Helen Vo’s summer of 2016 is probably looking a little different than most 16-year-old teens’ days off.
The Rupertite recently took part in a prestigious cadet guard of honour at a distinct naval ceremony in the southern West Coast at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt.
Vo, 16, has been a member of 007 Captain Cook Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps (RSCC) Prince Rupert for three years and this summer is participating in a six-week fitness and sports instructor course at a brand new facility, the Albert Head Cadet Training Centre, which opened to be available to sea and army cadets in 2016.
Sea Cadet Vo was one of many cadets from B.C. and the prairie provinces to take part in the ceremonial event of a Change of Command parade in July as part of the guard of honour.
The Charles Hays Secondary School student was among a group of admirals, the lieutenant governor, an area First Nation chief and other figureheads. The Change of Command parade took place on an Esquimalt dock in front of a naval vessel.
“This is really amazing. I get to spend another summer having fun and staying active. The parade was a great opportunity,” Vo said.
The volleyball enthusiast took the Basic Fitness and Sports Course last year, and is building on that foundation with the instructor course this year. She’ll be able to take what she learned back to her squadron in Prince Rupert and demonstrate her knowledge to new cadets joining on the North Coast.
Then in early August, Vo helped demonstrate the scientific principle of friction used to create energy at the Albert Head Cadet Training Centre as part of her leadership training in the instructor course. Vo had on-the-job training as a staff cadet for the day and took a liking to the unit’s classroom filled with basic aviation technology. She interacted with the aerospace cadets in her friction learning.
“I had wanted to go to Cold Lake Cadet Training Centre to meet up with some friends. Then I came to Albert Head and I think I’ve made deeper friendships here, it is great,” Vo said.
The high school athlete wouldn’t be doing anything else in the waning days of summer vacation.
“Being active here with good friends is so much better than sitting at home, doing nothing,” she added.
“Cadets has opened my eyes to a whole new world, new people and a new set of things to enjoy.”
Vo’s fellow Prince Rupert cadet from RSCC, Cadet Amber Ly, also impressed officials down south.
In Vernon, Ly is part of the 108 cadets taking part in the Air Rifle Marksmanship Instructor course.
The program teaches participants the principles of army cadet marksmanship, leading marksmanship activities and helping range safety officers on instructing the younger, newer cadets.
On their off time, Ly and the course participants toured the city of Vernon and swam recreationally.
This summer more than 3,400 sea, army and air cadets have joined Vo and Ly in training activities in B.C. while others have travelled throughout Canada and overseas. To learn more about the program, visit www.cadets.ca