In 1882 (officially, in 1884) a cadet corps known as The Highland Cadets was raised at the Guelph Grammar School by Captain Walter Clarke, RA, a Crimea veteran who was demobilized in Canada after colonial service and hired as a PTI at the Guelph Grammar School. This unit was later serialized as Cadet Corps #18. Although Army Cadet training for girls was not authorized until 30 July 1975, in 1884 Captain Clarke also formed a locally sponsored girls’ corps known as The Daughters of the Regiment. Along with the Canadian Militia, the Army Cadet program also fell on hard times in the 1930s, and The Highland Cadets, along with many other corps, was disbanded. Cadet training was revived during World War Two as Guelph Collegiate Institute Cadet Corps, sponsored by the Guelph Board of Education and affiliated with the 11th Field Artillery Regt, then fell again into decline after the War.
This Corps was formed 24 Apr 1942, designated Guelph Collegiate and Vocational Institute Cadet Corps, sponsored by the Board of Education and affiliated with 11th (R) Fd Regt RCA. The Corps was disbanded 31 Mar 1948.
It was revived a third time in 1964 as #1882 Guelph Secondary Schools Cadet Corps, and again affiliated with the 11th Field Artillery Regt. In 1976 it was realized that The Wellingtons’ tradition deserved to be perpetuated, so the Cadet Corps, still affiliated with 11th Field Artillery Regt, was re-designated #1882 The Wellington Regiment Cadet Corps. A year later this was changed to #1882 The Wellington Rifles Cadet Corps, which continues to wear the silver version of the badge approved in 1928.
About Army Cadets
The Royal Canadian Army Cadets is a national organization for youth aged 12 to 18. There are more than 25,000 cadets which are split up into over 450 corps across Canada. Each member meets up once a week during the school year on their designated training night to learn citizenship, leadership, drill, effective speaking, outdoor survival, range and more. In addition to training nights, corps may have other optional nights of the week dedicated to sports, drill, range, biathlon or other additional training. During select weekends during the year, many corps engage in outdoor bush exercises, competitions or a variety of other trips.
During the summer, cadets have the opportunity to go to a variety of summer camps. These courses range from 2 to 7 week courses and include basic training, introductory and advanced courses to leadership and instruction, drill and ceremonial, outdoor and sports training, and the Canadian Forces basic parachutist course.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the purpose of Cadets?
A: Cadets form a national organization whose purpose is to develop in youth the attributes of leadership, engaged and active citizenship and physical fitness, all within an environment that stimulates an interest in the Canadian Forces.
Q: Why should I join Cadets?
A: Cadets offer you challenges, friendship and adventure! It's an opportunity to expand your own horizons, contribute to your community and make friends for life. Many former Cadets credit their participation in the program with giving them a head-start toward their successful careers. Did you know that astronaut Chris Hadfield, Olympic biathlon gold medallist Myriam Bédard and actor Jim Carrey were all Cadets in their teens?
Q: What do Cadets do?
A: Cadets are teenagers like you who take part in activities at a Cadet Corps within their local community. These activities are designed to help you to become more self-confident, to develop your leadership skills, to improve your physical fitness and communication skills, and to teach you self-discipline through challenging training.
Q: When do Cadets meet?
A: Cadets usually meet once a week and some weekends throughout the school year.
Q: Will Cadet training affect my schoolwork?
A: Education is very important to Cadets. Cadet training is a hands-on, activity-based program that should complement your school studies. In fact, some provincial and territorial education boards accept Cadet subjects for school credits. As well, there are several scholarships available through Cadets.
Q: How old do I have to be to join Cadets?
A: You can join as soon as you've reached your twelfth birthday and you can remain until you turn 19.
Q: What do I need to join?
A: All you need to join is an interest in the program and your parent's/guardian's permission. You also have to be willing to attend regular meetings.
Q: What does it cost to join?
A: There is no enrollment fee to join the cadet program. However, cadets may be asked to take part in fundraising activities that support optional programming in which his/her corps participates.
Q: Do I have to buy my own uniform?
A: No. The Canadian Forces loan complete uniforms to Cadets, and Cadets are expected to take good care of their uniform.
Q: If I don't pay to join Cadets, then who pays?
A: The two major partners in the Army Cadet program are the Department of National Defense and the Army Cadet League of Canada (a civilian non-profit corporation). These two organizations work together to provide the facilities and material required to operate each Army Cadet Corps.
Q: What will I do at weekly meetings?
A: Some of the activities you can expect at your Cadet Corps include ceremonial drill, first aid, sports, and citizenship events that support your community. Many Corps even have a music program. Occasional weekend activities include biathlon, camping, map & compass and marksmanship. There will also be plenty of time to have fun and make new friends!
Q: What about summer camps?
A: For those interested, Cadets have summer camps located across Canada. Cadets can go to camp for two to eight weeks on a variety of courses. Each camp offers a unique mixture of outdoor activities and valuable instruction. Attendance at Cadet Summer Camps is free. The Canadian Forces provide all transportation, meals, lodging and special equipment. Every Cadet attending summer camp receives a training allowance; Cadets in staff positions at camp receive a salary.
Q: What do I do at summer camp?
A: Courses offered at Army Cadet summer camps include training in leadership, instructional techniques, music, marksmanship, summer biathlon, aerospace studies, map & compass, camping and adventure activities, ceremonial drill, physical education, computer skills, and citizenship. Advanced courses include training in leadership, rock climbing, kayaking, Voyageur Canoe trips, trekking, marksmanship, music and the military Basic Parachutist Course.
Q: Are there travel opportunities?
A: Definitely! For summer training, Cadets travel to one of 28 Summer Camps located in different parts of Canada. In addition, selected Cadets go on exchange trips to countries such as England, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Wales and Italy under an international exchange program. Exchange Cadets are selected on their high standards in performance, fitness and involvement in Cadet activities.
Q: Who instructs Cadets?
A: Cadets learn from members of the Cadet Instructors Cadre, officers who are specially trained to instruct and supervise youth. In some cases, civilian volunteers who possess special skills are called in to assist Cadet Instructors. Both the Cadet Instructors and civilian volunteers have chosen to dedicate their valuable time to helping Cadets reach their potential.
Q: Will I be expected to join the Canadian Forces?
A: No. Cadets make absolutely no commitments regarding future military service, and are free to leave at any time. However, those who decide to join the Forces later on start out with the advantage of having learned valuable skills through Cadets