Cadets still fundraising for Vimy trip

Local cadets hoping to participate in Vimy Ridge centennial ceremonies in France are need financial support.

Time is running short for a local group of army cadets who are fund-raising for a trip to Vimy Ridge to mark the centennial of the battle during the First World War.

Though the trip will be in April 2017, the local 1813 Army Cadets have the opportunity to participate in ceremonies honouring the sacrifice and achievement of the Canadian Crops for their role in capturing the ridge 98 years ago.

Following the ceremony, the cadets are hoping to do a quick two-week tour of Europe to other places of historical significance in the First and Second World Wars.

However, there is a significant cost attached to the trip that the group needs to fundraise.

The cadets are hoping to use a guided tour company for their heritage tour across the continent and the trip requires payments in a few instalments. Right now, the group has raised roughly $7,000 but is still short of the required $13,000 that will be due in August.

“We need to get some awareness out there, we need to figure out what’s going to work,” said Barb Smythe, the chairperson of the 1813 Army Cadet Parent Society.

The cadets have been fund-raising for the past year and recently held a flea market over the weekend.

In addition to bottle drives and garage sales, the cadets are also looking at grants, but a lot of those come with limitations.

“Most of the grants that are available are only available for stuff that’s happening locally, so that’s one of the big issues, is that if you’re travelling overseas, there’s very few that are willing to put in for travel overseas,” Smythe said.

“We’ve got feelers out to a lot of places, but these things take months to go through all of their committees. We’re really hoping that we can get this August payment done and then we can maybe have some of those answers come back to us in a positive way and be able to punch forward on the next one.”

Smythe admits that there are those who would say that parents should fund it, but notes that of the 18 cadets who are going on the trip, there are a few siblings, meaning that the group comes from about 12 families.

“Our concern with asking the parents to fund it, is that many parents have multiple children in the corps,” Smythe said. “So while it’s 18 kids that are going, it’s actually only 12 families, so it becomes a hardship on some of the families if we’re asking them to pay for three or four children.”

Smythe is hoping to get some corporate sponsorship and the group is thinking of getting each individual cadet to get sponsorship from local businesses.

However, there is also the concern of donor fatigue, she added.

“We’ve had a couple small locals [businesses] donate to us, which is awesome, but there’s only so many dollars in the pot,” Smythe said.

“You can’t keep asking the same people all the time for money.”

If anyone is interested in sponsoring the cadets or has a fund-raising idea, Smythe would be grateful for any opportunity.

“We’re always looking for fundraising ideas, we’re always looking for sponsorship, we’re doing the perpetual bottle drive, so we have a location where we get bottles dropped off at, and then as it gets filled up, we put them through,” she said.

To contact the cadets, email cranbrookarmycadets@gmail.com