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Joining Cadets

Welcome to the Cadet Program

What if you were told that there was a dynamic, structured youth program that offered Canadian youth a variety of interesting and challenging activities?


What if you were told that this same program developed in youth an increased level of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness?


Cadets are motivated to improve their physical fitness, to work harder at their academic studies and to give back to their communities through volunteerism.

About the Cadet Program

What is the Cadet Program?

The Cadet Program is the largest federally-sponsored youth program in Canada that includes the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets. It is a national program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18 who are interested in participating in a variety of fun, challenging and rewarding activities while learning about the sea, army and air activities of the Canadian Forces.


Cadets are encouraged to become active, responsible members of their communities.They make valuable contributions to Canadian society on a daily basis in terms of environmental, citizenship and community activities.


Cadets also learn valuable life and work skills such as teamwork, leadership and citizenship. Cadets are not members of the Canadian Forces, nor are they expected to join the military. Cadets is a great way for youth to learn more about Canada, make new friends and develop life skills that will enable them to succeed no matter what career they choose.


Cadets choose to join either the Sea, Army or Air Cadet Program. Sea Cadets learn seamanship skills and how to sail. Army Cadets focus on adventure training activities such as outdoor activities and international expeditions. Air Cadets learn the principles of aviation, with some learning to become glider pilots, pilots of engine-propelled aircraft or both.


What else do I need to know?

Viable Alternative - The Cadet Program is funded by the Department of National Defence in partnership with the civilian Navy League, Army Cadet League and Air Cadet League of Canada. The civilian sponsor requires local community support to meet its obligations that include accommodations, training aids and equipment and program enhancements not otherwise provided. Parents and cadets are expected to participate in and contribute to fund-raising as required by the League’s local sponsoring element



The Cadet Program is open to all Canadians from the ages of 12 to 18 regardless of income, race, religion, culture or other socioeconomic factors. The Program embraces Canada’s multiculturalism and offers young Canadians opportunities to interact with youth from other cultures.


Teaching Values

The Cadet Program emphasizes key values such as loyalty, professionalism, mutual respect and integrity. Cadets also learn about fair play, teamwork and tolerance through all of their activities.


Staying in school

Cadets are motivated to work hard at school in order to qualify for international exchanges and other rewards. They are taught related skills such as effective speaking and instructional techniques which lend to an increased level of success in school.


Advanced Training

Cadets who attend courses at summer training centres receive a training allocation. Many senior cadets can participate in advanced training opportunities full-time during the summer as instructors or support staff.


Visits and Exchanges

Cadets meet other young adults from across Canada and from foreign countries while participating in annual national and international exchanges.


Future Leaders

Former Cadets have found success in a variety of fields and have given back to Canada and the world. Cadet Alumni include astronauts Marc Garneau and Chris Hadfield, Major Maryse Carmichael (first female Snowbirds pilot), Senator Terry M. Mercer (Certified Fund Raising Executive), George Canyon (Country Music Artist) and Ms Afshin-Jam Nazanin (International human rights activist, Miss World Canada 2003 and Miss World 1st runner up).

Guiding Principles


The mission of the Cadet Program is to contribute to the development and preparation of youth for the transition to adulthood, enabling them to meet the challenges of modern society, through a dynamic community-based program.



A relevant, credible and proactive youth development organization, offering the program of choice for Canada’s youth, preparing them to become the leaders of tomorrow through a set of fun, challenging, well-organized and safe activities.



“The aim of the Cadet Program is to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, promote physical fitness and stimulate the interest of youth in the sea, land and air activities of the Canadian Forces."



The development of responsible and caring citizens is one of the most important aspects of the Cadet Program. Throughout the year, cadets participate in citizenship activities in cities and towns across Canada.



The Cadet Program encourages youth to be fair and ethical leaders.Cadets learn to take responsibility for their actions and motivate their peers to follow their example.


Physical Fitness

Cadets develop an understanding of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Participation in fitness activities results in a positive attitude that enables cadets to take on new challenges.


Stimulate Interest in the Activities of the Canadian Forces

Exposure to the sea, land and air activities of the Canadian Forces is a unique part of the Cadet Program identity, distinguishing it from other youth develop

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