Naujaat cadet corps regains solid footing

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The 3055 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC) is back on solid ground following a year of uncertainty due to the departure from Naujaat of former corps commander Capt. Lloyd Francis.

Backed by the support of Naujaat hamlet council, Capt. Erin McKinlay of Winnipeg (who became the acting corps commander in September 2018) and a number of local individuals who stepped-up to become civilian instructors (CI), the 3055 RCACC is thriving once again.

Cadet Jack Kopak is promoted to warrant officer by regional training officer Capt. Erin McKinlay in Naujaat in November of 2017. The two are now instrumental in strengthening the Naujaat corps. Photo courtesy of Lloyd Francis

Mental-health outreach worker Brittany Holm is among those helping to guide the corps right now.

Holm said the corps is currently in a healthy state with four CIs helping out (Holm, James Kopak, Marlene MacKinnon and Lydia Haqpi).

She said the corps has also benefitted from the helping hand given it by RCMP Const. Mike McCauley.

“Unfortunately. Mike got reassigned to Nova Scotia and left us this past week,” said Holm.

“The corps is very upset that we lost him because he was such a big help.

“So, for now, there are four of us and we take turns running the classes. Our senior cadets are also very strong and they chip-in running the classes and doing the drills, as well.”

Holm said, to date, the corps has 37 cadets on parade.

She said there is a big turnout for each meeting every Wednesday, which are held at Tusarvik Elementary School.

A group of cadets practice their drill at Tusarvik Elementary School in Naujaat on Sept. 25. Photo courtesy of Brittany Holm

“The kids love coming to cadets because it’s such a happy place,” she said.

“Our cadets were super troopers during the past year in my opinion. They picked-up their boots and really helped make sure the corps was running smoothly.

“I just started in cadets when I moved to this community two years ago and the cadets taught me a lot about how things ran, so we learned together.

“We’re learning as a team and that’s how we’re able to continue doing it.”

The cadet season runs in unison with the school year.

Holm said the end of this past year went swimmingly for the corps after a rocky start, and that had a lot to do with the efforts of the senior cadets who didn’t age out explaining how everything should go to her and McCauley.

She said Capt. McKinlay – who flies to Naujaat almost every-other month to help with drills and other activities – is also a big reason why things are going so well right now for the 3055 RCACC.

“The kids aren’t losing hope that their corps is going to be really strong again.

“They’ve held onto that hope and believed the whole time that everything would work out and be OK again.

“In fact, all of us too, as a staff, didn’t give up so that the kids wouldn’t give up.

“The corps has strong ties to the community and everyone here absolutely loves the cadets.”

Holm said the cadet turnout to meetings has remained strong during the past two years.

She said she sees no reason why things won’t continue that way.

“We have one of the biggest corps in Nunavut and our cadets are all happy.

“So, I don’t see any bumps in the future.”