Many young people today have a great interest in the American Civil War period. They often have read books on the subject and gleaned information from movies and educational videos. A few feel a sincere calling to learn more about, experience and portray the life of the young soldiers and the other young people who supported the army. Although you need to be 14 to participate as a full soldier, the Missouri State Guard Engineers has made provision for the participation of these younger Cadets serve as couriers, flag bearers, medical staff, orderlies and aid to camp,Engineer helpers, and camp guards (picketts). 12 years or older may participate on the field as needed. As with all members, cadets are expected to obtain their own authentic clothing and equipment and develop an authentic age-appropriate impression of the period. The Cadet Corps is a voluntary activity for members of the M.S.G.E under the age of 15 (both boys and girls). It is designed to give youths safety training, education about Civil War history, and preparation to become full-fledged members of the club when they graduate at age 15. Cadets are in three age groups: Senior Cadets (ages13,14,& 15), Junior Cadets (ages , 9, 10 , 11 & 12), and Pledges (under age 7-). They belong to one of the M.S.G.E units and dress in authentic uniforms (which can be assembled slowly since it is rather expensive), but they cannot use a rifle or other weapon until they graduate from the Cadet Corps on their 16th birthday. During battles, the different age groups have different privileges -- only the Senior Cadets may be in the combat zone, and they have to stay well behind the battle line. All age groups in the Cadet Corps are welcome in organized camp activities at each event. Coming activities include: battlefield safety, drilling in manual of arms with wooden practice rifles, marching, first aid training, map reading, Civil War history, drumming, camp skills (setting up tents, cooking, etc.) outdoor survival skills, how to be a camp aid, how to be a courier, etc. Cadets under the age of 10 need to have a parent or guardian present at all times; parents don't necessarily need to dress in character (they can observe battles from the audience, and hang around in camp), but for liability purposes we can't have minors attending events alone. For cadets over the age of 10 parents may allow there children to attend a event with the engineers as there guardian. The M.S.G,E as well as some other reenacting organizations, is family-oriented group. At any given event there are many families participating, and we try to help everybody learn more about the Civil War period, both military and civilian life. Authenticity is important, but so is family togetherness and enjoyment.
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