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Cadets celebrate corps' three-decade milestone
2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps highlights 30th anniversary at annual Christmas dinner

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Thursday, December 15, 2016

For many members of the 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in Fort Simpson, the corps is a transitional period that lasts a few years.

NNSL photo/graphic

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, the corps' annual Christmas mess dinner included the cutting of a cake. Cadet Warrant Officer Delainea Anderson, left, stands with Cadet Warrant Officer Akhildas Damodharan, Cadet Ava Erasmus, Capt. Steve Nicoll and Officer Cadet Jim Broomfield. - April Hudson/NNSL photo

Students can enter the corps in Grade 7 and, if they choose, stay with it until they graduate, passing through a variety of ranks as they advance.

But although students only spend a few short years in the cadet program, what they learn under the tutelage of Capt. Steve Nicoll, Officer Cadet Jim Broomfield and civilian instructors can last a lifetime.

In May, the corps was named the top Army Cadet Corps across all three of Canada's territories for the third consecutive year. Fittingly, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the corps in Fort Simpson.

Civilian Instructor Michael Athey has been with the corps for nearly four years. As cadets and instructors gathered on Dec. 12 to celebrate their annual Christmas mess dinner, Athey said the value of the corps to the community is vital.

"I think the cadet corps is the single best program to help youth in this community achieve success," Athey said.

"If you look at the youth who are part of the corps, they are disciplined, listen in class and are accountable for their actions."

Twenty-six cadets attended the dinner. Although lower than the usual turnout, the group still included cadets from many different levels of the corps.

One of the major benefits of the program, Athey says, is that it gives youth opportunities they may not otherwise have - opportunities to travel, to hone skills and to create a community among themselves.

Capt. Steve Nicoll agrees. After 10 years with the cadet corps in Fort Simpson, Nicoll says he still feels lucky to be a part of it.

"When I look around our school, 90 per cent of those kids pass through this program," Nicoll said.

"When I see the level of community participation we have, I realize how connected the corps is to the community. We set the tone, in a way, for older youth to take care of younger youth."

"Seeing how the corps works together is a very good thing," Nicoll said, passing off credit for the program's success to his predecessors.

Now, as Nicoll prepares to retire from the cadets in a year's time, the question he is asking is who will take on his responsibilities.

"We'll see what happens," he said.

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