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Cadets embrace ‘rain’

There is a common saying in the Army: ‘If it ain’t raining, it ain’t training.’ 2020 has certainly been a year of ‘rain’, but it has led to many learning and leadership opportunities for the Wenona Cadets.

Like most areas of the School, the Wenona Cadet program has been significantly disrupted in 2020. There were significant changes to the Annual Field Exercise in December 2019 due to bushfire danger, so the Unit was looking forward to starting the year of fresh. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Leadership Courses that had commenced in March had to be moved online in Term 2. This provided a different insight into the leadership qualities of adaptability, resilience, creative and critical thinking as Cadets conducted syndicate discussions over Zoom and uploaded evidence of their learning.

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At the end of Term 2, the new cohort of Junior and Senior Leaders were announced and preparations began for the commencement of training in Term 3. Further COVID-19 restrictions disrupted training and led to Shore and Wenona conducting Cadet training as a School activity on separate campuses.

With the cancellation of Bivouac at the end of Term 3, our students decided to organise a Cadet Day at Wenona, enabling the Unit to experience exciting, challenging and fun activities in lieu of the usual camp. Senior Cadets did an amazing job of organising the day for the Year 9 recruits and the Senior Independent Company.

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In the lead up to Cadet Day, the Year 9 recruits attended training every Monday lunchtime and after School. The Wenona Cadets also divided their time, working both with the Shore Cadets and separately at Wenona due to the ever-changing restrictions of COVID-19. While separated, the Wenona Cadets continued to run activities and conduct lessons. Both Junior and Senior Leaders assisted in supporting the recruits and ensuring the Cadet values and attitudes were sustained.

Their training consisted of drill movements where they learnt the correct marching techniques and turns, as well as many other activities led by Corporals such as navigation and medical based scenarios. These activities then gave the older girls experience with leading and teaching a group of students.

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Zoe (Year 9) is a new recruit to the program and she expressed her appreciation for the dedication of the Senior girls in organising fun training afternoons and activities. “I’ve loved the different experiences that Cadets has given me - especially all of the fun activities that the Senior Cadets organised.”

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Cadet Day began by outlining a scenario. The goal of the day was to rescue the Regimental Sergeant Major, Cadet Warrant Officer Class 1 Mattise (Year 12). To do so, the recruit companies needed to complete a set of challenges, including raft building, laser tag, navigation, physical training and an amazing race. All of these activities gave the recruits an opportunity to bond with their section and build their skills.

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Throughout the day, sections worked with their Corporals to complete the activities. The most popular were definitely laser tag and raft building! Not only were these activities fun, but the were also challenging and pushed the Cadets out of their comfort zones. Overall, Cadet Day was a huge success and all recruits as well as Junior and Senior Leaders had an amazing experience.

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This week, Wenona and Shore had an opportunity to work together once again, which was a great opportunity to issue uniforms to the new recruits. They were excited and proud to wear the Cadet uniform for the first time this year. They learnt the correct way to prepare, maintain and wear the uniform from their team leaders.

This week, it was also announced that the Annual Field Exercise will be occurring at the end of this term. This was very exciting news for all members of the Shore Cadet Unit, and everyone is looking forward to learning new skills in preparation for the camp. Throughout this term, recruit companies will continuously learn more about living in the field, including setting up hoochies, how to prepare and consume ration packs, navigation and first aid.

Overall, the past term of Cadets has been challenging, yet great fun. It was great to see the recruits adapt to immense change and maintain a positive attitude regardless, reflecting that other military motto: ‘Cheerfulness in Adversity’.