Army Cadet League of Canada (Nova Scotia)
Published in the Truro Daily News Tuesday the 23rd September 2008
A LIFE-CHANGING MOVE
Joining the Army Cadet Corps has opened up the world for a lot of people
by SHERRY MARTELL
Michael Castein left, Chelsay Phillips, Wendy Castein and Kaitlyn Castein, members of the 2928 Truro Army Cadets hosted a recruiting event at Truro Junior High School on Monday.
Wendy Castein never dreamed she would be entering biathlons and marksmanship competitions until three years ago. The 14-year-old said since then the Army Cadet Corps in Truro has encouraged her to set her sights on those confidence-building activities, while overcoming the challenge of a physical disability. “A lot of people say ‘I can’t do this,’ but we all get along and we encourage each other and that is why we can do it,” said Castein. “They won’t judge you if you have a disability, they will help you in whatever way they can.”
Four years ago, Vernon Arndt joined the Cadet program and the 17-year-old said it changed his life. At least three days a week he is dedicated to cadet activities including skill development in a number of sport programs, volunteering with legion members, visiting hospitals and seniors’ homes, fundraising and carolling during the holiday season. This summer the teenager spent several weeks overseas on international cadet exchanges in Germany and France, the cost of which was completely covered by the cadet organization.
“When you put hard work and effort in to what you do you are rewarded,” said Arndt.
“If not for the cadets, I would not have gone to Germany, I would not have gone to France, and I would not be the same person I am today.”
The cadets hosted a recruitment drive at Truro Junior High School Monday encouraging others to get involved with the organization.
Keri Winkelaar, commandeering officer of the corps, said anyone ages 12 to 18 is welcome to take advantage of the many opportunities and benefits offered by the group. “We offer a broad range of programs, so hopefully they can find a niche somewhere with everything we have to offer,” said Winkelaar. She describes the group as a large family with an emphasis placed on team work, leadership, self-discipline and citizenship while offering opportunities to learn skills in orienteering, biathlon, marksmanship, pipe and drums, and drills. At age 16 cadets can apply to participate as instructors at summer training camps or go on international exchange programs. Winkelaar said the cadet program is unique because it is offered free to all participants including the trips, activities and uniforms.