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Challenging new frontiers
Cadets spend summer developing a multitude of skills

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 5, 2013

Learning to play the bagpipes, climbing on glaciers and ziplining were among the new experiences members of the 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps had this summer.

NNSL photo/graphic

Cadet Master Cpls. Rebekah Isaiah, left, and Jordanna Snider of the 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps of Fort Simpson paddle a canoe during the basic expedition training course at the Whitehorse Summer Cadet Training Centre in July. - photo courtesy of the Regional Cadet Support Unit (North West)

Nineteen members of the corps in Fort Simpson attended summer training programs offered through the cadet program. The summer programs give the cadets the opportunity to continue the training they do during the school year, and to apply that training in new ways and in new environments, said Capt. Steve Nicoll, the corps' commanding officer.

At the Rocky Mountain Summer Cadet Training Centre outside of Cochrane, Alta., Cadet Master Cpl. William Alger spent three weeks learning how to play a practice chanter, the first step in learning how to play the bagpipes. Being able to play the bagpipes has been one of Alger's goals for a number of years.

"I thought it's an interesting instrument," he said.

Being at the training centre was like going to school, except the only subject was bagpipes, said Alger. There were classes every day and tests every week.

Alger, 15, can now play arpeggios and strikes and is working on the song Mary's Wedding. He practises every day and hopes to return next year and learn more about the instrument.

"I had an excellent time at the camp and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go," he said.

Cadet Sgt. Robert Harold, 16, had a more adventurous summer experience.

Harold spent six weeks at the Rocky Mountain centre participating in the leadership and challenge course. The cadets focused on a different activity each week including mountain biking, white water kayaking and canoeing, alpine trekking, horseback riding and first aid, rock climbing, and glacier climbing.

"We got to do a lot of cool things," he said.

Before the start of each new activity, the instructors would teach the cadets all the skills they needed as well as new leadership styles, said Harold. Participants were also given an introduction to risk management, route planning and problem solving.

The course was all about developing leadership skills and challenging those skills in new environments, he said. The glacier week was one of Harold's favourites.

The cadets hiked seven hours to the base of a glacier where they set up a base camp, Every day they climbed to the summit of a different mountain surrounding the glacier.

"It was a fun experience," he said.

Master Cpls. Rebekah Isaiah and Randall Hardisty were among five cadets from Fort Simpson who went to the Whitehorse Summer Cadet Training Centre for the three-week basic expedition course. Activities during the course included abseiling, ziplining and rock wall climbing. The cadets also completed a three-day and a five-day field training exercise.

Isaiah, 14, said she found the five-day exercise, which included covering more than 100 kilometres by canoe, foot and bike, challenging. The water was rough during the canoeing portion and it rained for the last three days, she said.

"I was happy to get back to camp," said Isaiah.

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