Imagine going to a foreign country for three weeks, eating
foreign food and learning all kinds of new things, with your
travel costs all covered.
Well, for 70 cadets from across Canada, this dream was realized.
Every year, Canada participates in the International Air Cadet
Exchange (I.A.C.E.) Program , this exchange takes place in several
different countries all over the world.
The I.A.C.E. program began in 1946 between the United Kingdom
and Canada. This year marks the 53rd exchange year. For a cadet
to participate in the program they must be 17 or 18 years old.
For more information regarding the I.A.C.E. program contact the
Commanding Officer of your squadron.
The selection process for the course is very difficult. When
you submit your application you must include things like your
report card, a passport picture, a 500-word essay on why you
want to go, an account of your past cadet history and a copy
of your past course reports.
After this is accepted, you have a 15-minute interview with
three air cadet officials. This interview usually consists of
two high ranking officers and a representative of the Air
Cadet League of Canada. After this, your application, and
an interview report is sent to a selection board in Ottawa. Competition
is fierce -- only the top 70 cadets in all of Canada are selected
from a base of about 2000 applications per year.
The fortunate cadets who are selected receive an information
package and they need to order a clothing package from Ottawa
for use while they are abroad. There is also a contact list of
all the other cadets from around Canada who are going to the
same I.A.C.E. host country.
The first stop for the cadets is St. Jean, Quebec. There they
meet the other cadets and receive a debriefing about their host
country. After two days, they travel to their destination.
Norman Mayhew, a cadet from Coburg Ontario, says the trip
to the United Kingdom was interesting and unique. "It was
my first time on such a large airplane, it was very exciting
at first but by the time we got there I was pretty restless of
The cadets who traveled to the United Kingdom spend a week
and a half traveling around England and after an eight hour bus
ride, spend a week and a half in Scotland.
Stephanie Wright from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was impressed
by the beautiful Scottish countryside and the rich history of
"All you see for an hour after entering Scotland was
fields of green hills full of sheep," says Wright. "England
was interesting in its history but doesn't compare to Scotland
"This was the most memorable time of my life and I owe
it all to the I.A.C.E. program for this chance of a lifetime,"
she says of the trip.