International cadets descend on Lions Park

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Cadets from around the world landed in St. Albert as part of their international exchange program on July 24.

Hailing from 12 different countries they made a stop at Lions Park for a barbecue hosted by the local cadet squadron. The 85 cadets brought out their host families and enjoyed a dinner of bison burgers and beans. A special ‘Christmas in July’ celebration and an appearance by a gift-bearing Santa followed the food.

This was the program’s third annual stop in St. Albert during the tour in Canada. Every year cadets from around the world come to tour Canada, and for the last three years they have explored Alberta.

“Previous to this visit, they would mostly go to Quebec and Ontario so for them to come out west was very special,” said Claude Carignan, chairperson of the Sponsoring Committee for 533 Squadron.

Only the finest men and women between the ages of 18 and 21 are sent to take part in the tour. The prestigious exchange is a very sought-after event and only the best and brightest will earn a chance to represent their country in the international field. The program hopes to promote international camaraderie and understanding between cadets of the exchange nations.

“The whole idea of the program is character development and giving the cadets a better perspective of other countries and the challenges they face,” Carignan said. “They grow to understand and appreciate the roles different nations play in our different programs through aerospace. The cadets build international understanding and goodwill and friendship among the people that they meet. “

The cadets started their tour in the Edmonton area and will be in Canada for 16 days. They have already checked out Fort Edmonton Park and West Edmonton Mall and will be finishing their tour in Calgary. They also plan to stop in Lake Louise, Waterton and many different military highlights along the way.

This is their last stop in Alberta for the foreseeable future and for the next three years the cadets will be travelling through the Maritimes.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.