Wenona Cadets lead the way
Since we introduced our Cadets program last year, it has gone from strength to strength, with Wenona students achieving great success at the Junior and Senior Leaders Course, and with an intake of 35 new students joining the recent induction program.
CDTCPL Sophie (Year 10) was awarded the Student of Merit on the Junior Leaders Course and CUO Charlotte (Year 11) was awarded the Student of Merit on the Senior Leaders Course. She is now the Senior Under Office of Shore Cadet Unit, with a strength of 420 cadets. Here is what Charlotte had to say about the course.
“The annual Cadet Promotions Course is the epitome of the hard work, dedication, persistence and leadership that the Wenona and Shore cadets strive to sustain and promote throughout the unit. Over 25 Wenona cadets dedicated the first week of the recent School holidays to putting on their cadet uniform and participating in either the Junior or Senior Leaders Course, along with 120 of their Shore peers. The aim of both courses is to develop the skills, character and leadership traits required to manage and lead teams. All participants wanted to be promoted at the end of the week, in preparation for taking on a leadership role within the unit.
We commenced the course by spending three days at Shore for the barracks phase in which we were constantly assessed on our drill, dress and bearing, in addition to multiple theory-based lessons and assessments. Tasks ranged from delivering orders to both staff and peers, to developing field activities, to giving five-minute impromptu speeches with only three minutes’ notice! Cadets also had a chance to take charge of their course with responsibility for either 60 or 80 cadets, which was a prime opportunity to demonstrate their self-confidence and organisational skills.
We then applied our camouflage paint and threw on our bush hats, webbing and packs to head off to Singleton Training Area for the three-day field phase, in which the assessments continued. All activities focused on promoting task effectiveness, confidence, initiative, organisation, stability under stress, and decisiveness. On top of balancing these leadership qualities, cadets had to also ensure the continual wellbeing and morale of their peers. A highlight for everyone was the Leadership Range. This consisted hour-long activities that the cadets completed in teams of 8-10, including first aid procedures, navigation, construction, emergency survival, radio procedures and much more. The Senior Leaders Course included constructing cannons in the pitch black, which we then pushed for 3km whilst carrying our full packs. On the last night, we were awoken at 2am to conduct a simulated search for a lost cadet who had not returned to their hutchie after going to the toilet. After long and tiring days, some cadets found this challenging.
Despite enduring multiple physically and mentally draining days, all the Wenona Cadets had much to be proud of. They represented Wenona admirably and conducted themselves to an incredibly high standard. The fact that all girls received promotions showed that the Wenona and Shore Cadet venture has been extremely worthwhile. Wenona Cadets are now represented at every level of leadership within the unit, from section level up to Company and Regimental Headquarters. This year marks the first year the unit has ever had female senior rank, which is an excellent credit to all the Year 11 Wenona cadets who have achieved so much in a year.
On behalf of all the girls, I can say that this experience has been extremely beneficial, enabling us to develop leadership qualities and skills. With our new roles and ranks, we are all incredibly excited for what the next year entails!”
Under the experienced direction of Mr Hughes, Director of Co-Curricular Programs and Head of Cadets at Wenona, the unit has been restructured to foster greater integration and socialisation of Wenona and Shore cadets.
“Small teams of Wenona cadets are now integrated into every platoon across the unit, being led by either a Wenona Section Commander or Section 2IC,” says Mr Hughes. “As a result of this, more cadets are enjoying the opportunity to learn how to lead and manage small teams alongside their Shore peers.”
Wenona cadets in senior leadership positions are also working closely with Shore cadets at the platoon, company and regimental levels.
“The senior leaders have commenced planning activities for the Bivouac in September,” says Mr Hughes. “Using a model similar to Project-Based Learning, they are currently collaborating in small teams to develop plans that will be reviewed regularly by staff. These plans will then be put into action over the course of the five-day field exercise with a real audience of hundreds of cadets. The ultimate goal is to develop a program that is fun, challenging and strengthens their character and leadership skills.”
Our new recruits from Year 9 are really enjoying the experience of cadets so far. Here is what some of them have to say:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the first couple of weeks of cadets. In a new environment, already new friendships have been formed and valuable skills and lessons have been learnt about discipline, respect and uniform. The atmosphere at cadets is what has made the recruitment process so easy; everyone is always welcoming and helpful. I really look forward to the next year with cadets, continuing to learn in the classroom, parade and in the field.”
CDTRCT Imogen (Year 9)
“The first time I heard about cadets I was eager to join. I am extremely grateful and pleased that I made the decision to sign up because I have already acquired necessary skills (including how to tie up shoes correctly) that come with being a cadet. I am highly anticipating what is yet to come, including many sessions filled with informative lessons, bonding and friendship opportunities, and also many rewarding experiences.”
CDTRCT Dimity-Maree (Year 9)
“I am very excited to have joined the Wenona cadet unit this year. I have already made new friendships within my platoon and within my section. My corporal has allowed for such a friendly atmosphere between the cadets and it is always very easy to talk freely. I am definitely looking forward to the camps this year, and as I continue with cadets in the next few years.”
CDTRCT Mattise (Year 9)