The cadet program offers young people a lot and it comes free of charge – cadets and their parents don’t have to pay a dime.
2887 Rocky Mountain Rangers Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps training officer Lieut. Shawn Dulmage says the cadet program is a great opportunity for area youth.
For those who work hard to excel, there are some excellent rewards, including international travel.
2887 Corps Cadet Warrant Officer Sgt. Major Alysha Milward of Clinton is one of those cadets who reaped the rewards for her hard work, as she went on an exchange trip to the Cayman Islands this summer, says Dulmage.
“She has had a lot of success … she was awarded as the top cadet in a course in Vernon last year and received the ANAVET [The Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada] medal for that achievement.”
Milward was one of four top cadets in Canada to be selected for the three-week trip.
She trained at Connaught Cadet Summer Training Centre in Ottawa, Ont., where she received her gear, was told what to expect when she got to Cayman, and underwent physical testing, July 1-6.
“The trip was absolutely awesome,” Milward says.
She adds it was hot and humid in the Cayman Islands – hovering around 38 C day and night – and she adds it was challenging at first, “but you get used to it.”
The 17-year-old notes they slept outside in tents like the Cayman Corps cadets do, and did a lot of combat training – carrying rifles and patrolling in the field.
“It was really different than what Canadians would do … but we [three other Canadian cadets] adapted.”
While the first week was for training, the second week was all about touring, and Milward says it was a lot of fun.
The highlights of the week were getting her scuba licence and seeing all of the tropical fish. She adds touring the island (other two islands uninhabited) and swimming with the sting rays (with barbs removed) were “very cool.”
When she landed back in Vancouver on July 22, Milward says she was freezing and had to wear a sweater for almost a week before she became acclimatized.
The Grade 12 David Stoddart School student says she would definitely recommend the cadet program to other youth.
“It has given me a lot more structure in my life, appreciation, responsibilities and discipline – you have to take care of your uniform – and it definitely gives you a confidence boost.”