Cadet (16K)Thursday, April 17th, 2014: Like most teenagers his age, Sagar Singh Ghag loves his video games.

Homework, chores and outdoor activities were all impediments to attaining supremacy in the challenges provided by the gaming console in his house. But something has triggered a different outlook in this 15-year-old from the North Delta Secondary School.

“I loved staying home and playing my video games but now I get to talk on radio and TV, make new friends and do lots of activities that I probably never would had got to do otherwise,” said Ghag.

Jacob (18K)Jacob Hayes, a 12-year-old from Banaccord Elementary in Surrey is also seeing some changes in his young life. “I also wanted to spend less time playing video games and more time doing productive stuff.”

Thirteen year old Punnet Pank of Surrey said she has found renewed confidence to be a role model for her community.

No there is nothing in the waters of Surrey that is transforming these kids.

They are members of the newly minted 3300 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) which is sponsored by the Surrey-based “Friends of Sikh Cadets Society” to provide a dynamic program for youth. Punnet Pank

PunnetP (18K)Locally known as the Sikh Cadets, the 3300 RCACC, which is open to all aged between 12 and 18, is Canada’s first army cadet program sponsored by the Sikh community.

It was formally inaugurated last year and today is the fastest growing cadet unit in British Columbia.

This Saturday, members of the 3300 RCACC will be part of the Khalsa Day parade in Surrey adding another point of pride for the community.

Major Jim Blomme, the commanding officer for 3300 Army Cadet Program said the combined goal is to provide a premier program delivering leadership, teamwork and self discipline skills for youth.

The unit currently has 67 cadets with a growing waiting list.

SSGhag (26K)“We are growing fast and it’s very rewarding,” said Harbinder Singh Sewak, a Vancouver-based newspaper publisher who took his idea of a Sikh-sponsored cadet unit to General Walter John Natynczyk, the former Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces.

“I hope what we have achieved and what we are doing can be used as a blueprint to increase the pluralism in Canada’s cadet corps,” said Sewak, who also chairs the Friends of the Sikh Cadet Society.

The 3300 RCACC’s formation has triggered interest as far away as London, England, which has a sizeable Sikh population.

For Maple Ridge lawyer Kirandeep Kaur Brar, the cadet corps has given her 15-year-old son Naunihal a “new attitude”.

“I am seeing a new discipline in Nuanihal,” said Brar who drives her son to the weekly drills every Thursday and waits in the car for two hours while her boy is instilled with a “new sense of sureness”.

Jatinder Kaur Saini said she cannot think of another activity that has made her son, Armaan Singh, 13 more astute and respectful.

SimranG (17K)See what the other cadets have to say:

Bharbhoor Singh, age 17
“Since joining the cadets, my parents’ attitude towards me has change. They seem to believe in me and think I am more responsible now.”

Punit Pank, 13
“I joined because I wanted to gain more confidence and be a role model for my community and my school. This way I also get to strong, fit and healthy.”

Jacob Hayes,12
“I wanted to follow my father’s footsteps…I also wanted to spend less time playing video games and more time to do more productive stuff…The cadet corps is amazing I really enjoy it.”

GSMatharu (18K)Sagar Singh Ghag, 15
“I have gained confidence and enjoy it so much. I want to become an electrician or do mechanics and this all inclusive all rounded program helps me be a better citizen and person” Gian Singh Mattharu

Simran Gillar,16

“I had an interest in the army and coincidentally found out that cadets was a great opportunity for kids my age that’s when I decided to join this program”

Gian Singh Matharu, 12 “I joined the cadets to get some confidence. I never used to want to meet people or perform or make presentations at school.”

This content is produced as part of a joint venture between and the South Asian Post.


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