The Polaris Battalion Sea Cadets Corps and the Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (ICBYR) have joined forces to hold their first Cars, Cadets & Vets Car Show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 13 at the Cambridge Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center.
“Within our unit is where we came up with the crazy idea,” said Commanding Officer Brent Van Hees. “There’s about eight of us that have collector cars and we hang out together, so about a year and a half ago we said we should do a car show for ourselves and then we decided that we would open it up to more people. We’re open to all cars, and we will have some motorcycles too.
“The whole event will be open class. I know we even have 1997 Jeeps coming. I’ve got a 2016 Challenger that I will be bringing too. We aren’t closing the event because when you do that you lose out on a lot of cars,” he added.
Registration will be $10 per car, with the profits being split between the Polaris Battalion and the ICBYR. There is no cost for spectators to come out to the show.
Dash plaques will be distributed to the first 50 cars that register and there will be awards given to cadets choice, adults choice and the top three best in show.
While the cadets and the adults will both choose their favorites, spectators will also have their chance to weigh in with the best in show awards.
In addition to the car show, the event will also feature food available for purchase as well as almost 300 camouflage uniforms, which the cadets have used over the past few years.
“The Navy has changed uniforms, so we have to upgrade uniforms,” Brent Van Hees said. “We have almost 300 sets of camouflage sets that we have to sell that would be perfect for hunters, paintball people and anyone else looking for a good camouflage outfit.
“We will be using the proceeds to go toward new parkas and uniforms for the group — we do have most of the new uniforms purchased — but it’s the parkas we really need the funds for,” he added.
There will also be a limited number of event T-shirts for sale at $20.
The opportunities for the members of the Polaris Battalion are endless through community support.
“When the community allows us to be involved in things like the parade and other events, it gives the kids the opportunity to be out in the community and raise awareness,” said Dawn Van Hees, the public affairs and recruiter for the group.
“It also gives the cadets the opportunity to feel good about what they can do for the community, like community service projects for local veterans. The visibility for recruiting is also important,” Brent Van Hees added.
To preregister for the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Polaris Battalion
The Polaris Battalion is made up of both younger youth in Training Ship Trident program as well as the Polaris Battalion cadets, which combined have a total of 62 members, along with approximately 20 adult volunteers.
“All of the community involvement allows the kids to learn, at their ages, just how much being in the military changes life at home,” Brent Van Hees said.
The benefits from being a part of the program last a lifetime, according to Dawn Van Hees.
“One of our chiefs just got a scholarship from the Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon to go to college,” said Dawn Van Hees.
“This group of kids we have has found their niche, so the program gives them another opportunity to learn things like leadership qualities that they wouldn’t have anywhere else. The kids that have come through the program and have learned those leadership qualities have really been able to do stuff with their lives,” she added.
From scholarships to lifelong lessons, the youth in the group are benefiting from their involvement in ways Brent and Dawn Van Hees never thought possible over the eight years since the program’s creation.
“We’ve recently began a STEM program and have bought a 3D printer and are actually manufacturing stuff with the printer,” Brent Van Hees said. “Through the program the kids are exposed to a lot of things that they normally wouldn’t be and that’s one of our main focuses.
“To see a cadet go through the program and get to the end then seeing them at the end of their journey is so rewarding,” he added.
The program also provides the youth involved with the opportunity to experience life in the service and boot camp at an early age as they are deciding whether or not that is a path they’d like to pursue in adulthood.
“It’s the experiences here that are helping these kids shape the rest of their lives,” Brent Van Hees said. “Nationally the turnout for cadets is 30 percent that will enlist, which isn’t a requirement to participate.
“The program really is meant to develop skills and give the kids a sampling of what it would be like, so they don’t sign up for something they don’t understand. The kids get a real sampling of what it’s like to be in the military with no strings attached,” he added.
For more information, visit the Polaris Battalion Facebook page, visit www.polaris-trident.com or call Dawn at 763-229-8450.
“If you’re interested in your child gaining leadership skills, learning about the military values or being a good citizen, this is a great place to start,” Dawn Van Hees said. “We also have a great deal of kids who come in and think they want to be in the military but when they’re done with us they realize they don’t want to.”