Marksmanship

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The Cadet Marksmanship Program is an integral part of the Cadet Program in that it teaches the cadets self-discipline, builds their confidence and allows them to compete equally in a recreational sport that is gender neutral.

The emphasis on marksmanship for cadets is on sport for recreational purposes only. In fact, most of the baseline Cadet Marksmanship programme, including the National Cadet Marksmanship Championship, is conducted using nonlethal air rifles that are not classified as firearms under federal Gun Legislation.

The Cadet Marksmanship program has been specifically designed for youth. For example, cadets do not participate in a military style marksmanship program; they fire only on Olympic-style competition paper targets.

Cadet marksmanship training is patterned on Olympic-style competitive shooting with an emphasis on the safe handling and care of firearms. Several world-class athletes started as cadets including Canadian Olympians Pat Vamplew and Mike Ashcroft, and Commonwealth Games participants Des Vamplew and Garry Bowman. Canadian Olympic Biathletes Myriam B├ędard, Nikki Keddie and Martine Albert were also introduced to their sport through participation in the Cadet Biathlon program. A number of these Olympians continue to work as instructors and advisors in the Cadet Marksmanship and Biathlon programs in recognition and appreciation for what they and others received as youth in the Cadet Program.

Safety is paramount to the cadet marksmanship program. Safety procedures are taught first and foremost to cadets before they are ever permitted to handle any air rifle. Safe practices are continuously reinforced throughout their training. Furthermore, the training is regularly reviewed and modified in order to ensure the safety guidelines and training standards set by the Department of Justice through the Canadian Firearms Centre are strictly adhered to and enforced. Cadets learn to treat firearms with respect and experience their use within the context of activities sanctioned by Sports Canada. There has never been an incident in which cadets have been injured as a result of their participation in the cadet marksmanship program.

The cadet organization provides youth a realistic outlook on firearms by teaching them the proper use and safe handling of firearms for recreational purposes only. Cadets who participate in competitive shooting understand the consequences of the careless handling of firearms, and have chosen to pursue their interest in marksmanship in terms of achieving personal satisfaction in an Olympic sport.