Summer Training Opportunities

As with promotions, summer courses are awarded on the basis of merit. All courses require cadets to have achieved a minimum level of training to be eligible, and some have an age requirement as well. Cadets who join after 31 January of the current training year are not eligible for summer courses until the following year.

Summer Course Criteria

As with promotions, summer courses are awarded on the basis of merit. All courses require cadets to have achieved a minimum level of training to be eligible, and some have an age requirement as well. Cadets who join after 31 January of the current training year are not eligible for summer courses until the following year.

There are three basic types of summer courses: Quota courses, Scholarship courses and Music Courses.

Quota courses are divided into 3 categories:

1) Familiarization courses;
2) Introductory Specialty courses; and
3) Advanced Specialty courses.

We call these Quota courses because the squadron is allotted a certain number of male and female spots on these courses, based on the quota of cadets we have in the squadron. Unfortunately, this quota usually only allows approximately 20% of our cadets to attend these courses each year. The squadron staff compiles a list of the cadets and which courses they would like to attend.

Just as with the promotions selections, we confirm that they are eligible for their desired courses. We then prioritize the cadets by type of course (Familiarization, Intro Specialty, Advanced Specialty) by male and female, so that the most deserving cadets (using our Standings database) are at the top of the list for each category. This list is submitted to the Cadet Detachment, and the Detachment staff fills the available spots for the courses. If another squadron doesn’t fill their available spots, other squadron’s lists are used to fill the vacancies.

Scholarship Courses are between 3 and 7 weeks in duration. Cadets must apply for these courses before Christmas, and must complete exams and/or interviews as part of the selection process. The number of positions available for each course varies by province, region, course, and location of the course. Cadets who are interested in these courses must submit a personal narrative explaining why they would like to attend the course. They must also submit letters of recommendation, a personal resumé, a cadet resumé and school transcript.All the requirements are explained to the cadets long before the applications are due in December.

The staff goes through the applications to ensure eligibility. Generally, we can only submit one or two applicants for each course, so we must prioritize the candidates and make our selections for first, second third choice etc. If a cadet is not eligible for a course, we recommend other courses for which they are eligible. Alternatively, if a cadet will not be our first or second choice for their desired course, we will encourage them to consider another course.

Once the candidates are nominated by the staff for a scholarship course, the cadets are given a course to help them prepare for exams and interviews. Cadets interested in Flying or Gliding Scholarships should take the Squadron Ground School course beginning in the fall and going until early January, when they write the exams. In February, interviews are held for all candidates in Ponoka. Based on the candidate’s exam marks (if applicable) school marks, application and interview marks, the Air Cadet League makes a priority list for the final selections for these courses, filling the available vacancies for this province. For example, if there are nine spots available for Alberta cadets to attend Technical Training, the top nine cadets will be selected and the remaining cadets will remain on the priority list as spares. If one of the top nine cadets cancels for any reason, the next cadet on the list will be selected.

Music Courses are 3 to 6 weeks in duration. To apply for a music course, cadets must complete a Music Course Application that must be signed by their music instructor. The Commanding Officer makes a recommendation and then the application goes to Winnipeg. The Regional Cadet Music Advisor makes the final selections for these courses, based on vacancies available for male and female, the instruments played and experience needed for the desired course.

We must choose our best candidates and the remainder go on a waiting list.
We do this by evaluating the cadets based on the following factors (in no particular order):

1. Subject matter interest: Cadet success on a course is greatly influenced by their interest in the subject matter. For example, Intro to Aviation is a very academic course. If a cadet does not have a clear interest in flying subjects, this course will be boring and difficult. If they have not attended the squadron Ground School program, they have not shown clear interest, and the material will be more difficult to grasp. Perhaps this cadet should attend Ground School and re-apply next year.

If a cadet wishes to apply for a music course, but does not play an instrument, chances of them being selected is very slim.The course would be very challenging and frustrating for them. The cadet should learn the basics of an instrument to some extent, before committing to 2-6 weeks intensive music training.

The reasoning behind determining subject matter interest is that if a cadet gets to camp and is bored or frustrated that the material is difficult, they may become de-moralized. They may fail the course, pose disciplinary problems and/or be RTUd (Returned to Unit). Sending a cadet who is unprepared does not benefit the cadet or the squadron. Another cadet may be able to fill that course slot who can complete the course successfully.

2. Age: If a cadet is turning 19 years old and leaving the squadron early in the training year, we must determine if the squadron will benefit from sending this cadet to camp. If there is another candidate who still has a few years left in cadets, we must assess if they will be more able to use what they learn and potentially be an instructor at the squadron.

