Class of the corps
Kelsey Barrett name province’s top army cadet
The forest green fabric of Kelsey Barrett’s cadet uniform is barely visible underneath her collection of badges and medals. When she speaks, her casual hand gestures unknowingly conduct the clinking of military decorations.
The extra hardware doesn’t seem to bother the Spaniard’s Bay teen. Each decoration represents hours of hard work and dedication.
Since joining the cadets when she was 12, Barrett has excelled in almost every aspect of the program.
The Chief Warrant Officer in the 2372 Avalon North Army Cadet Corps has won major awards for first-aid, shooting and outdoor survival. She participated in summer training camps in New Brunswick, and gone on winter expeditions in Labrador.
She has travelled to Germany and Nepal on cadet exchanges. Her experiences range from competing in the national cadet biathlon championships in Quebec to climbing to base camp at Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
On May 31, Barrett received her most prestigious award yet — the Outstanding Cadet Award. This trophy is presented annually to the top army cadet in Newfoundland and Labrador by the League of Canada.
An impressive legacy
Kelsey is not the first Barrett woman to achieve great things with the corps.
When asked what motivated her to reach such high achievements within the cadets, she laughs.
“I just wanted to beat my sister,” she admits. “She won a lot of awards when she did cadets, so I knew I could do it too.”
Wendy Barrett, who is six years older than Kelsey, left behind an impressive legacy for her sister to challenge. During her time with the cadets, Wendy also excelled in firstaid and biathlon, and went on exchange to Costa Rica and the Rocky Mountains.
Wendy is now an officer, serving working alongside Marilyn Barrett, Kelsey and Wendy’s mother, who has been an officer with the corps for 10 years.
The Barrett family has devoted an entire wall in their living room to displaying their cadet awards. Surrounded by so many of her sister’s accolades, it is no surprise that sibling rivalry propelled Kelsey to such high achievements.
“My sister never got Outstanding Cadet, so that feels good,” Kelsey says. “But she got the first-aid award three years in a row, and I really wanted to beat that, but I only got it two years in a row.”
When asked about her sister’s outstanding cadet award, Wendy admits that she is both proud and a little annoyed.
“But mostly proud,” she says.
Passing it on
Despite her many achievements in cadets, Kelsey says she has no interest in joining the Canadian Forces. Instead, she plans on attending the Carbonear campus of the College of the North Atlantic in the fall. She also has plans to become an civilian officer with the cadets after she finishes the program next year.
“I definitely want to help other people,” she says. “If I can do all this, anyone can.”
Kelsey says every one of her awards were a result of hard work.
“It’s not about talent, you’ve just got to be serious, that’s all.”