While a summer job or travel experiences might supply enough summer adventure to satisfy most new high school grads, some spent the past few weeks jumping from an airplane.
“You just hear them say ‘Go!’ and immediately just jump out and you don’t even think about being scared,” said Jordan Wikstrom, one of 45 Canadian cadets awarded his jump wings this summer. “When you parachute, you can relax and enjoy the view.”
After completing a rigorous training program at the Canadian Forces Land Advanced Warfare Centre at CFB Trenton, Ont., and smoothly parachuting back down to earth five times, Wikstrom was presented with his wings by commanding officer Lt.-Col. Paul Lockhart on Aug. 17.
Completing the training was a decision the 2012 Reynolds secondary grad made when he first became a member of Saanich’s 3005 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps and learned a previous member of his corps had earned her wings.
But before Wikstrom and his bold counterparts could jump, they were pushed to their limits by their commanding officers, he said.
“They try to break you mentally and physically so that you won’t be able to push on, but you push yourself to keep going and you become more skilled,” Wikstrom said. “If you’re doing lots of push ups and you think you can’t handle it, you have to engage your mind and think that you can handle it and then you’re able to do it.”
At 18, Wikstrom has less than a year left with cadets and hopes to spend that time encouraging others to try out parachuting, to earn their wings and to reap the benefits, of both fitness and leadership skills, he said.
“Once you’ve finished it, everything’s easy after that. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”