Safety first! This is the mantra of the day for the 2941 Wells Gray Army Cadets on Saturday morning, Feb. 4, at the Clearwater Legion.
Cadets from Barriere, Vavenby, and Clearwater are practicing air rifle firing for the Canadian Cadet Movement Marksmanship Zone Competitions on Feb. 11-12 in Vernon. A team of five Cadet Corps members will be selected to compete in the Zone Competitions against 12-15 other teams from the region. The highest scoring team goes to the provincials and eventually to the nationals. It is a big thing to participate.
Captain Angele Grenier from Merritt provides training support for the region and teaches the Cadets safe and responsible air rifle handling. They are all excited about this practice.
“What are the three things most important things to remember?” Capt. Grenier asks the Cadets.
The Cadets answer: “Safety first, teamwork, and focus.”
Then they rehearse the five principles of air rifle firing: “Trigger control, holding, position, breathing, and aiming.”
Then they get to work.
The Cadets work in teams of two in which one person operates the air rifle and the other is assigned as coach. Coaches are very important because they pick up the equipment and help their teammate with positioning the rifle to get the best possible shot. They look through a telescope and see where the target is hit. Based on their findings, they give directions on paper to the person firing the air rifle because they are not allowed to talk. It is all about concentration.
Every Cadet handling an air rifle has to wear safety goggles and a shooting jacket for protection. When they lie down, they have to find a comfortable position and follow a strict sequence to load the air rifle. Then they aim at the target set up on the other side of the room and fire.
The platoon has grown to a total of 19 Cadets in the last year. They now meet every Saturday at either the Barriere or Clearwater Legion.
“It took a little convincing but when they figured out they could do fun stuff not everyone gets to do, they love it,” says Christy Dionne about her niece and nephew.
There is a lot more on the schedule for this spring/summer such as hiking in early May and canoeing/abseiling in June. For anyone interested in doing something cool, it is definitely worth checking out.
– Margot Venema