Army Cadet League of Canada (Alberta)

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My Cadet Experience

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by 2017 Walsh Sword Recipient
CWO Clarissa Stoffelsen
2850 LER Grande Prairie

c stoffelsen-01-350x495I am Cadet Chief Warrant Officer Stoffelsen from 2850 Loyal Edmonton Regiment, Grande Prairie, Alberta. Trying to sum up your experience in the cadet program into one article is like trying to run a marathon you haven’t trained for. But here we go.

When I was eleven, I attended a recruiting presentation with my parents and older brother at the 2659 56th Field Regiment Artillery corps in Brantford, Ontario. We had gone in the interest of my brother, but after the presentation was over, I begged my parents to let me join cadets. I joined the following year, and after two months at 2659, I transferred to 2850, where I have continued my training.

After completing my first year in cadets, I spent most of my summer away taking General Training for two weeks at Vernon Cadet Training Center, and during the other summer weeks, volunteering at a local summer camp. In the fall, I came back to cadets for year two, where I would join the biathlon team, and act as the commander or second in command of our small drill team. That summer, I went back to Vernon to complete my Basic Expedition course, where I would receive the award for Most Outstanding Cadet in my platoon, and spent the other weeks of my summer once again volunteering at the local camp.

Returning for my third year of cadets, I kept up my spot in the biathlon team and held a spot on the marksmanship team, earning my first trip to a provincial competition. In the spring of that year, I attended my silver star expedition, and was recognized as the top cadet on my team. A couple of months later, I departed for Vernon once again, to complete the Expedition Instructor course. At the end of my course, I was awarded the Army Navy Airforce Veteran’s Medal of Merit. Upon returning to my unit that fall, I was proud to obtain the position of flag party commander.

Later that fall, I attended my gold star expedition, and completed all my Performance Objectives in good standing. I again held spots on the biathlon and marksmanship teams, earning first place in the female category of the biathlon competition. In April of that year, I attended the 99th anniversary of Vimy Ridge Memorial Parade in Edmonton, and was honoured to hold the position of flag party commander in front of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. At my Annual Cadet Review that spring, I was awarded Most Improved Biathlete, the Shawn Hurley Proficiency Award for active community citizenship, and the Cadet Legion Medal of Excellence.

That summer, I furthered my training in the expedition program by attending the Cadet Leadership and Challenge Course at Rocky Mountain Cadet Training Center. After returning home for two days, I departed for Whitehorse, Yukon to partake in the Yukon Paddle Regional Expedition. Returning to my corps a few days later, I attained the position of Company Sergeant Major.

In the fall, I once again held a spot on the biathlon team, while acting as the cadet coach. In February, I went to the provincial biathlon competition before representing Alberta in the 2017 Army Cadet International Expedition, where I travelled to Chile with seventeen other cadets from across Canada. We spent two and a half weeks in Chile, hiking 80 kilometers through Las Torres National Park, and kayaking through Bernardo O’Higgins park.

Upon returning, I achieved the position of Regimental Sergeant Major. I was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer on the morning of April ninth, directly before bussing to Edmonton to take part in the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge Memorial parade, where I was the cadet Parade Commander. Currently, I am working in my corps to start the Optimus program, a program focusing on physical fitness, Canadian Forces familiarization, and survival training. This summer I look forward to completing the Maple Leaf Exchange course in Europe.

Outside of cadets, I am in my twelfth year of music studies, preparing for my grade eight piano exam through the Royal Conservatory of Music. In past years, I have placed in the top three at music competitions and last year I received the Grande Prairie Music Festival Award.

Outside of the physical training in cadets, I keep up a personal level of fitness through running and weight training. I am currently training for the Daily Herald Tribune Press Run that raises funds for local non-profit organizations.

Over the past five years, I have been overwhelmed at the amount of opportunity offered by the cadet program, in all three elements. I personally have pursued the expedition portion of the program, and have gained so many experiences that I would have never thought to try on my own, and I have gained friendships to last a lifetime. I plan on taking part in several more expeditions on my own, and with people I have met in the program.

In the future, I plan to attend university to be a doctor, and join the Cadet Instructor Cadre to help provide the next generation of youth with the same opportunities that were presented to me.