Letter: Cadets do far more than beg

Youth

Dear Editor,

I think Mr. Dalkeith is misinformed about the cadet program [Fundraising events beat begging, April 3 Letters, Langley Advance].

Cadets certainly do not learn that the world owes them a living. They are encouraged to become active, responsible members of their communities.

Cadets sell poppies for the Legion in November, participate in local clean-up days, and march in local parades along with their bands.

At Christmas they contribute to food banks, toy drives, and other charities through their own initiatives.

Mr. Dalkeith thinks the cadets are not learning life skills and are lacking a sense of accomplishment by not selling something or providing a service. Would first aid be considered a life skill?

One of our sea cadets (169 Columbia) was featured in this very newspaper last year for helping a woman who had fallen and hit her head. He credited his knowledge of first aid to the cadet program [Teens come to aid of ailing senior, March 7, 2013, Langley Advance].

I would like to introduce you to three former sea cadets from Aldergrove: Cmdr. Kelly Larkin, Cmdr. Brian Santarpia, and Capt. Harry Harsch. In 2008, three of Canada’s 20 warships were captained by these men. All three credit their success to their early years in cadets. [Cadets offer teens much more than sea legs, Jan. 18, 2008, Langley Advance]

A couple of years ago, two 13-year-olds, with the help and encouragement of their officers, organized a two-day event at the Abbotsford Fish and Game Club, with several hundred participants from all over the province. I know they gained a lot of skills from this, including teamwork and leadership, which will serve them well in years to come.

Last year you may have seen our corps donating a tree for the Langley Walk of Remembrance [Cadets help tree project, July 2, 2013, Langley Advance]. It was paid for with a combination of donations and the cadets’ own money.

Our corps, like any other non-profit groups out there, is constantly fundraising through chocolate bar sales, pub nights, bulb sales, etc., but Tag Days is a tradition, and we meet a lot of friendly, generous people who want to talk about their own days in the navy, their sons or daughters oversees, or their own days in cadets. Tag Days is a donation program, but if people like Mr. Dalkeith would prefer to contribute to a fundraiser with a product, our galley will be at the Parkside Ball Tournament in Aldergrove on June 7 and 8, selling burgers and fries, etc.

Ann Birnie, Langley

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