cadets compete against other Corps throughout the region.  Comprised of, and run by, cadets, the drill team gets to take their skills to the next level.

Field Training

Improvised shelters on an FTX
Nothing combines the lessons learned during regular training with fun than a Field Training Exercise (FTX)

Three times during the training year the Army Cadets head into the bush for training.  They are broken down into different categories:

Section tactics during cadet FTX

Bivouac - Survival skills, camping, using camp equipment and tools and being part of a group

Cold Weather - A perennial favourite, we learn winter survival techniques, snow showing, fire starting and sleeping in the cold

Trekking - Because we are based on the military, we can't just call it "going for nice walk in the woods".  The cadets get learn test their endurance, learn how to read maps and navigate in the woods.  Trekking can really help to build self-esteem and confidence.

We also combine other aspects into our FTX weekends such as abseiling, obstacle course, archery, marksmanship and good ole fashioned wiener roast on the campfire.  The FTX is one of the things most warmly remembered by those who have been in cadets and, quite frankly, are a lot of fun for everyone.

Cambridge Army Cadets Field Training
FTX’s are a chance for the cadet to put their hard learned outdoor skills to use and to learn new ones.  Cadets learn outdoor survival skills, navigation, leadership, communications and much more.  In addition, cadets get to test their leadership abilities through various taskings, improve physical fitness and help build self confidence.  And, it is an awful lot of fun.

Giving the cadets the opportunity to do things they might otherwise not get to experience, is one of the highlights of these outings.  On any given FTX, the cadets might get the chance to shoot the air rifle, fire a bow and arrow, canoe, go abseiling, go on an obstacle course, build a lean to or hooch, sleep in said lean to or hooch, snowshoe, toboggan, build a fire, light lanterns and stove, go hiking with a military pack... The list goes on and on.

Another favourite for the cadets (for some unknown reason) are the Meals Ready to Eat or MRE's.  These rations are designed to provide energy and nutrition during periods of high activity and the cadets actually think they are good.  (the CO has this thing for the cheese spread, yuck).

Ultimately, these weekends help build camaraderie and esprit de corps.  The friendships they make on these weekends can last a lifetime.


Cambridge Army Cadets Orienteering Team Practice
When the zombie apocalypse happens Google maps isn't going the help you avoid the brain eating hordes.  After all, its hard to navigate with your phone in one hand while fighting the undead with the other.  For that, we have orienteering.

Boring as it might seem, this is a handy skill to have when you head off into the woods.  We teach you how to use a map and compass, navigate in the woods and find locations with no land marks to go by.  Plus, it is actually a lot of fun.

Every fall there is also an orienteering competition.  Teams from across the region and province gather together to compete for the best time.  The competitors are judged on their ability to find markers in the shortest time possible.  We are proud to say, 21 RHFC ACC has done extremely well at these.

Pipes and Drums Band

Cambridge Army Cadets Pipes and Drums play at the Cambridge Arts Festival
One of the flagship programs at 21 RHFC ACC is our Pipes and Drums band.  Cadets who finish their first year can apply to become part of our Joint Band Program.  Meeting on Tuesday nights, this innovation program is run by the Director of the Paris/Port Dover Pipes and Drums with help from our affiliated unit, the RHFC.  The program encompasses 4 cadet Corps in the Tri-city area and is responsible for teaching new musicians how to play their selected instrument.

Once they have advanced to a higher level, the cadets can then become part of the 21 RHFC ACC competition band.  This group of talented musicians compete against other Corps in the province as well as traveling around the area playing at select events and venues.  The band has played at events such as the Army Cadet League Annual General Meeting, the Cambridge Arts Festival and numerous parades.

Members of the Pipes and Drums can also apply to attend summer camp as musicians.  These cadets will hone their skills culminating in being part of the CTC Blackdown Military Band.

This is a great opportunity for any aspiring musician.

Expedition Training

Cambridge Army Cadet on Expedition Training
Expedition training is one of the core training programs offered only by the Army Cadets.  Combining biking, hiking and canoeing, this physically challenging and extremely exciting program is loved by any cadet who has ever been involved in it.

