Youth Programs

Cadets North of 60°

The Cadet Program has enjoyed a long and successful tradition in the North since the inception of the first army cadet corps in Dawson, Yukon on October 2, 1909. Cadets in the North enjoy an especially close relationship with the communities as there are often few organized youth activities in the more remote areas above the 60th parallel. Today, of the 50,000 cadets in 1,100 units across Canada, there are approximately 400 army and air cadets enrolled in 15 corps and squadrons in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The training and activities for these cadets fall under the responsibility of the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Northwest), located in Winnipeg.

The Cadet Program provides a dynamic and structured activity for young Canadians ages 12 to 18. The aim of the Cadet Program is to develop in youth the attributes of leadership and good citizenship, to promote physical fitness, and to learn more about the Sea, Land and Air elements of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Adult Supervision

Reserve Officers of the CAF, known as the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) instruct, support and guide cadets. CIC Officers receive training specific to administering the cadet program and supervising youth. In the North training, administration and supervision is supplemented heavily by Civilian Instructors, Regular Force and Reserve personnel. There are also many RCMP and other volunteers working to ensure the program is successful.

Local Headquarters Training

With the exception of Whitehorse and Yellowknife, communities in the North have the option of hosting an army cadet corps or air cadet squadron. Currently there are air cadet squadrons in the three territorial capitals and army cadet corps in eleven other communities.

All cadets in the North are provided with the opportunity to participate in marksmanship and biathlon competitions, navigation exercises, drill and other activities that focus on developing leadership, self-discipline and citizenship. Furthermore, cadets in the North enjoy sports, cultural activities and citizenship opportunities. General Cadet Knowledge, instructional technique and first aid are also part of the regular Cadet Program. Many cadet units also implement traditional skills and values into their programs such as throat singing, drumming and culturally based games.

Summer Training

During the summer, more than 300 cadets from the North attend a Cadet Summer Training Centre (CSTC) to further develop their leadership and instructional abilities and enhance their cadet experience. The majority attend Whitehorse CSTC. This training centre offers courses ranging from two weeks in length for basic army and air cadets, to six weeks of leadership and instructor courses for more experienced cadets.

The training at Whitehorse CSTC goes beyond what you would find at a training centre in southern Canada. Teamwork, camaraderie and self-esteem, as well as acceptance and participation in Northern culture are a significant part of the camp’s focus. For many cadets, a visit to WCSTC will include many firsts including their first time seeing trees or swimming.

Cadets in the North also have the opportunity to participate in training at several different national and regional centers across Canada. They are eligible for all training and scholarship courses offered in southern Canada. Some cadets have even ventured overseas to attend training in Australia, England, Germany, Scotland, Singapore and Wales.

Support to Cadets

The Department of National Defence (DND) funds the Cadet Program in partnership with the Army Cadet League and the Air Cadet League of Canada. The DND provides the equipment and uniforms and trains the staff that administrates the program. Cadets in Northern Canada also benefit from the support of Joint Task Force North and affiliated Regular and Reserve Force units.

Administratively, RCSU (Northwest) supports a number of cadet activities including field training exercises and regional competitions in cadet skills, marksmanship, and biathlon. At the national level, cadets in Northern Canada are given opportunities to travel and compete annually against cadets in all parts of Canada in marksmanship and biathlon.

Local sponsors, who often include service clubs, veteran’s organizations, schools, parents’ groups, and hamlet/town councils, assist individual cadet corps and squadrons under the direction of the Leagues. These local sponsors provide support and equipment for optional training activities, local administration and accommodation.

The Cadet Program is the largest federally sponsored youth program in Canada and gives youth a chance to take up new challenges and seek out new adventures. It is quite often the only structured program available for youth in the North. Through cadets, youth broaden their horizons and explore new options; all while having fun and making new friends. To learn more about the Cadet Program, visit the following website:

Junior Canadian Rangers

Junior Canadian Rangers are proud and skilled youth who become active and engaged citizens in their communities. They are girls and boys 12 to 18, who live in remote and isolated areas of Canada that operate under the supervision of Canadian Rangers.

There are currently more that 4,000 youth participating in over 133 patrols in Canada. Throughout the North, there are about 1600 Junior Rangers in 41 patrols. The Junior Canadian Rangers Programme is a structured and meaningful enterprise that helps preserve culture and traditions unique to each community. They are easily recognized by their vivid green sweatshirt, ball caps, and huge smiles!

To learn more about the Junior Canadian Rangers, visit the following website:

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