Cathrine Shorkey credits Army Cadets for preparing her for journeys she could not have comprehended five years ago.
The Saanich resident was recently promoted to Echo Company sergeant major with the rank of cadet master warrant officer earlier this month, making her one of eight senior cadets appointed at the Vernon Cadet Training Centre.
Shorkey joined the 2136 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (Canadian Scottish Regiment) five years ago on the advice of her godmother.
“She’s my mom’s best friend and was in the navy for a long time and recommended the program,” Shorkey said during a break from her duties in Vernon.
The promotion means Shorkey serves as a role model for new cadets, assists officers with scheduling and provides a link between the staff, cadets and officers at the VCTC, where she has spent parts of the past five summers.
“It’s a big job,” she noted, adding that it is in some ways similar to being a camp counsellor. “Seeing the cadets take to the Expedition program is very rewarding.”
The Expedition program combines outdoor activities, environmental stewardship and learning leadership skills for cadets who work as a close-knit team.
Shirley is spending seven weeks in Vernon this year completing the Expedition instructor course, which includes 17 days on three separate expeditions.
“It’s a pathway to many different destinations,” she noted. “The Expedition program has challenged me to push myself physically and mentally. I’ve developed leadership skills and accomplished things I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere else, and grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined.”
Cadets who complete the Expedition program can take part in regional, national or international expeditions.
Shorkey, who graduated from Oak Bay High this year, will take part in a national expedition to Cape Breton in September.
Although she has been accepted to the University of Victoria where she plans to study social studies before determining a more specific career path, Shorkey decided to defer schooling for a year.
She will travel to Sri Lanka to do volunteer work involving small town development, and then head to Nepal to volunteer at an orphanage.
“None of these opportunities would have been possible for me without cadets,” she said.
For more on the cadet program, march over to cadets.ca.