Every year cadets from the 2963 Seaforth Highlanders Army Cadet Corps in Sechelt travel to various summer camps, each one specializing in its own skill set.
Cadet Summer Training Centre Connaught is located 30 minutes away from Parliament Hill in Ottawa and specializes in the marksmanship program. Cadets attend six- and seven-week courses in order to learn new skills and compete for a chance to be part of the national rifle team, which will travel to Bisley, England.
Each year 2963 sends its top marksmen to Connaught to compete for the coveted spot on the team, and this year they sent MWO Shala Fitzgerald and Sgt. Alex Walton. While they did not make the team, they did learn valuable lessons that will help them next year when they return.
North of British Columbia, MCpl. Sebastian Dusenbury was spending three weeks in Whitehorse at the training centre learning adventure and outdoor skills.
The aim of this three-week course is to develop a specialist with the skills and subject matter knowledge required to be a participant during a five-day expedition with a focus on mountain biking, hiking and canoeing. This course includes bike and canoe training, navigation, abseil, swimming, team sports, a three-day field exercise and a five-day expedition from Tagish to Boyle Barracks.
A little closer to home, cadets journeyed to what is probably the most well-known summer training facility, Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Centre (VACSTC). Most of the cadets who attended VACSTC this year went for the two-week basic course that introduces cadets to “camp life.”
They learn what it’s like to live in barracks with 30 other people and how to follow camp routine. They also learn what it is like to interact with numerous people from various parts of the country and get an idea of what life is like away from their home towns.
It is always a challenge to live in close quarters for a long time and still be able to get along with others, while at the same time dealing with your own fears and anxieties of being away from home, for many cadets for the first time.
Cadets are recognized at the end of each training intake for how they have dealt with camp routine, which includes personal maintenance, comradeship, self-discipline, leadership among peers and having a generally positive attitude throughout their intake. This year MCpl. Nathaniel Marshall was recognized as Best Cadet Overall, Charlie Training Group, Intake #1.
Summer training is a large part of the cadet program, but it takes the training throughout the rest of the year to prepare cadets for it. Cadets are also not limited to training in camps in Canada, as the program sends cadets to international camps in places such as Scotland and Australia.
The program is free of charge, and the only requirements for being considered for these camps is dedication and hard work throughout the regular training year.
Training for the 2013/14 year begins with registration at the Sechelt Legion (hall side) on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m., although cadets can join at any time throughout the training year.
More information about 2963 Seaforth Highlanders Cadet Corps can be found on their Facebook page: /2963seaforthhighlanders, or by calling Lt. Shiloh Gregorchuk at 604-886-1581.