A six week army cadet expedition instructor course held at the Vernon Cadet Summer Training Centre was attended by Burns Lake resident and army cadet, Nicholas Thompson this summer.
The six week course held in Vernon teaches cadets a number of skills, including first aid training, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing and navigation skills.
Thompson, a member of the 3080 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, left for the camp in Vernon on July 5 and returned to Burns Lake on the evening of Aug. 16.
A major part of the six week training camp is an 18 day expedition that the cadets go on.
The expedition takes them by canoe, mountain bike and on foot from Sicamous, B.C. to Cathedral provincial park, which is located in Keremeos, B.C., near the Canada and United States border.
This year the army cadets paddled in canoes the Shuswap River and Mara Lake, they hiked through the Larch Hills and mountain biked their way through the Kettle Valley Railway before ending the expedition by hiking the mountains of Cathedral provincial park.
Thompson says that the training camp was tougher than an average summer training camp for cadets, noting that dealing with the varying weather was one of the most challenging aspects of the camp and expedition.
“It was really hot in Vernon. Then in some places that we went on the 18 day outdoor camp and expedition it was wet and cold in some spots and it even snowed in some of the spots we were at,” Thompson said, “It was a little treacherous, frightening and scary at certain points, but it was an experience. The 18 day expedition was challenging because of the weather, that it was just cold most of the time.”
Thompson enrolled in the army cadets when he was a little older than 12-years-old and has been with the cadets for three years now.
He originally joined the cadets because he was curious about what they did, and that curiosity was influenced and encouraged by other members of the cadets.
It is something that Thompson has grown attached to.
The cadet program is a national program for young Canadians aged 12-19 who are interested in fun, challenging and rewarding activities.
Along with the activities that the cadets are able to enjoy, they learn about the army, naval and air force divisions of the Canadian Armed Forces, while learning about teamwork, leadership and citizenship.
Thompson has given a little thought about his future with the cadets, but insists that right now he is focused on graduating high school.
“I would possibility consider continuing on with the army cadets in the future. I wasn’t planning on, and I’m still not planning on going to far with the cadets. I’ll probably stay a non commissioned officer and graduate high school,” Thompson said.
Thompson says he would recommend the cadets to other community members because of his experiences.
“I enjoy the army cadets because of the experiences that you are put through and situations you get to put yourself in,” Thompson said, “Things like going to Vernon for more advanced training and I even got to head over to Europe to do a tour with the army.”
Anyone interested in joining the Burns Lake squadron of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets can call Debbe at 250-692-7655 or Rita at 250-694-3684. Cadets meet every Wednesday at the Rod & Gun club between 6 – 8 p.m.