Public interest in the military training of young Canadians has waxed in time of wars and threat of wars, and waned in peacetime. For more than a century the preparation of young men (and recently, of women) for careers as professional soldiers has been done within the ARMED FORCES, mainly at MILITARY COLLEGES. Less extensive and less specialized training aimed at youth of high-school age has been provided mainly through the Canadian cadet organizations.
Under the National Defence Act, the Department of National Defence is in partnership with the NAVY LEAGUE OF CANADA, the Army Cadet League, and the Air Cadet League in operating and supporting a movement for youth (both male and female) between 12 and 19. In 1987 there were 59 700 cadets, located in 1084 corps across Canada. Training is conducted at corps headquarters during the school year and at more than 30 DND-supported summer camps. About 22 600 cadets participate in cadet training each summer and 200 take part each year in exchange programs with Britain, the US, and various other European countries.