Cadets visited by NZ commandant

City of Dunedin Cadet Unit cadet Hunter MacDade (14, left) works with  Aaron Stoddart (15), of...
City of Dunedin Cadet Unit cadet Hunter MacDade (14, left) works with Aaron Stoddart (15), of Lawrence, to assemble objects. Aaron said he was inspired by his family to join cadets and has found his training to be a lot of fun so far. PHOTOS: JOHN COSGROVE
Proudly showing their commitment to serving their country and becoming better citizens in the spirit their forefathers did as Anzacs, cadets from five New Zealand Cadet Force units in Otago gathered at the Kensington Army Hall in Dunedin recently to undertake a review by the national commandant of the cadet forces.

Showing off their skills at leadership challenges and a round robin of fun team activities that evening were more than 150 cadets and officers from 42 Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) of Dunedin, 26 Squadron ATC of Oamaru, training ships (TS) Nimrod and Waireka of Dunedin, and The City of Dunedin Cadet Unit.

Area support officer for Otago Squadron Leader Joni Simpson said it was an honour to have the new acting Commandant Squadron Leader Bruce Sinclair come and visit them.

“He’s an ex-Otago Boys and Dunedin ATC squadron member and he was there to review how our cadets were going, what their training was like and to talk with officers and support committee members about the exciting future of New Zealand cadet forces," she said.

Tying up their barrel during one of the exercises were (from left) Preston Repia-King (15) of...
Tying up their barrel during one of the exercises were (from left) Preston Repia-King (15) of Oamaru ATC, Jack Peason-Howell (16) of Dunedin Cadet Unit, sea cadet Ricky Fung (15) of Dunedin and Kimberlee McWhirter (14), also of Oamaru ATC.
Sqn Ldr Sinclair said having all the cadet units in Dunedin and Oamaru come together for a night made it easier to review how the cadets were faring and to listen to or address any concerns or queries the officers or parent support groups were having.

“Cadets right now are very exciting and growing.

"The latest figures I looked at a week ago showed we are sitting at around 3900 cadets in New Zealand.

City of Dunedin Cadet Unit cadet Flynn McCormick (14), a pupil  at King’s High School, keeps his...
City of Dunedin Cadet Unit cadet Flynn McCormick (14), a pupil at King’s High School, keeps his balance during one of the team building exercises.
"That’s a bit of increase for us and I understand that for some units it’s a tight fit providing the training for them all.

“Covid has had a bit to do with that as people were isolated and now they wanted to do something adventurous.

"A lot of the units are experiencing big growth this year and I suspect that it’s one of the main reasons.

“We are about producing better citizens for the country and also getting the cadets to challenge themselves, getting them outside their comfort zones and pushing the boundaries a little bit, and it’s quite rewarding at the end to see cadets who try something new and they succeed.

"Then they build on that and succeed even further and grow well because of it.

"They leave us after six or seven years much better people and a lot more confident in life," he said.

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