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Fort Macleod 2309 Army Cadets hunts for new place to call home

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The 2309 Fort Macleod Army Cadets are looking for a new home.
The cadets would like permission to use the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall for their Wednesday training sessions.
“We were thinking the community hall because it has a large floor,” Capt. Randy Ripley said.
Cadet leaders Ripley, Werner Dressler and John Ross appeared as a delegation at the March 24 council meeting.
They told council the cadets used the Airport Recreation Hall for years until directed by headquarters to find a new location because the building was not safe for young people.
“Due to the lead, mold and asbestos, they said you’re out of there,” Ripley said.
At present, Livingstone Range School Division allows the cadets to use W.A. Day school.
“The school costs us nothing, which is right in our price range,” Ripley said with a laugh.
Ripley told council that while the corps appreciates the support of the school division, using that building presents challenges.
Of immediate concern is how the schedule for the up-coming modernization of W.A. Day and F.P. Walshe schools will impact the cadets.
Students at both schools will be displaced while the construction takes place, but a schedule has not yet been determined.
Ripley also said the school is not available to the cadets when the building is closed for holidays.
“Every school holiday that comes up we’re out of the building,” Ripley said.
When the cadets require a classroom for training sessions, the desks for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are too small for the teenagers.
Ripley told council that at one point the majority of cadets were from Pincher Creek.
Since the cadets moved to W.A. Day school the demographics have changed and now 80 per cent of the cadets are from Fort Macleod and district.
“We’re getting more and more youth from Fort Macleod and the surrounding area,” Ripley said.
The corps also attracts young people who live in the MD of Willow Creek and Granum.
Ripley told council the cadets ideally need a facility with a large open floor and rooms for classroom sessions.
“The cadets have turned out some impressive people,” Ripley said of the national program, which is free for young people. “The program is one of the better programs for youth in Canada.”
Ripley said the non-profit organization can not afford to pay rent for the hall, but would be willing to assist in any capacity as volunteers in return for using the building.
“We’ve got a tight budget,” Dressler added. “We work with what we have.”
Dressler noted the corps helps out with a volunteer highway clean-up, assists with the Remembrance Day ceremony at the hall, places Canadian flags on veterans’ graves and participates in the Santa Claus Parade.
“If we are given the opportunity to have the community hall as our home, we will respect it as our home,” Dressler said.
Ripley agreed.
“Normally when we visit some place we try to leave it cleaner than we found it,” Ripley said.
Dressler said the gymnasium at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint has been proposed as a home for the cadets, but they first want to explore using the community hall.
The community hall, Ripley explained, would boost the cadets’ profile in Fort Macleod.
Coun. Michael Dyck said the decision should be left with the board that manages the hall, and suggested the cadets make a presentation at the April 9 annual general meeting.

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