Beginning at the Silver Star lever (third year), all cadets must take part in a weekend at one of the conservation areas in the region.  There they will learn all about maintaining and repairing the bikes they will be using, how to safely hike and camp routines. (ask one the expedition cadets what a bear hang is).  They then spend the weekend putting all this into practice as the ride through the woods, hike the trails and learn how to act as a team.  This continues the following year with a more advanced weekend for the Gold Star cadets.

Cambridge Army Cadets on Expedition Training in Peru
Those "unique" cadets who really enjoy this stuff can also expand their experience by applying for the expedition course at summer camp.  During the basic expedition course the cadets go on a 5 day outing where they get the opportunity to add canoeing to the mix.  The 6 week Expedition Instructors course the following year really test the cadets abilities as the member of a team when they head off into the woods to spend 18 days riding, hiking, canoeing and camping.

Perhaps the pinnacle of the expedition experience, though, are the regional, national and international expeditions.  These excursions range from 2 weeks to a month and can go just about anywhere.  From Georgian Bay in the fall, to northern Ontario in the winter (where they also learn how to dog sled) these challenging experiences are the highlight of many a cadets career.  On top of that, there are also chances to go to other countries as well.  Recent expeditions have gone to Scotland, Peru and Australia.

Marksmanship Training

Cambridge Army Cadet Air Rifle Marksmanship Team
Let's face it, target shooting is a lot of fun.  At Army Cadets, we will teach the cadet how to properly maintain the Daisy air rifle, how to handle it safely and responsibly, and how to hit the target.  Throughout the year we have a number of range days where cadets can work on their abilities.  We also like to take them out on FTX's for a little biathlon experience.

Like so many other things in the Army Cadets, cadets who are interested in learning more can apply to go to summer camp at CTC Connaught near Ottawa.  The basic course will hone their skills at handling and firing the air rifle, while the more advanced course is designed to teach the cadet how to instruct other cadets on the the Daisy air rifle.

For the truly skilled marksman, however, there is Fullbore shooting.  The cadets must compete to get on this course as only the top shooters get to go.  While on this course the cadets will learn how to shoot an actual rifle, how to maintain it and how safely handle it.  The best cadets from he first year are automatically offered the second level course the next year.  And finally, the best of this group is offered the chance to be on the National Rifle Team.

Marksmanship is a skill which helps the cadet learn self-control and concentration.  It is no easy task hitting that little, tiny circle.

Public Speaking

Cadets are not given much opportunity to be shy. From very early on, cadets learn how to teach classes, deal with the public and interact with all sorts of people.  We strive to instill confidence and self-assurance in the cadets to carry with them throughout their lives.  It doesn't take long for even the shyest cadet to come out of their shell.

Cambridge Army Cadets on parade.
Leadership Training

Army Cadets is very much about cadets leading cadets.  As they work their way up through the ranks, the cadets are given progressively increasing responsibility.  Officers and staff are there to guide the cadets but ultimately it is the senior cadets who run things.

21 RHFC ACC follows the army tradition of breaking the Corps into groups mirrored after an infantry regiment.  Starting with a section, appointed cadets are put in charge of a group of junior cadets ranging from 6-10 cadets.  They have the opportunity to progress to Platoon Sergeant-Major, Company Sergeant-Major and, ultimately, Regimental Sergeant-Major, who is the top ranking cadet in the Corps and in charge of all the other cadets.

Physical Fitness

Cambridge Army Cadets tubing at Chickopee Tube Park
One of the mandates of the Cadet Program is to promote physical fitness.  Cadets are encouraged to eat healthy and to exercise.  They are also given a fitness test once a year which is used to assess their eligibility for some of the more physically demanding activities, such as expeditions and international exchanges.

Of course, we also like to have fun.  Besides doing fitness testing, 21 RHFC ACC has periodic sports/fun nights and extra-curricular activities.  In the past we have taken the cadets to go rock-climbing and tubing.  Some of our Field Training Exercises also incorporate an obstacle course and biathlon.  We like to sneak the fitness in by disguising it as fun.

