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A new home for Delta cadets

Sgt. Caden Cumming, 16, a member of the 2812 Seaforth Highlanders (Surrey), shows Delta Mayor Lois Jackson a display of what army cadets do during an opening day recruitment event for the new 1867 Seaforth Highlanders (Delta) regiment at Heath Traditional School on Sept. 17. - Boaz Joseph / The Leader
Sgt. Caden Cumming, 16, a member of the 2812 Seaforth Highlanders (Surrey), shows Delta Mayor Lois Jackson a display of what army cadets do during an opening day recruitment event for the new 1867 Seaforth Highlanders (Delta) regiment at Heath Traditional School on Sept. 17.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph / The Leader

The Seaforth Highlanders army cadets have a new home in Delta, thanks to the school district.

Following a series of negotiations with Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) representatives, the Delta School District is allowing the cadets to use Heath Traditional School as their new training facility.

And it won’t cost cadets or their organizers a penny – they’re getting the space for free.

That’s “very rare – really unusual,” said commanding officer Capt. David Smith of the new 1867 Seaforth Highlanders RCACC at a recent open house at the school. “It’s monumental what Delta has done.”

1867’s sister regiment, Surrey’s 2812 Seaforth Highlanders, pay about $12,000 per year to train once a week at Mountainview Montessori in Guildford.

1867 is Seaforth Highlanders’ sixth army cadet regiment in the region. The others are in Surrey, Vancouver, Sechelt, Port Coquitlam and Langley.

Recent growth has put pressure on other training facilities, leading to the expansion – the Langley regiment itself is only one year old.

Smith, a teacher for 23 years and currently an automotive instructor at Seaquam Secondary, said school officials he spoke to liked the idea of what the cadet corps could offer students: loyalty, professionalism, mutual respect and integrity – in other words, good citizenship.

The activities are what attracted Cpl. Devon Singh, 13, a cadet who transferred from 2812 to be closer to home.

“It’s fun. I met a lot of nice people and have a lot of fun with it,” said the teen.

The fun – and learning – includes activities such as shooting marksmanship, band, orienteering, field training exercises, first aid training and summer camps.

All training and activities are paid for by the Department of National Defence, which has run the cadet program for 126 years.

Despite the military structure, Major Robert Thompson, the commanding officer of 2812, said the cadet corps is not a recruiting agency, and only about one per cent of cadets go on to military careers.

Some cadets however, will go on to “uniform” careers such as emergency services.

Thompson added that the training and activities which cadets are involved in from ages 12 to 18 – including long-distance trips and exchanges with other provinces or countries – could cost them up to $100,000 if they tried to do them outside the cadet corps.

Recruiting for the Delta’s new regiment started in mid-September, and about 40 cadets are expected to join in the next several weeks.

The cadet program is the largest federally-sponsored youth program in Canada, and includes the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets.

For more information, call Capt. David Smith at 778-837-8793 or email david.smith@cadets.gc.ca

To learn more about the cadet program, visit www.cadets.ca

bjoseph@surreyleader.com

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