Letter: Tag Days help provide cadets with life skills

Dear Editor,

It was with great dismay that I read a letter to the editor [Fundraising events beat begging, April 3 Letters, Langley Advance] with respect to tag days – one of the many fundraising events that sea, army, and air cadet corps across Canada carry out to raise money for their corps activities.

The author’s main concern seemed to be that the cadets were “soliciting” donations rather than providing a service or selling something to raise funds, i.e., hot dogs or Girl Guide cookies, and that this would cause the cadets to have an air of entitlement or to think that the world owes them a living

I would like the author to know that this is simply not the case.

I have sons who are sea cadets, and the program has benefited them greatly.

In cadets they have learned that it is important to have respect for others and for themselves. They have learned the value of hard work and of patience, an appreciation of authority, how to take care of their belongings and the cadet facilities, to take care in their appearance, and most definitely, the importance of teamwork.

In cadets, they take classes in responsibility, healthy living, citizenship, and Canadian and naval history, amongst many, many other things.

The author doesn’t see the hours the cadets put in cleaning up around the cadet facilities and participating in clean-up days for other organizations, volunteering in the community, keeping their uniforms neat and tidy, working on their seamanship, drill, and music skills, engaging in physical fitness activities, etc.

He also may not know that there are many other fundraising events the cadets participate in that do provide services in exchange for donations.

Even before my kids were cadets, I always felt positively when I would see the different cadet groups in their spotless uniforms fundraising outside grocery stores or other shops. They were always well-groomed, well-spoken, and polite, and they always said thank you, regardless of whether or not I chose to donate that day.

I liked to see the kids representing their organizations so well, and they would be out in all kinds of weather.

Also, fundraising this way allows people to choose how much they want to give.

I like Girl Guide cookies and barbecued hotdogs as much as the next person, but I can’t always afford it (my wallet or my waistline).

Now that I know what the cadets are all about, I appreciate tag days even more. The funds raised from them are integral to the cadet organization, and allow kids to participate who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

I feel it is a tremendous disservice to the organization to dismiss tag days so lightly. I would encourage the author and any other people who have concerns, to learn more about the cadet program and its great benefit both to the kids and to the community.

Thea Levesque, Abbotsford

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