Every year 820 Squadron's local training runs from the last week of August to mid-June, and the summer training "season" typically runs from the last week of June/first week of July to mid-August. For the most part, summer training takes place at various Canadian Forces establishments and affiliated civilian facilities across Ontario. Summer training is an excellent opportunity for cadets to further develop their skills in a different environment with cadets and staff from other parts of Ontario, and sometimes other parts of Canada or the globe. The aim of this training is to complement what the cadets have learned at their home unit, and with more advanced courses there are opportunities to earn qualifications and skills that are directly transferable to future career choices. Since the primary instructors of junior cadets are senior cadets, these specialized advanced courses also strengthen the quality of instruction of the cadet program with the development of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). However, there is a selection process involved for summer training, and every year there are more applicants than there are positions available.
STARTING THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Since there are more applicants than there are summer training positions available, there is a selection process in place. It begins with cadets applying for the courses they are both interested in and eligible for with guidance from their respective Proficiency Level Officers. First-year cadets are typically eligible for the two-week General Training Course. This does not apply to older cadets who enroll under the Late Joiner Policy and are eligible to be accelerated into Proficiency Level 2 or 3. Second- and third-year cadets can apply for the three-week basic courses, such as Basic Aviation or Basic Drill and Ceremonial. Senior cadets and certain third-year cadets can apply for six-week advanced courses, including national courses such as Glider Pilot Scholarship or International Air Cadet Exchange. National course applications have a much more rigourous application process that includes review of secondary school transcripts, a written narrative, and an interview, among other things. Pilot Scholarships also require the successful completion of a Transport Canada examination and successful medical check. Some senior cadets may apply for summer employment as a staff cadet at various cadet training centres across the province. The national course application process is outlined in the two documents linked at the bottom of this page.
Cadets are selected by panels of staff operating at the provincial level and not by the local staff at the home squadron. However, these selection panels use the information provided by the squadron staff through the files maintained and recommendations made locally. Regular attendance at training nights and weekends, participation in extra-curricular squadron activities, frequent attendance at squadron events in the community, high standard in dress and deportment, and overall conduct are just some of the factors taken into consideration. The training section staff make their recommendations to the Training Officer, and the Training Officer relays this information to the Commanding Officer for approval. The Commanding Officer then prioritizes approved cadets within each course that they are applying for. The applications are then sent to the provincial level for consideration, and once first-round selections are made, they are sent back to the squadron in April to notify cadets. Applicants not selected due to space limitations are placed on a standby list that may be reconsidered during a second round if any first-round selections back out or otherwise no longer available. It is possible for cadets on the standby list to be notified of selection up to and including the second day of the course, so if cadets on the standby list are no longer interested due to making alternate summer plans, they are to immediately notify the squadron's designated Summer Contact Officer of this change.
FILLING OUT THE APPLICATION FORM
Prior to filling out the application form, each cadet should seek guidance from their respective Proficiency Level Officer (i.e. Proficiency Level 1 for first-year cadets, Proficiency Level 2 for second-year cadets, etc). Proficiency Level Officers inform the cadet what courses they are eligible and recommended for, and then cadets talk to their parents about which dates these courses are offered work best with family plans for the summer. A 2018 sample of course descriptions and dates is provided below. There are five sections on the application form and cadets must fill in sections 1, 2, 3 and 4. Section 5 is reserved for the commanding officer's decision. Section 1 is for the cadet's surname, given names, and current rank. Section 2 is for the cadet's course choice, and a cadet is permitted to make up to three choices, with the first line reserved for the cadet's first choice, second line for the second choice, etc. Cadets applying for a national course must make that their first choice. To maximize opportunities, cadets may be selected for any one of their three choices and must be both willing and able to accept any of the three choices. If a cadet is ONLY interested in their FIRST choice, then they are to leave the second and third lines BLANK. Cadets that make second and/or third choices but refuse an offer for one of these will be lower in priority the following summer. The only exception is for cadets on standby for a national course, in which case they must accept the second or third choice as offered, but are then permitted to accept a national course offer if the opportunity is presented. Section 3 "a" and "b" is to ensure that the cadet has no scheduling conflicts over the summer, and if so, that there is a willingness to accept another summer training offer that better fits into the cadet's summer schedule (might not necessarily be any of the cadet's three choices). Section 3 "c" is for choice in official languages, "d" to "g" is for music courses, "h" is for army cadets, "i" to k" are for national courses and staff cadet employment, and "l" is for listing any additional information that may improve a cadet's chances for consideration in the International Air Cadet Exchange course. Finally, Section 4 is for the cadet's signature with date signed. Once the form is completed, cadet must submit it to their respective Proficiency Level Officer for review. If complete, the form is then forwarded to the squadron Training Officer for recommendation and submission to the Commanding Officer for final approval, prioritization, and submission.
SUMMER TRAINING ORIENTATION PRESENTATION
The squadron Training Officer (or designate) will conduct a special presentation for cadets and their parents about what to expect during the summer months sometime after the majority of first-round summer training selections have been made known to cadets (April-May). The specific date and enhancing details will be communicated to the squadron several weeks in advance to maximize attendance. Check the website homepage closer to the summer.
COURSE DESCRIPTIONS & ELIGIBILITY
NATIONAL COURSE APPLICATION PROCESS OVERVIEW