848 Royal Roads Air Cadet Squadron cadets Dawson Thompson

West Shore air cadets have a new home

Langford-based squadron sharing space with Lighthouse Christian Academy

An open house next week will celebrate a new home for the West Shore’s Air Cadets.

The Langford-based 848 Royal Roads Air Cadet Squadron lands has landed at a new location after outgrowing their old digs at the Goldstream Masonic Hall. The new home for their 68 members aged 12-18 is at Lighthouse Christian Academy.

“We have individual classrooms instead of all of the levels being in the same room trying to teach over top of each other. Now we have other rooms,” said Flight Sgt. Dawson Thompson, 18. “We now have a large enough space to do drills all year round. It’s just a better place overall where we could continue to grow … we were too big for (the old hall).”

Thompson, a Langford resident, values his time with the program, which will come to an end next summer when he ages out of Air Cadets. He said the experience has allowed him to grow as a person and he hopes it continues to do so for others, in a new facility better suited to serve the growing squadron.

Squadron commanding officer Mandart Chan said the new larger space allows the cadets to have more ownership of their headquarters.

“(Now) they are in charge of cleaning up and setting everything up and tearing everything down,” he said. “It gives them a better sense of belonging.”

Formed in November of 1976, the squadron is one of 57 across B.C. and part of a network that includes more than 24,000 Air Cadet members nationwide.

Sgt. Caleb Laranjeiras, 18, has been with the local squadron five years and said it’s a time he will never forget.

“It has given me the backbone of discipline and has helped with self-control and organization for school and work,” he said. “Overall it gives you those leadership skills that are really helpful down the road, so it’s helped me quite a bit.”

Air Cadets is operated as a partnership between the Department of National Defence and the Air Cadet League of Canada. The public is invited to the open house on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at Lighthouse Christian Academy,1289 Parkdale Dr. in Langford.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com