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GALLERY: Sea cadets build confidence at skills training weekend

‘The program’s done a lot for me’: Seamanship Skills Weekend has brought 162 sea cadets from across northern Ontario to the Sault’s Armoury for two days of training exercises and instruction

Sea cadets from across northern Ontario have come together at the Armoury for this year’s Seamanship Skills Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie.

The regional event marks the program’s largest gathering in years as 162 cadets are participating in an action-packed two days of training exercises and instructional courses.

Several cadet corps travelled from around the north to attend the weekend festivities, including ones from Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay, Elliot Lake, Thunder Bay, Little Current, Red Lake, Nipigon, and Terrace Bay.

Sault-based Lieutenant Robert Pihlaja is overseeing the skills weekend and explained there are numerous benefits for everyone involved.

“Some of these places have five or eight cadets, while other corps have 25 or 30 cadets,” he said. “When they get larger opportunities like this, this is around the same size as the cadet training centres they can go to in the summer. It gives them a chance to develop their leadership and expand on training opportunities.”

A variety of stations are set up around the Armoury to provide cadets with demonstrations and instruction on real-life practices in a naval setting, including rope coiling, radio operation, swimming, line heaving, knot-tying, and flag communication.

North Bay cadet correspondent Joshua Carson took SooToday on a tour of each station on Saturday.

Involved with the sea cadets since he was 12, the now 17-year-old is amazed by how much the program has contributed to his development both inside and outside the corps.

“I gained a lot more confidence through cadets,” Carson said. “You just get more comfortable in your own skin. The program’s done a lot for me. It’s a welcoming environment and something I look forward to going to every week.”

The Royal Canadian Sea Cadets is a national youth program sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces and the civilian Navy League of Canada.

Administered by the Canadian Forces and funded through the Department of National Defence, the free program is tailored to youth between the ages of 12 and 18.

Sea cadets in Sault Ste. Marie train on Thursday nights from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Local training includes a music program, sailing, and marksmanship, among other areas.

Parents interested in signing their child up can call the office of the Sea Cadets Corps, 46 Royal Sovereign at 705-253-1561. Their email is [email protected].

“The cadet program is about leadership and instilling a sense of self-confidence,” Lt. Pihlaja said. “Weekends like this where there’s mandatory training with a fun twist is great.”

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Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
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