In­spir­ing lead­ers of the next gen­er­a­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

ANZAC Day is an im­por­tant day for the Aus­tralian Army Cadets, giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to show­case their ac­quired lead­er­ship skills while also honour­ing the sol­diers whose lega­cies in­spire them.

In Monto, 15-year-old Cadet Com­pany Sergeant Ma­jor Lani Pick­er­ing will lead the com­bined school ser­vice on April 24 and the Dawn Ser­vice on Anzac Day for the first time.

Hav­ing taken part in ser­vices for the last three years in the Catafalque party, this year she will com­mand the drill pa­rade in full.

“The pre­vi­ous years I had a ri­fle and was us­ing it do­ing the ri­fle drills; it was a bit nerve-rack­ing but quite en­joy­able,” Lani said.

“This year I won’t have a ri­fle, I’ll just be call­ing the com­mands.”

“I am look­ing for­ward to it, but I am a bit ner­vous.”

Lani was in­spired to join the cadets by her older brother, Ryan Pick­er­ing, who is cur­rently un­der­tak­ing general train­ing at Kapooka and led the Monto Anzac pa­rade last year.

“He re­ally en­cour­aged me to come down and have a look and I did and re­ally en­joyed ev­ery as­pect of it,” she said.

At a young age, she has al­ready un­der­taken the high level Cadet Un­der Of­fi­cer and War­rant Of­fi­cer lead­er­ship course, mak­ing her el­i­gi­ble to pro­mote to CUO or War­rant Of­fi­cer when she turns 16 later this year.

Last year at the Cadets’ an­nual camp, she was made com­pany com­man­der and put in charge of 100 cadets, with ages rang­ing from 13 to 19.

Lani said it was in­ter­est­ing be­ing put in a lead­er­ship po­si­tion over peo­ple older than her.

“They gen­er­ally don’t like tak­ing orders from some­one younger than them, but they do re­spect that I have a higher rank than them,” she said.

“For the Anzac ser­vice, it’ll be the ones that come to home train­ing, so we’re used to each other and know how we work.”

Fran Pick­er­ing, mother of Lani and Ryan, is proud of what her chil­dren have ac­com­plished through Cadets.

“Cadets has been such a fan­tas­tic thing for not just my kids but all kids in general be­cause it en­cour­ages them to grow as a per­son,” Mrs Pick­er­ing said.

❝ This year I won’t have a ri­fle, I’ll just be call­ing the com­mands. — Lani Pick­er­ing

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

FOL­LOW­ING FOOT­STEPS: Lani Pick­er­ing, in­spired by her fam­ily, will lead the Cadets in the Monto Anzac ser­vice.

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