Contributed by Lieutenant Alison G. Morris, Connaught National Army Cadet Summer Training Centre
This summer, Revelstoke resident Rachel Rienks is experiencing the opportunity of a lifetime in the land down under. Many may know her as a long-time volunteer with the Revelstoke Grizzlies Minor Hockey Team, as a former Miss Revelstoke candidate, a member of the Community Choir, or in various citizenship roles as a Royal Canadian Army Cadet. This year, it was Rachel’s dedication and excellence in the Army Cadet program that contributed to her being one of only 10 Army Cadets selected from across the nation for a two-week exchange to Australia.
During this exchange, Rachel and her fellow Army Cadets have been hosted by Australian cadets, getting a taste of what their program is like, and also have the opportunity to tour and sight-see. Before flying to Australia, these cadets spent a few days in Ottawa touring the national capital and getting to know one another.
Cadets who are selected for exchanges are viewed as some of the top cadets in the country, as they are the individuals who represent both Canada and the Canadian Sea, Army, and Air Cadet programs. Rachel earned her place amongst the top cadets in numerous ways. As a warrant officer with 2458 RCACC Revelstoke, Rachel has been active in all parts of the Army Cadet Program. She has participated in all citizenship activities undertaken by the corps including the Legion Poppy Campaign and Christmas Hamper Campaign for Veterans, the Vimy Ridge Commemorative Ceremony, Remembrance Day, tree planting, and various community clean up initiatives. In addition, Rachel is part of the competitive zone marksmanship team, the rifle drill team, and is filling both the cadet and officer positions at the head of the band program – running the program
In addition to the Army Cadet Exchange selection, Rachel was selected for the past few spring break B.C. Cadet Honour Bands, which draw upon the top cadet musicians in the province to perform together and tour. Last summer, she was one of two cadets in BC selected to attend an advanced band course in Quebec, and is quickly on her way to attaining the highest music level in the cadet program. This year, Rachel worked incredibly hard to prepare for the National Star Certification Exam, which evaluates senior Army Cadets on the core aspects of their program, such as general knowledge, bushcraft, map and compass, instruction, and physical fitness. Clearly, her hard work paid off as she was ranked third in the province and nominated for the Major General Howard Award for the top candidate.
Many people are surprised when they discover everything that is offered in the Cadet Program, and are even more so when they discover the cost – it’s completely free of charge. The opportunities for each cadet are never determined by their financial or any other status, but by how much hard work and dedication they contribute to the program. Rachel is an excellent example of a cadet who has taken full advantage of this fantastic youth program.
For more information on the Canadian Cadet Program, please go to www.cadets.ca, or visit 2458 Revelstoke Royal Canadian Army Cadets at Big Eddy School on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:00 during the school year.