Cadets host open house to attract new members

by Kyle Reid

Volunteers, staff, and members of the 2715 Essex and Kent Scottish Army Cadets hosted a special open house at the 594 Royal Canadian Legion headquarters last Wednesday evening to recruit youth interested in becoming part of the historic corps.

  Corps recruiter, Terri Monforton, was pleased with the turnout at the event, which also doubled as a promotion ceremony and awards gala for current cadets. Youth members of the group, ranging from 12 to 19 years of age, demonstrated a variety of marches and drills for the crowd, while four cadets received recognition for their years of service in the corps.

  Monforton said the corps tries to host speakers who can talk about their youth-related activities and how it impacted their future. In keeping with that theme, Head Coach of the Windsor Spitfires, Trevor Letowski, was a featured guest speaker at the event. Letowski related to the discipline and dedication the youth cadets displayed to his own career as a young hockey player.

  Typically, members of the Cadet Corps meet once per week on Wednesday evenings at the 594 Legion headquarters. Monforton said, however, the weekly meetings are only a small component of the cadet program.

  “The kids have lots of opportunities within the [cadet] program,” Monforton explained. “We have a drill team, a marksmanship team; all kinds of outside activities outside of regular Wednesday nights…we try to do a lot of community outreach as well.”

  That community outreach includes programs like food drives for the Downtown Mission. The Cadets also partner with the Duke of Edinburgh program, which also involves a significant volunteer component for youth who work their way through the achievement program.

  And while the cadets are running a military-type program, the group is not a recruitment effort for the Canadian Forces. Monforton said the belief is a common misconception, and why they hold the recruitment events.

  “A lot of people have a little bit of a skewed view on what we do,” Monforton commented. “They think we’re trying to recruit people for the Canadian Army, but that’s not what we do. We’re just, basically, a youth group.”

  Of course, the 2715 cadets, like every cadet corps around the country, are associated with a Canadian military unit. In the case of 2715 Army Cadets, the corps has the honour of association with the prestigious Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment.

  Lieutenant Colonel John Hodgins, Commanding Officer of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment, was present at the event to inspect the corps. Hodgins expressed his pride in being associated with such an impressive group of youth.

  “These ladies and gentlemen here have decided to make a commitment,” Hodgins said. “It’s all about staying, persevering, and moving on.”