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What is the Cadet Program?

- The Royal Cadet Program

The Cadet Program emphasizes key values such as loyalty, professionalism, mutual respect, and integrity. Cadets also learn about fair play, teamwork and tolerance through all of their activities.

- What is the Cadet Program and what is its purpose?

Also known as the Canadian Cadet Organizations, which includes the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, the Royal Canadian Army Cadets and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, the Cadet Program is one of the largest federally-sponsored youth programs in Canada. Youth participating in the Program choose to join either the Sea, Army or Air Cadets.

- Who joins the Cadet Program?

If you are 12 or older, want to meet friends and try something new, then we have just the thing for you! By joining the Army Cadets, you are saying yes to fun activities and exciting challenges supervised by adult leaders who were specially trained to look after young people like you who have a taste for adventure.

- What do we do?

Army Cadets focus on adventure training activities such as outdoor activities and international expeditions.

- Why do youth aged 12 to 18 years old join the Cadets?

  • To have fun.
  • To be with their friends or to make new ones.
  • To partake in interesting and unique challenges.
  • To participate in diverse training at no cost.
  • To learn valuable life skills (work and personal).
  • To improve their self-confidence and sense of responsibility.
  • To pursue an interest in the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • To be part of a program that is both welcoming and nurturing, where they feel included and have a sense of belonging.

Five things to remember about the Cadet Program

  • Invites all Canadian youth aged 12 to 18.
  • Instils Canadian military values.
  • Develops in youth attributes of citizenship, leadership and fitness.
  • Balances safety and challenge.
  • Leaves a positive life-long impact through a set of positive youth outcomes.

Five things to remember about the Cadets

  • Cadets are proud Canadians and proud citizens.
  • Cadets are healthy in mind and body.
  • Cadets contribute to Canada’s future.
  • Cadets seek and appreciate healthy discipline.
  • Cadets represent Canada in a positive light.

- What else do I need to know?

 A viable alternative – The Cadet Program is funded by the Department of National Defence in partnership with our civilian sponsors, the Navy League, the Army Cadet League and the Air Cadet League of Canada. League members support Cadets by working in partnership with local communities and the Canadian Armed Forces. Cadet Instructors Cadre officers administer, train and supervise Cadets by delivering the Program; League members (our civilian sponsor) ensure financial, accommodation and transportation support for the Program and services that are not provided by the Department of National Defence. Cadet Instructors Cadre officers and League members support each and every Cadet Corps and Squadron in Canada. The civilian sponsor requires local community support to meet its obligations that include accommodations, training aids and equipment and program enhancements not otherwise provided. Parents and Cadets are expected to participate in and contribute to fundraising as required by the League’s local sponsoring element.


The Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces assumes costs (including uniform and travel) for Cadets. Consequently, membership in the Cadet Program provides thousands of Canadian youth with unique opportunities free of charge that they might not otherwise experience. In fact, the Cadet Program often provides the only alternative to boredom and juvenile delinquency for youth at risk in Canada. Positive influences can indeed help young people to make sound decisions. It is important that young people be given responsibilities, so they can develop their self-esteem and self-worth, and a sense of pride. This will help build a generation of responsible young adults – making the Cadet Program a viable option.

- Are Cadets expected to join the Canadian Armed Forces?

Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces, nor are they expected to join the military. While they are introduced to Sea, Army and/or Air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces and certain traditions, they are also introduced to many other respectable career choices that are available to them.