THE mayor of Griffith and the Federal Member for Riverina have thrown their full support behind a proposal by a RAAF Flight Lieutenant to establish an Airforce Cadet Squadron in Griffith.
The proposal by Flight Lieutenant Michael Borg was discussed with key community stakeholders on Wednesday.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi and Federal Member Michael McCormack have pledged their support for the program that aims to foster local youth's leadership skills, self-discipline and self-esteem as well as teamwork and community spirit.
Flight Lieutenant Borg said the Airforce Cadet program, successfully run for many years nationwide, would not only give young residents of the region "something to do", but it would also help participating youth develop strong characters and "become good citizens".
"The program, which is funded by the federal government, aims to equip young people for community life, and it also instills an interest for aviation," Mr Borg said.
"Cadets learn values such as honour, honesty, courage, loyalty and integrity and it is an opportunity to learn life skills outside of the school environment."
Mr Borg said he would like to see the program kick off in February next year and the aim is for it to be held once a week on Friday afternoons for up to 20 participating youth aged from 12 to 20.
"But until then it's a long way to go," Mr Borg said.
"First of all we need to find a suited area that offers a drill hall, lecture rooms, outside space for adventure activities and a store room."
The Flight Lieutenant said a location on Scenic Hill and a building at the Aeroclub would be taken into consideration.
"If the community is interested in the kind of program we're proposing, we will take it up the chain to Canberra," he said.
"Griffith could become the hub for teenagers from across the region and we could fill a gap and give kids from a non-sporting background something to do."
Mr McCormack said the program would give local youth another option to enhance their life skills, and he pledged to pay the contribution costs of about $30 per person per term for the first 20 kids to join the program.
Councillor Dal Broi said Griffith City Council would take over the costs for the first 20 cadets for the second term.
Are you interested in the program? Send a letter of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.