Sports & Recreation(Archives)
Once in a Lifetime
2803 Fort McMurray Engineers Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps travel to Europe to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of VE-Day.
Between April 30 and May 10, 2015, 2803 Fort McMurray Engineers Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, travelled to Europe with 20 cadets, aged 14 to 17, along with 10 officers, staff and corps volunteers to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of VE-Day (Victory in Europe in World War 2). Our group participated in an EF (Educational First) along with other cadet and high school groups from across Canada. We travelled to five countries, and visited and participated in milestone events commemorating Victory in Europe.
Commanding Officer of the Corps, I have been asked numerous times why we took 20 cadets to Europe to participate in the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. The story behind is far reaching.
When the corps’ Public Relations Officer, Mark Kay, first brought the idea to me and suggested we go overseas with the corps, I was quite happy at the idea of taking the cadets on what would be a trip of a life time. Cadets in the past had offered me such great experiences that I only wanted to share that with my corps. The only issue is that most international opportunities are for senior cadets.
I wanted more for the corps, I wanted everyone to have the opportunity of international travel, not just our high achievers, and herein the seed was planted for an amazing experience that symbolized the core values and mission of the Cadet movement: Leadership, Citizenship, Community Service, Physical Fitness, and to stimulate young peoples’ interest in the Canadian Forces.
Before we embarked on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, our goals were simple: provide the Cadets a life time trip that aligned with core values of the Cadet Movement; honour and service of Canada’s World War 2 Veterans; walk in the steps of many of our grandfathers and great grandfathers; and strengthen the bond between cadets, and between cadets and the corps’ staff and volunteers.
After our visit, I found the trip to be more impactful than anyone had dreamed. Travelling to Europe to participate in ceremonies, and visit museums and cultural sites, gave the cadets, staff and volunteers an important understanding of the role Canada played in peace and freedom. We were able to meet veterans and civilians that were present during those times, which made the visit far more personal and memorable. We were frequently stopped by people wanting to talk to us, just because we proudly wore the Canadian Flag. We heard stories of how Canadians personally saved people and families, and we were told how much the cadets were appreciated for being at the commemorative events. Each day, the cadets became more and more proud to wear the Canada flag upon their sleeve. Seeing the period uniforms and equipment, truly changed our perspective on conflict. None of what we saw resembled the video games may of our young people play today.
Upon returning from the trip, the corps gathered to share stories about our experiences. What we heard from the cadets validated our reasons for going. The cadets were engulfed in memories to last a lifetime. It taught them things beyond books or movies; the things you can only learn by standing where history took place, by walking the trails of the soldiers, and by meeting the people that Canada helped to win their freedom.
Of course, none of this could have been possible without the generosity of our community, and the businesses and organizations that supported us through generous donations. We are proud of our association with these individuals and organizations who know that supporting our youth of today leads to better community leaders in the future. In closing, I can truly say that the cadets who participated on the trip, have a better appreciation for what it means to be a Canadian, and to live in freedom.
Thank you to our sponsors and supporters 2803 Fort McMurray, RCACC 70th Anniversary of VE-Day Tour
Army Cadet League of Alberta
Fort McMurray Airport Authority
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #165
Black Horse Pub
B Mac Underground Services Ltd.
Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo
UNITE HERE Local 47
Wood Buffalo Recreation Society
1 CER NPF Committee
2014 Leading the North Conference
2014 RCMP Musical Ride
Archway Rentals Ltd.
Aurora Vet Clinic
Casman Centre, 2015 New Year’s Eve Party
Cheryl and the Jammers
City Centre Urban Market
Dr. Kelly Brooke
NorthStar Ford Group
Fort McMurray Firefighters Association
Graystone Dental Centre
Hedco Group Inc.
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 362
Iron Workers Union Local 720
Kinette Club of Fort McMurray
Leon’s Heavy Equipment Ltd.
Plumbers & Pipefitters UA Local 488
McMurray Law Office
Quality Hotel & Conference Centre
Razor’s Edge Hair Studio
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
RE/MAX Fort McMurray
RONA Home Centre
RBC Royal Bank
Shaw TV Fort McMurray