She trained with British army cadets, saw historic war sites and learned a lot about the country she’s from. Not bad for a summer’s work.
Faith Clarke, recruiting sergeant-major with 2615 Victoria Army Cadets, took advantage of a unique opportunity offered through the army cadet program, allowing her to be one of three youth from Newfoundland and Labrador to travel overseas for an extended tour of the continent. She left Newfoundland in July and came home six weeks later.
“I felt inspired,” Clarke said of the trip.
An active cadet for the last five years, the 17-year-old applied for the travel opportunity in January and was accepted a few months later.
“I didn’t think I was going to get in, and I did,” the Grade 12 student from Carbonear Collegiate told The Compass.
The journey started with a few days spent in Ottawa, where Clarke saw some sites and received some instruction on how to be a good ambassador for Canada when travelling outside the country.
Once overseas, Clarke and her cohorts were quite busy. They spent time in Scotland, Wales, England, France and Belgium.
“We learned about how Canada was involved during WWI and WWII, and we did a lot of ceremonies where we represented Canada.”
Clarke read a speech at the Beaumont Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France. She also laid wreaths at several significant sites to help remember those who were involved in armed conflicts.
Among the many things she did overseas, the experience training with British army cadets was one Clarke found particularly rewarding.
“That really stood out, because I learned so much and I did so much that I wouldn’t be able to do in Canada,” she said.
While training with those cadets, Clarke got to do some simulations in the field and weaponry activities — she fired a GP (general purpose) rifle.
When all was said and done, Clarke wasn’t entirely ready to go home.
“It was definitely an experience where you can’t do it all in just six weeks. You need way more time.”
She’s also grateful for getting to have such an experience in the first place through her involvement with cadets. Previous to this, Clarke witnessed the Canadian Rockies and cycled 400 km around Prince Edward Island.
“I’ve experienced a lot, and it’s a really good program to be in,” she said.