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Elk Valley cadets awarded at Annual Ceremonial Review

Cadets were recognized for their hard work and dedication at award ceremony on June 13

Elk Valley cadets were recognized for their achievements at the Annual Ceremonial Review at the Sparwood Recreation Centre on June 13.

Members of 279 Elk Valley Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron and 2757 PPCLI Fernie Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps who demonstrated exceptional effort, hard work and dedication, were presented with plaques, medals, and certificates.

Regional Cadet Support Unit J1 Administration Officer Maj. Dustin Matheson, from Shawnigan Lake, B.C., made a special appearance to help distribute awards.

Many youths enter cadets when they're 12 years old and spend their entire teenage years in the program, learning important life skills like leadership, teamwork, public speaking and inquisitiveness before graduating at the age of 18.

"It's so amazing to see their resilience and determination; their perseverance of sticking things out, especially during the pandemic, and embracing the changes they've seen throughout the program. It's been really rewarding," said 2757 Capt. Sherri Shaw.

"They're very young and eager to learn. There's just a lot of growth from being a follower, to being sure of themselves, having a lot of confidence, and leading the cadets that are coming in to the program," she added.

Youth who join the program are able to participate in a variety of team building exercises. This year, cadets took part in a white water rafting trip, a marksmanship competition, a wilderness survival course, and went rock climbing at Arq Mountain Centre in Cranbrook.

Members of the Air Cadet Squadron have the option of getting their gliders license, which allows them to fly in a glider plane.

Kamryn Rawles got her gliders license a few years ago through a challenging series of requirements that involved taking an online course, passing a graded exam and being interviewed, and then completing training at a seven-week scholarship camp. She is the only cadet to have earned this qualification in recent years.

Rawles, in grade 12, will not be returning to the program next year, so the ceremonial review was kind of like a cadet graduation for her. She still plans to continue flying nevertheless. This summer, she'll be taking her training a step further in order to get her Power Pilot license so she can fly a commercial aircraft like a Cessna.

"I just love being in the air. It's my favourite thing," she said.

" When I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut, and that kind of fell through, but I still really want to be a pilot. I love being up in the air. I love the community that pilots have. Everyone's super supportive," she added.

Awards given to the cadets, are as follows:

279 Elk Valley Royal Canadian Air Cadets

Most Proficient First Year Cadet - Leading Air Cadet (LAC) Finley Carson 

Award is given to a cadet in their first year of the program who demonstrates superior skills and knowledge, embracing the aims of the program and striving to excel in all areas.

Best Junior Cadet - Flight Cpl. Etienne Kennedy 

Award goes to the junior cadet who shows superior skills and knowledge of the air cadet program.

Most Improved Cadet - Sgt. Giles Ewen

Award is given to the cadet who has demonstrated consistent effort at improving, through dress and deportment and over-all performance

Training Officers Award for Outstanding Commitment and Dedication - Sgt. Hudson Rawles 

Award goes to a cadet who demonstrates a commitment to the program and demonstrates consistent effort to improve.

Commanding Officer's Award for Best Dress and Deportment - Warrant Officer Second Class Kamryn Rawles 

Award is earned by demonstrating thorough attention to details of the cadet uniform, appearance, and overall image of the cadet program.

Leadership Award - Warrant Officer First Class Saidee Shaw 

Award given to a cadet who exemplifies strong leadership skills, demonstrating superior understanding, development and implementation of these traits.

Best Senior Cadet - Warrant Officer Second Class Jeff Lee

Award goes to a senior cadet with the best all-around performance, who demonstrates exceptional leadership skills and strives for self improvement, not just for themselves but for the whole squadron.

Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Medal of Excellence - Sgt. Hudson Rawles

Award is earned by a cadet who has shown a high degree of participation and leadership in the area of citizenship both within and outside the program, and in meeting and enhancing the goals and objectives of the program. It is given to someone who participates in community service for themselves and their fellow cadets, and has maintained 89% attendance at program activities.

Lord Strathcona Medal - Warrant Officer Second Class Chad Watt

The Lord Strathcona Medal is one of the highest awards that can be granted to a cadet, given to a member who demonstrates hard work, dedication, service to Canada, excellence in all pursuits, vision, perseverance and intelligence, with a focus on stewardship of the health and vibrancy of the country.

2757 PPCLI Fernie Army Cadets 

Most Proficient Junior Cadet - Lance Cpl. Ike Cline-Smith

Award is earned by a junior cadet who has a strong understanding of the army cadet program and demonstrates superior skills and knowledge.

Most Improved - Warrant Officer Madison Blair

Award goes to a cadet who has demonstrated consistent effort at improving their performance, through dress and deportment and over-all performance.

Training Officer's Award for Outstanding Commitment and Dedication - Cpl. Jaiden Lalonde

Award is given to a cadet who demonstrates a commitment and consistent effort to learn and improve in the program, including independently seeking opportunities for improvement.

Most Proficient Senior Cadet - Warrant Officer Olivia Boston

Award is earned by a senior cadet with exceptional all-around performance, who demonstrates superior leadership skills and strives for self-improvement and development of their corps.

About the Author: Gillian Francis

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