Volunteering

Volunteers play a crucial role in our organization. Across our country, volunteers are involved in providing services, which improve and enrich the lives of the youth in our Air Cadet Movement. Some are involved with specific cadet related activities, while others participate at the administrative and decision making levels of the organization.

Whatever the number of hours you have to offer, you will find the opportunity either to participate in selected activities or to volunteer for a longer term commitment.

We need people like you!

PREAMBLE

The Air Cadet League of Canada welcomes a large number of volunteers at the Squadron level and in the Air Cadet Program as a whole.

The Air Cadet League of Canada and its partner, the Department of National Defence (DND) jointly support the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, a premier youth organization. The Air Cadet program is a comprehensive program, which is run in a structured, disciplined and safe manner. In this context, it is important to ensure all volunteers are appropriately selected, initially supervised, well- intended, offer skills which add value and complement the program, and are good role models for Air Cadets. Knowing the volunteers, their skills and talents, and their intended contribution is very important to the Squadron Officers, staff and Sponsoring Committee. A team effort produces the best results for the greater benefit of the Cadet Movement.

It should be understood that the League’s responsibilities for civilian volunteers complement those of DND and are of a supporting nature. The Commanding Officer and his/her supporting staff have command and control of the Cadets and are responsible for supervision of the training program. To fulfill its responsibilities to the cadets, DND is required to conform to rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada that defined the level of care required by any organization in protecting youth under its direction. This level of care has been defined as that which would be exercised by a prudent parent in protecting their child. As a full, active partner in this aspect of the Air Cadet Program, it is also reasonable that we should also insure that our registration and screening protocols meet the same standard required by our military partners. The military will be responsible for screening the volunteers of the Canadian Forces, both Regular and Reserve as well as contracted Civilian Instructors.

In order to be properly acquainted with League volunteers and other volunteers, certain information is required. You are asked to complete the attached Volunteer Registration and Information Form. An interview with League representative will be required after receipt of the completed form and a Police Records Check and Vulnerable Sector Screening (PRC/VSS). For positions of trust (such as Treasurer and Fund Raising), a Credit Check may be required. A volunteer’s Registration/Screening is valid for five years as long as the volunteer remains in good standing. By applying and being approved, the Volunteer undertakes an obligation to report any subsequent change to his/her situation/circumstances that is of a nature to reasonably and usually require a re-evaluation and re-screening (example, a new criminal offence).

We thank you for your generous offer of volunteer services and hope you understand the legal and moral obligation of the League in reviewing the suitability of all individuals working or involved with youth.

RECOGNITION OF VOLUNTEERS

Without volunteers many activities in a squadron would not take place. Knowing their work has been appreciated can encourage them to stay longer and perhaps do even more for the cadets. That is why it is important to say “Thank You” in a meaningful way. An earlier edition of the National League Newsletter encouraged nominations for National and Provincial Honours and Awards and a similar message appears in the Fall 2006 issue of Cadence for the recognition of CIC Officers. This bulletin, however, is about recognizing volunteers at the squadron level. It is neither policy nor a procedure, just some suggestions as to how to retain the volunteers currently helping out.

Volunteers give their time in a variety of ways, for example: running the canteen, driving cadets to and from events, publishing a newsletter, coordinating a mess dinner, helping with special events, assisting with summer course selections and promotion interviews, coordinating the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards program, being a band master, a Web Master, a photographer or a media relations representative for the squadron and so on. They want the squadron to be successful and to be part of making that happen. Some squadron sponsoring committees recognize their volunteers on a regular basis, others do so occasionally and, sadly, some hardly ever.

Adding “Annual Volunteer Review” to a Things To Do list for a particular month can be a useful reminder. Nominations for National and Provincial recognition could also be considered at that time. For officers in the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) there is a range of Canadian honours and awards for which they can be nominated, including the Order of Military Merit. For civilians there are Provincial Orders and Volunteer Awards. In order to make this happen, however, somebody has to take time to prepare the nomination.

The criteria for squadron level recognition, however, is set by the squadron sponsoring committee in consultation with the Commanding Officer. It is decided locally and usually considers such things as: length of service, special merit or a combination of both. What form it takes is also a local decision but it does not have to be expensive. Examples from squadrons across the country have included: Crests – Certificates – Anniversary Books – Framed Letter of Appreciation – Large card signed by the cadets – Volunteer of the Year Award – Framed Picture of all the squadron members – Squadron pin- pewter mug. Whatever is decided, the award should convey what the volunteer has contributed to the squadron.

It then has to be decided when and where the presentation will occur. There are a number of options: a CO’s Parade – Parent’s Night – Squadron Dinner – Annual Ceremonial Review – again this is a local decision. Arranging for a photograph to be taken will provide another memento for the volunteer being recognized and also potential for an article in the community newspaper.

A squadron sponsoring committee should also review the support received from local financial supporters and companies who also help by donating goods and services. Long-standing supporters also merit recognition. And at the end of the training year when writing the annual report including the names of those who have been recognized, at whatever level, will provide a permanent record.

Saying “Thank You. We appreciate what you have done for the cadets” can make the difference between a volunteer staying or leaving. In the words of the song: “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone.”

To find a squadron near you please click below:

FIND A SQUADRON