Caitlin Lueks has enjoyed being a cadet with 2277 Seaforth Highlanders Cadet Corps.

Caitlin Lueks has enjoyed being a cadet with 2277 Seaforth Highlanders Cadet Corps.

Cadets given many opportunities for leadership

The leadership skills, teamwork, communication and a lot of other things we learn would be an asset for any future career.

by Cpl. Caitlin Lueks

2277 Cadet Corps

Last March, my parents saw a notice in The Times about the 2277 Seaforth Highlanders Cadet Corps and showed it to me. I had always wanted to be part of a cadet corps, but hadn’t heard about the Scottish regiment.  I went to a meeting to find out more, and joined right away.

Did you know that there is no cost to join this Army Cadets Corps? We get free uniforms and training in things like leadership, first aid, marksmanship, sports, and we do all kinds of interesting activities. One of my favourite parts is probably drill. I really like the marching and all the ceremonial elements like our uniforms.

There are more boys than girls in the 2277 Seaforths right now, but it doesn’t bother me because the other kids in the corps are friendly and everybody respects each other. There’s no judgment in there or anything and some of the top cadets have been girls.

We have a really cool event before Christmas called the Ortona dinner, which recreates an actual event during the Second World War when officers from the Seaforth Regiment scrounged supplies to serve their soldiers Christmas dinner during the fighting. I had actually never heard about the Battle of Ortona before and it was a pretty interesting way to learn about it, eating the same meal and listening to anecdotes and bits of history.

In between the speeches we enjoyed the food and told funny jokes. It was a great night.

We have lessons on parade nights. When you start cadets you are a cadet in the green star group and work your way up. Now that I’m in my second year, I’m in the red star group and I was promoted from Lance Corporal to the rank of Corporal in November. We learn about things like what you should take camping, survival training, Canadian war history and world war history.

If a teen you know is interested in ever getting a job with the government, military or a police force, cadets would be really good for you. The leadership skills, teamwork, communication and a lot of other things we learn would be an asset for any future career.

Cadets doesn’t cost you anything because we get funding from the government and each corps has a sponsoring committee to help with fundraising. As cadets, we participate in tagging days to collect donations for our corps, which means that we’re helping to earn all the great activities we get to do.

I really like the field training exercises — we call them FTXs — because they are pretty cool camping weekends. In addition to survival training and hikes, we got to do night ops (operations, or special missions with one team against another.) To be honest, some people get a little scared walking around in the dark  looking for something, but it’s so much fun. It’s like a scavenger hunt or living a video game.

We went to Extreme Air in Langley in December, which was great, and in February we’re going to go tobogganing and snowshoeing.

I’m in pipe and drum band and I’m learning to play the bagpipe chanter, which you learn before you start on the full bagpipes. I’m interested in trying marksmanship, fitness night and I hope to go to summer camp in Vernon.

There is no cost for camp and we get paid for each week we’re there.

Some people think if you join army cadets you have to go into the military, which isn’t true. A lot of people never enlist. I really like learning about human sciences and I think I’d really like to be a field medic, because I like the military.

I’ve found joining cadets really exciting and I’m so glad I took the chance and went to a meeting last spring. If you have ever thought about joining cadets — or even if you haven’t — drop by our open house and check out what we do.

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The 2277 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps is holding an open house on Saturday, Jan. 17. It will be held at Blacklock Fine Arts School, 5100 206 Street, Langley City, from  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It is for youth ages 12 to 18. They learn the attributes of leadership, experience engaged and active citizenship, and improve their physical fitness and communication skills, all within a safe and structured environment, for free. In addition to learning about the rich history and traditions of our Scottish regiment, opportunities for cadets include:

• Earning high school credits for Grades 10, 11, and 12

• Sports

• Marksmanship

• Pipe & Drum Band

• Field Training Exercises

• First Aid training

• Special events

• Fun activities

• Summer camps

• National and International Exchange opportunities

• Summer camps

• Scholarships

People who are interested in finding out more can call 778-867-2225, or visit the website at http://www.2277rcacc.com.

If someone who is interested cannot attend the open house, they are invited to drop by one of the regular Tuesday night meetings at Blacklock Fine Arts School in the gym.  The meetings run from 6:20 to 9 p.m.