Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Arctic Bay Cadets Inspire Me

Tonight I went to the army cadet corps' final parade of the year. Final inspection was moved up a week because a number of students were involved with the dog team races and other goings-on down in Iglulik. At any rate, the hard work and dedication of these young men and women has really paid off this past year.

Recently the cadets were in Yellowknife competing in the Northern Region Marksmanship Competition. There were cadets corps from across Nunavut, the NWT and Yukon. Our team of 5 cadets finished first in Nunavut, beating competing teams from larger communities such as Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet. Out of the entire northern region, including large centres like Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Hay River,the Arctic Bay cadets finished 3rd out of a field of 15. One of the senior cadets placed 5th overall in the competition and will soon head down to Regina SK, to compete in a national competition. Another junior cadet finished 3rd overall.

So needless to say I have felt very pleased to be involved with the cadet program this year. It just goes to show the character of these kids. As the commanding officer had said, these young people choose to use their free time to get involved with parade nights, physical fitness training, shooting and a lot of boot polishing rather than engaging in destructive behaviours. It has been amazing to see how they have matured and changed over the past school year.

One particular cadet stands out in my mind. When he first came out to in-door soccer practices, he was so timid he would barely touch the ball, kicking it away like it was a hot potato. When it came to cadet drill, I never thought I'd live to see the day when he would stop bear-marching. Fast forward a few months and this same kid is on my 14-and-under soccer team and can run and block shots from much older students. He is a leader rather than a follower. He knows how to read a play, anticipates an opponent's moves and knows where he needs to be on the court. The best part for me is that with his young age he will remain eligible to play at the big regional tournament for another 3-4 years.

Even though Arctic Bay is one of the smallest communities in the northern region with a cadet corps, we can boast 4 cadets with their National Star, which in terms of cadet training is the highest level attainable. This is more cadets than any other corps and indeed more than all the other corps in the region put together. Two cadets tonight were given their badges for Master Cadet, meaning they can instruct other cadets at summer camps and participate in international cadet exchanges.

To the cadets of #3045 Corps Arctic Bay - you guys are truly awesome. Yes, we may be a small town here but its not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog. It was a great year and I can't wait until the next! Quyannamiik!