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Inuvik cadets take second

Kira Curtis
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 3, 2011

INUVIK - It was a close battle for first place for a group of seven Inuvik cadets last weekend who competed against four other teams in the Western Arctic Area Skills Competition in Fort Simpson, Jan. 29 to 30.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Inuvik team that competed in the Western Arctic Area Skills Competition in Fort Simpson included, front row, from left, Cadet Raven Firth, Cpl. Halli Bjornson, Cadet Levi Linden and Cadet Jeremy Cockney; back row, from left, Capt. Paul MacDonald, Master Cpl. Don Gruben, Warrant Officer Connor McLeod and Cadet Morgan Sydney. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photos

"We would have gotten first but we were missing in the leadership part, the tent set-up, so we're just wearing silver-plated gold medals," joked Cadet Jeremy Cockney, who competed for his first time in the competition.

Five teams - Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Norman Wells and two from Whitehorse, were challenged in an array of tests from drills to marksmanship and even volleyball.

Master Cpl. Don Gruben had been to the competition before and loved a chance to compete again.

"My best part was meeting people, making new friends, seeing old friends and having fun," Gruben said.

A moment he won't forget was when he used his experience to rally the young troops' morale and motivate some much needed points in a volleyball game.

"The whole team was feeling kinda down because in volleyball we were down about seven points," Gruben said, "But I gave a speech and we just almost got there."

Even after a gruelling weekend of physical and mental challenges, the cadets still rolled out the volleyball net for a lively game Monday night.

Capt. Paul MacDonald, 2749 Inuvik Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps commanding officer, said programs like this are vital for kids in Inuvik.

"I see cadets as extremely important," MacDonald said. "It gives them a chance to learn leadership skills. It's an interesting, fun dynamic program for the youth."

The Inuvik cadet group has grown in the past four years from four members to 27, and MacDonald said he hopes it will still continue to recruit new, interested kids.

The Western Arctic region is just one of three regions in the North challenging their young cadets. The three regions - Western, Central and Eastern Arctic - will compete in preparation for the Regional Skills Competition later this winter.

"It gives them a chance to get out of town. Even something as close as Fort Simpson, you can see how other kids do it in other towns," MacDonald said.

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