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New annual community event for cadet support

Ninety people attended the 899 Air Cadets Squadron’s first annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser on March 19.
Left to right: Lt.-Col. Shawn Burtenshaw (ret)

Ninety people attended the 899 Air Cadets Squadron’s first annual spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser at Gospel Chapel hall on March 19.

Raised funds will go towards the squadron’s upcoming sports weekend, where cadets will tour Prince George International Airport and its navigation tower for the first time, as well as learn to scuba dive.

With new fun activities added to regular programming, the squadron looks to attract more prospective cadets and raise community awareness, said Lieutenant Amy Somers, commanding officer of the squadron.

Meeting every Tuesday night from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the group’s current programs for youth aged 12 to 18 teach cadets about Canadian military, aviation, survival skills, drills, citizenship, and sports, Somers explained.

She thanks the squadron’s parents sponsor committee for dinner preparation and local businesses who donated silent auction items for the event.

For Flight Corporal Taylor McNichol, who served attending guests along with other cadets, the event was another opportunity to venture out of his comfort zone.

“I’m really shy actually, and I’m trying to overcome that,” he said. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, to ask people if they want something to drink.”

At his third year with the squadron, McNichol was first urged by his mother to join for a year — his brother participated as well, he explained.

“It teaches you discipline,” McNichol said. “I love the activities, camping, gliding.

“I don’t find it scary, the thought of being in an engine-less plane, and they let you do some turns.”

Interested in learning more about flying, especially in a helicopter, McNichol also enjoyed the opportunity to take charge at times. During camps, cadets are organized into groups with people they are not familiar with and some are assigned as youth leaders.

“You get to boss around people you don’t know,” McNichol said. “It’s just making you do things you don’t want to do and you get used to it.”

For Fraser Lake resident Mike Walsh, it’s an opportunity to support local organizations.

“There’s not much money for the younger or older one,” Walsh said. “Even if you don’t attend the event [at the end after buying the ticket,] it’s good to support the groups. “I like spaghetti too.”