3055 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp (RCACC) Warrant Officer Jack Kopak successfully completed the Northwest Region Alpine Tour in the Rocky Mountains near Canmore, Alta., this past month.
Kopak was supposed to be in Canmore for nine days, but a three-day blizzard in Naujaat caused him to miss the first two days of the tour.
Having spent five years in the cadets, Kopak said he’s always up for a challenge and with a couple of years left in the cadet program, he’s always looking to complete any course or program that may open additional doors in the program for him, he said.
“The week was mostly hiking, snowshoeing and ice climbing,” said Kopak. “At first I was little scared of the ice climbing, but, by the end of the third day, I wasn’t scared anymore and it became my favourite part of the program.”
“I met other cadets from all over the region and formed some new friendships,” he continued. “It was a lot of fun and I’d encourage any senior cadet to put their name forward for opportunities like this.”
Kopak’s commanding officer, Capt. Lloyd Francis, said the thing that differentiates army cadets from air and sea is the expedition component of the program.
While air cadets have flying components and sea cadets have sailing components, army cadets have expedition components, which challenge cadets to the push their mental and physical limits.
Cadets can go on expeditions after three years of training.
Expedition activities challenge cadets to develop a number of skills including navigation, trekking, wilderness survival and leadership. Senior cadets may also decide to take part in more advanced regional, national and international expeditions depending on their personal interest, explained Francis
Francis said a few expeditions are held every year, usually the Yukon Paddle, the Mantario Trek and the Alpine Tour, which Kopak just completed.
He said in all the expeditions, those conducting them make sure that safety is the number-one concern.
“It helps the cadets to build confidence and gives them the opportunity to try something that they normally wouldn’t have the chance to do.”