Some of the best sharpshooters in the province were at CFB Esquimalt this past weekend, but they weren’t members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
It was the Provincial Cadet Marksmanship Competition, with 65 air, army and sea cadets from 12 B.C. communities challenging themselves and each other.
Each five-person team fired the Daisy 853C air rifle at paper targets, with the winning teams from White Rock and Surrey moving on to compete in the National Marksmanship Championship next month, also be to held in Victoria.
Joining them will be an army cadet from Victoria (2483 RCACC) and an air cadet from Sidney (676RCACS) competing as individuals.
“It’s not about building soldiers, it’s about building really effective, young Canadians that are successful in whatever career path they choose after they finish the cadet program,” said Capt. Cheryl Major, public affairs officer with CFB Esquimalt.
At the national championships May 7-10, there will be teams from across Canada with two teams competing from each province. This is one of only two cross-Canada competitions for cadets, with the other being biathlon.
“Cadets aren’t part of the Canadian forces, nor are they expected to join the Canadian Forces,” Major noted. “The program is meant to develop leadership, citizenship, physical fitness and expose them to the activities of the Canadian Forces, but there is no overt recruiting whatsoever.”
However the partnership does provide unique opportunities not normally available to young people.
“Over the past couple weeks we just had sea cadets on orca deployments, we had them on HMCS Calgary, we had them on Canadian Coast Guard deployment and we had them on BC Ferries deployment – so we had a whole bunch of different on-water activities and a lot of that is thanks to the support of the Canadian Forces.”
While cadets taking part in weekend activities were able to show off their shooting touch, they also expanded their safety skills, something Major said is an important component of the program.
“They really learn a respect for the Daisy air rifle, how to maintain it and how to look after it effectively as well,” she said.
“The other aspect is teaching other youth – one of the big benefits is being able to pass on their skills and knowledge, whether that be the technical skills, leadership skills, or the team work skills.”