3. Past Summer Courses: Some cadets are high achievers, and work very hard. This makes their standings higher on a consistent basis, and they are often selected for promotions, awards and courses.If we only select these high-achieving cadets for summer courses, the same cadets would get to go every year, and others would never get to go. We try to ensure that cadets who have not had an opportunity to go on a summer course do so. Sometimes, the experience of a summer course can inspire cadets, and they come back to the squadron and perform at a higher level than before. This being said, if we decide selections solely on merit, it is easy to see that a cadet who does well, but perhaps not as well as other cadets, may not have a chance to go to camp. This is unfortunate, however, it is difficult to justify selecting a cadet whose standing is lower in the place of a high-achieving cadet. If a cadet has been to camp every summer, we may place them lower on the priority list, to allow others an opportunity to go as well.

If a cadet has applied for a scholarship course, we often put them at the top of the priority list for a quota course, so they are guaranteed a course. If they are selected for their scholarship course, the next cadet on the list automatically gets moved up on the list.

Due to the restrictive quotas on some courses, a deserving cadet may not get to go to camp because there were not enough slots available. We will try to place them higher on the list the following year, to ensure they get a course ahead of cadets in a lower level than they. For example, first year Cadet Bloggins didn’t get to go to Basic this year, though he was very deserving. Next year, he will be at the top of the list for Basic, ahead of the new first-year cadets, unless he is selected for another course.

1. Potential: Sometimes we see strengths in cadets that the cadets themselves don’t see.

We may see a strong academic ability, or natural leadership ability. We will try to encourage cadets to apply for courses that we think they will be successful on.Sometimes, a cadet needs the training they will get on a course to reach their potential, or give them a bit of a push. We try to consider this when selecting for courses.

There are also times when a cadet will not be selected for their first choice, because there is another more meritorious cadet who is our first choice. We will try to offer other options that we think will interest the cadet and will use their strengths. For example, if a cadet has not done well enough on the flying or gliding exams to be selected for the scholarship, we will encourage them to apply for another course where we think they have a good chance of being selected. Then the following year if they try for another course, they will have that experience in their favour.

2. Squadron need: We try to foresee what the squadron will need in the coming years, in terms of instructors and qualifications in specialty subjects. If we see the need for instructors, we will encourage our senior cadets to take instructor courses and Senior Leadership. If there is a need for survival specialists, or aviation specialists, we will push these courses. We try to have candidates for every scholarship course available.

On the other hand, if the squadron already has many specialists in a certain area, such as Rifle Coach, it may be difficult to give them all a chance to use their skills at the squadron when there are so many. We will encourage cadets not to apply for this course next year, but will offer alternatives that we think might interest them.

The same procedure as used for promotions is used to determine merit for summer courses. We compile the data on all the cadets. We determine who meets the prerequisites for each course (eligibility).

We start with the scholarship courses, which are processed in early January. We review the data and determine who we will nominate for each course.There are restrictions as to how many candidates we can nominate each year.

It is a very difficult process to make selections for scholarship nominations and priority lists from all the cadets who apply for camp.The resources and accommodations at camp make it impossible to send everyone who applies. We try to make our selections in the most objective and fair fashion possible, basing our decisions on the cadet’s performance, their standings, their potential, and the squadron’s needs for the following year. This process usually takes the staff about three (3) hours to complete.

Below is a table listing all courses available to cadets.They are listed in order of the minimum training level required to be eligible for that particular course. The cadet must currently be in that level or have completed that level to be eligible. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are Scholarship courses.

  Familiarization (Level1) Minimum Level 2 Minimum Level 3 National Courses(Scholarships)
General General Training Course (GTC)   Advanced Training – Staff Cadet  
Drill and Ceremonial   Basic Drill and Ceremonial Course (BDCC) Drill and Ceremonial Instructor Course (DCIC)  
Survival   Basic Survival Course(BSC) Survival Instructor Course (SIC)  
Fitness & Sports   Basic Fitness and Sports Course (BFSC) Fitness and Sports Instructor Course (FSIC)  
Marksmanship     Air Rifle Marksmanship Instructor Course(ARMIC)  
Technology & Aerospace   Basic Aviation Technology and Aerospace Course(BATAC)   Advanced Aerospace Course (AASC)
Aviation   Basic Aviation Course(BAC) Advanced Aviation Course (AAC) Aircraft Maintenance(AATC-AM)
Glider Pilot Scholarship(GPS)
Power Pilot Scholarship(PPS)
Military Band   Basic Musician Course (MBBMC) Intermediate Musician Course (MBIMC)
Music Levels 4-5 Course
Pipe Band   Basic Musician Course(PBBMC) Intermediate Musician Course (PBIMC)
Pipe & Drums Levels 4-5 Course
International Exchanges & Trips       International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE)

Please note that cadets may apply for as many courses as they wish. Those not selected are prioritized on a waiting list.