After meeting virtually for most of the last year, the Nelson air and sea cadets are once again meeting face-to-face, even if those faces are covered with masks.
Maj. Kevin DeBiasio says it has been “very challenging” meeting online, “but the good side is over the last year we’ve had a whole bunch of people joining us who we’d never meet in person.”
Those folks included a Virgin Galactic astronaut-in-training who’s a former cadet, Snowbirds pilots, armed forces pilots, and a friend of DeBiasio’s who works for an organization in Calgary that maintains airplanes.
“They gave us a hanger tour virtually,” he says. “Things we never could have done in person.”
Now, they are “slowly moving into an in-person environment approaching what we had pre-COVID.” They are meeting indoors while wearing masks and also doing activities indoor and out In October, cadets used Lakeside Park to learn about orienteering using both compasses and GPS sets.
In November, the squadron restarted its range program where cadets learn how to fire air rifles safely. Cadets also were involved with the Nelson Legion’s poppy campaign and Remembrance Day service. They plan a winter survival exercise in February.
DeBiasio says their numbers are down since the pandemic began, but they always welcome new members between the ages of 12 and 18.
They meet every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Nelson Eagles Hall. More information can be found at www.nelsonaircadetsa.ca, on the squadrons Facebook page at www.facebook.com/561NelsonOspreyAirCadets/ or by calling DeBiasio at 250-231-0710.
Adults who would like to volunteer with squadron are also welcome.