Alumni and staff from 20 years of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program will gather the weekend of June 1 and 2 in Gibsons to celebrate an important milestone for youth on the Sunshine Coast.
The 858 Skookumchuk Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets began as a vision of the first chair of the squadron sponsoring committee, Joan Thibault.
858 Skookumchuk Squadron was originally formed as a “satellite squadron” known as the “Gibsons Flight” of 103 Thunderbird Squadron in North Vancouver in September of 1997. Thibault’s son had been a cadet in Summerland and loved the program. When they moved to the Coast, she promised him she’d do her best to get a squadron off the ground here.
And did she ever deliver on that promise. They had 18 cadets sign up on the first night. After functioning as a satellite for one year, and recruiting enough cadets, officers and civilian instructors to form a functioning Air Cadet Squadron, the Department of National Defence and the Air Cadet League of Canada granted a charter to the unit in October of 1998, with the name of Skookumchuk, and the number 858.
The Skookumchuk name comes from Skookumchuck Rapids just outside of Egmont. The squadron crest was designed from an anonymous submission from one of the cadets, titled “Raven over Skookumchuck at Dawn,” and depicts a stylized West Coast native representation of a raven over frothing water with the sun rising behind.
As the squadron’s first chairperson, Thibault reflected on the auspicious occasion, saying she has seen many changes over the years.
“We were a strong squadron 20 years ago. We are a strong squadron today. This has been accomplished by a dedicated sponsoring committee, parents and volunteers including the Gibsons Legion, and our flying community. All have given unselfishly of their time and talents for those youth who recognized opportunity and seized it! May the next 20 years be as successful! Congratulations, 858.”
The 858 Skookumchuk Squadron’s 20th annual ceremonial review is set to run from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 at Elphinstone Secondary School in Gibsons.
Join the cadet squadron, parents, staff, volunteers and alumni for a day of celebration that will include: cadet inspection and march past, inspirational speeches, award presentations, displays and demonstrations by cadets, refreshments, an opportunity to discover the Air Cadet program and how it is benefiting youth on the Sunshine Coast.
Everyone is welcome.