Become a member of the Cadet Council

Cambridge Army Cadets Cadet Council election poster
While on a tasking in Ottawa, the Commanding Officer was working on a section of the Cadet Training Guide which dealt with teaching the cadets civics.  Suddenly, he had an epiphany.  If somehow he could teach civics while deflecting the never-ending questions and suggestions, which had nothing to do with cadet training, what a glorious world it would be.  And, thus, the Cadet Council was born.

Beginning in October, the cadets will campaign to be the representative for their respective Star level or as Chair of the Council.  This process culminates with speeches and an election during the fall FTX.

The Cadet Council is responsible for dealing with issues and coming up with ideas for things that don't fall under the normal part of Cadet training.  They have spearheaded the drive to get spirit wear for the Corps, organized extra-curricular events and been instrumental in helping guide the CO in fun activities which the cadets want.

Cambridge Army Cadets heading off to summer camp

Summer Camp

Every year the Canadian Cadet Movement sends thousands of cadets to summer camp at no charge.  In fact, the cadets earn money while they are there.

Around December, your cadet will be given the opportunity to apply for a summer camp of their choice.  Selection is based on merit with the cadets receiving an offer around May.  Once the parents accept the offer, there is nothing left but for the cadet to sit back and drive their parents crazy impatiently waiting for departure day.

Courses are broken down as follows:

Cambridge Army Cadets at CTC Blackdown


General Training - 2 week course for 12-13 year old cadets

Leadership Courses

Basic Drill & Ceremonial Course - 3 week course concentrating on honing skills at drill

Drill & Ceremonial Instructor Course - 6 week course where cadets learn how to teach drill to other cadets

Cambridge Army Cadets at CTC Blackdown
Fitness and Sports Courses

Basic Fitness & Sports Course - 3 week course on having fun and staying fit

Fitness and Sports Instructor Course - 6 week course showing the cadets how to run a fitness and sports program at the Corps

Cambridge Army Cadets at CTC Blackdown Petawawa
Expedition Courses

Basic Expedition Course - 3 week course where cadets learn the basics of biking, hiking, canoeing and camping

Expedition Instructor Course - 6 week course which culminates in the cadets spending 18 days canoeing, biking and hiking through Algonquin Park

Cambridge Army Cadets at CTC Connaught
Marksmanship Course

Basic Air Rifle Marksmanship Course - 3 week course teaching cadets how to shoot the air rifle like a pro

Air Rifle Marksmanship Instructor Course - 6 week course showing the cadets how to instruct on the use of the Daisy Air Rifle

Fullbore Marksman I & II - 6 week courses on shooting fullbore rifles.  Cadets on these courses are selected by skill level

Music Courses

Cambridge Army Cadet pipers at CTC Blackdown
Pipe Band – Basic Musician Course - 3 week course for budding pipers and drummers

Pipe Band – Intermediate Musician Course - 6 week advanced course for pipes and drums

Pipe Band – Advanced Musician Course - 6 week course for the die hard noisemakers

Cambridge Army Cadets at Rocky Mountain camp
Leadership and Challenge

We have yet to hear any cadet complain about this course.  Held at Rocky Mountain Camp, near Cochrane, Alberta, this 6 week course brings all the elements of advanced army cadet training together in one place.  Cadets attending this course have the opportunity to hike, ride horses, kiyak and camp in the Rocky Mountains.

International Exchanges

Every year select cadets get to participate in exchanges with other countries around the world.  Cadets have had the opportunity to travel to Wales, Scotland, England, Austratia, Germany, South Korea and many others.  This is the ultimate for all cadets.

Staff Cadets

Staff cadets are paid to work as senior cadets at the Summer Training Centres. A staff cadet can be tasked with the instruction and supervision of cadets, administration or in a logistical support role. Rank and pay for staff cadets depend upon the position the are offered which can be anything from supervising general training to being the Regimental Sergeant-Major for the entire camp.  This is usually determined during  pre-course training and evaluation period.  Staff cadets start a week before any other cadets arrive and stay through the entire summer.  Staff cadets must be at least 16 years of age on 1 Jan.