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Cadets mark graduation with parade at Vernon camp

Wildfire smoke forced organizers to move the cadet parade indoors
Awards were given out to some of the top performing cadets Friday. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Wildfire smoke may have led to a last-minute change of plans, but the cadet parade to mark the end of weeks of training at the Vernon Cadet Training Centre was a resounding success.

Military personnel joined friends and family of the roughly 300 cadets who honed their skills over three weeks at the training centre. The parade was planned to take place on Dieppe Square next to Highway 97, but due to smoky conditions, the decision was made to move the parade inside the large G20 building.

Supt. Jackie Smith said a few words of encouragement before awards were handed out to the top performing cadets in drill and ceremonial, sports and fitness, marksmanship and military band.

Lt. Marie Parkin, who was part of the physical education and recreational instructor team, said the number of cadets participating this year was about one third of what they would normally have, due to the lingering effects of the pandemic.

“This year we only have the instructor courses,” she said, explaining the cadets were learning skills to be able to pass on to other younger cadets at their home corps.

Parkin was a cadet herself before becoming an adult staff member at the camp and being commissioned as an officer in 2017. She says the training has stayed the same over the years, for the most part, and it’s been enjoyable seeing the next generation of cadets learn valuable skills.

“I think my favourite part is getting them out of their home environment and into a more unified team environment,” she said. “My favourite part as well is to train and mentor leaders, so help them problem solve, help them support their troops.”

Course cadet Seoul Tilokani said this was his first year at the Vernon Cadet Training Centre. He was in the drill and ceremonial course.

“It was lots of fun, I got to learn lots of new skills, especially with drill, so it was a lot of flags, a lot of rifle and it was a lot of new information that I got to learn and have fun with,” he said.

Tilokani is from a small squadron in Melita, Man., where he isn’t able to do much drill training. He said he’s looking forward to taking the skills he learned home with him.

The cadets were aged 12 to 18 and came from all over the country.

READ MORE: Vernon Army Camp rolls out cadet welcome mat

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Brendan Shykora
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Roughly 300 cadets took park in the camp this year, down from previous years due to lingering effects of COVID. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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