Ponoka’s Air Cadets have seen so much growth that the group had to hold two days of awards this year rather than just one.
The first day was Tuesday, May 31 and the second day of ceremonies, which included a parade and presentation of further awards, was held Saturday, June 4. Commanding officer Capt. Tracy Fiedler said it is important to acknowledge the dedication of cadets after a busy year. The number of accomplishments is something to be recognized. She credits a strong staff team and parent support.
“We have two pilots on our staff. We have two band officers. We have three range officers, so that means both range and marksmanship are successful,” said Fiedler.
Scheduling is designed in such a way that would allow cadets take part in every activity they are able to if they wanted. “We have really great resources,” she added.
This year, registering 52 cadets with a strong attendance record in Ponoka, marks the 75th anniversary of the cadet program in Canada and Fiedler said Ponoka’s 65 squadron was one of the first 79 squadrons in the country. Among the many accomplishments for Ponoka’s cadets is seeing recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh medals. “I do know that we have a very strong presence.”
The Duke of Edinburgh program is part of an athletic and community program that gets youths involved in the community and physical activity. Ponoka’s cadets have been well represented over the years in the bronze, silver and gold medals.
The Ponoka Legion sponsors the cadets, which helps promote what the group is doing. The Legion and Air Cadets work closely together supporting each other when possible. Legion president Sybil Evans is proud of the fellowship between the two.
“It’s a way of keeping young people cognizant of what’s happened in the past,” said Evans.
Stan Monkman, director of public relations for the Alberta Provincial Committee, was commanding officer in Ponoka some years ago. He is proud to have been associated with the cadets. He said the parade is an ideal opportunity to show off what they have learned and for the band to have its time in the spotlight.
“Every time they accomplish something, bring them out and recognize them in front of their peers,” said Monkman of the importance of the awards. “That really builds up their self-esteem.”
In the end, the hope is to foster self-discipline in cadets but more importantly to develop good citizens, explained Monkman.
Best Dressed and Deportment Jr: Corporal Fiona Nobles
Best Dressed and Deportment Sr: Warrant Officer Second Class Josiah Thompson
Espirit de Corps (peer nominated): Warrant Officer Second Class Mitchell Pierce
Top Marksman: Sergeant Luke Watson
Outstanding Bandsman: Flight Corporal Dylan Jeffcott
Top Musician: Sergeant Johnathan Wessel-Ford
Most Improved: Flight Sergeant Dean Black
Commanding Officer’s Award: Warrant Officer Second Class Joel Paquet
Top Attendance pins and promotions were also given out.
Top Level 1: Corporal Madison Ford
Top Level 2: Flight Corporal Callum Gruber
Top Level 3: Sergeant Carter Brouilette
Top Level 4: Flight Sergeant Trevor Scharf
Top Level 5: Warrant Officer Second Class Mitchell Pierce
Top Overall Cadet: Flight Sergeant Trevor Scharf
Jim Pratt Memorial Award: Flight Sergeant Trevor Scharf
Lord Strathcona Trust Fund Medal: Warrant Officer Second Class Josiah Thompson
Legion Medal of Excellence: Flight Sergeant Trevor Scharf