A cadet’s legacy

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

They say once you’re a cadet, you’re al­ways a cadet.

The lessons and skills the pro­gram teaches young peo­ple never truly go away. They might go dor­mant, wait­ing for the time when they’re needed, but they never re­ally leave you.

“It’s like riding a bike,” Gla­dys Smith told The Com­pass last week. “It’s like mus­cle mem­ory you never for­get. Ei­ther you’re a cadet or you’re not.”

Smith plays a cou­ple of roles with the Whit­bourne 2584 Army Cadet Corp. She’s a cit­i­zen in­struc­tor with the group and works with cadets on things like band and parade drills.

As of the corps 2016 an­nual cer­e­mo­nial re­view, she is a mem­ber of the Whit­bourne cadet legacy squad. They are a group of for­mer cadets who have come back to the move­ment, donned their uni­forms and started giv­ing back.

What started out as a re- union for for­mer cadets in ad­vance of the group’s 60th an­niver­sary last year be­came some­thing more when or­ga­niz­ers and par­tic­i­pants had enough to form a pla­toon.

“They even got in the of­fice and started fight­ing over who got which boots,” said com­mand­ing of­fi­cer Capt. Patti Kennedy. “You never for­get be­ing a cadet. It was emo­tional. It was like they never left.

“Ev­ery­thing just fell back into step.”

From there, they got back in the swing of parad­ing and even ripped out a cou­ple of tunes with the band.

“It was amaz­ing,” said Smith of the legacy group’s par­tic­i­pa­tion at the ACR. “It gives us a lot of pride.”

The legacy squad wasn’t just about get­ting for­mer cadets back in the gym and per­form­ing. It also al­lowed their younger coun­ter­parts the op­por­tu­nity to see how things have changed over time.

Dif­fer­ent band prac­tices and nu­ances were shared be­tween gen­er­a­tions.

The teach­ing con­tin­ued into the fol­low­ing months.

For Kennedy, it was in­ter­est­ing to see the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two groups and it had a pro­found ef­fect on the en­tire group.

“I know some of them were hon­oured to take part again but we were the ones who were hon­oured,” said Kennedy. “They’d show them how it used to be.”

With the threat of a school clo­sure hang­ing over the cadet corps last June, the re­turn of the lega­cies was no­table for the group and com­mu­nity as a whole.

“It was like a breath of fresh air. It cer­tainly shifted fo­cus from what was go­ing on with the school,” said Kennedy. “We needed some­thing to take our minds off what was go­ing on.”

Now, they get one more year as the plan is to have the group at the 2017 ACR and other events.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Whit­bourne 2584 Army Cadet Corp legacy squad came to­gether last year for the 60th an­niver­sary of the group and re­mains work­ing now.

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