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Cadets celebrate a successful year
Corps reaches highest number of participants

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 31, 2012

The 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps has celebrated the conclusion of a very successful year.

NNSL photo/graphic

Capt. Steve Nicoll, left, presents Cadet Sgt. Ernest Tsetso with the award for drill, dress and deportment during the 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps' annual ceremonial review in Fort Simpson on May 26. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

On May 26, the corps held its annual ceremonial review. Twenty-three cadets paraded in front of family and community members and a number of the cadets received awards.

"It's been a very good year," said Capt. Steve Nicoll, addressing the gathered crowd.

During the year, the corps reached its highest participation level to date. At its peak the corps had 37 members. The previous high was approximately 30 cadets, Nicoll said.

This year the corps sent members to both the regional biathlon and marksmanship competitions in Whitehorse.

Cadet Master Cpl. Michael Gast advanced to the national cadet biathlon championship while his sister Warrant Officer Jennifer Gast went to the national cadet marksmanship championship.

Closer to home, the corps held three field training exercises, one in September, March and May. Additionally, through the efforts of the staff, most of the cadets were able to visit their corps' affiliated regiment, the Lord Strathcona's Horse in Edmonton.

"It will be hard to top it next year," said Nicoll, referring to this year's success.

The corps' annual awards were presented during the ceremonial review. Warrant Officer Jennifer Gast won the marksmanship award while Sgt. Ernest Tsetso took the award for drill, dress and deportment. The Warrant Officer Eric Green Non-commissioned Officer Award for the cadet who best displays leadership and organizational abilities went to Warrant Officer Tyler Pilling.

For the second year in a row, Master Cpl. Robert Harold received the Al Anderson Memorial Award for the top cadet in attendance, dress, deportment and leadership. Harold is a good leader because of his calm demeanor and ability to teach with great patience, said Nicoll. Harold also volunteers a lot of personal time to prepare and plan for events.

Acting Master Cpl. Quinlan Kidd won two awards, the Recruit of the Year Award, for a first-year cadet who has shown leadership, skill and a good attitude, and the Esprit de Corps Award for a cadet who displays energy and enthusiasm in every task.

Kidd, 16, said he decided to join the corps to see what it was like. He now can't speak highly enough about it.

"It's amazing," he said.

Kidd said he got to meet lots of interesting cadets from other corps while at the regional marksmanship competition. He also enjoyed being outside and camping during the field training exercises. During the March exercise, Kidd built a snow shelter to sleep in that was still standing earlier this month.

"It was very nice. It was very warm," he said.

Kidd said he plans to continue in the cadet program and hopes to travel and try out for biathlon. He's already recruited one other student to join the corps.

In Fort Simpson, the cadet program can almost become a way of life for participants who make that choice. In addition to the Tuesday night meetings, the six volunteer staff run activities almost every day of the week including before and after school fitness on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, before-school archery on Mondays and Fridays, after-school judo on Mondays and Friday sports nights.

Nicoll, who's been with the corps for five years, said he noticed that youths in the village were lacking structure in their lives that would facilitate success. Cadets provides that structure through a variety of ways including the progression of skills and leadership, the visual recognition of leadership and physical and mental challenges that participants have to complete to progress.

"If that structure is useful why not run it all the time," he said.

Nicoll, who's also a teacher at Thomas Simpson School, said he can see on a daily basis the growth of students who are also cadets. The program benefits the cadets, the school and the community, he said.

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