9 April 2018

On Thursday 5th April eighty-three cadets formed up at Cwrt-y-Gollen Cadet Training Centre, the Headquarters of Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force (ACF) to take part in Exercise Oak Leaf, the national selection event for the Canadian Exchange 2018.

They arrived from all corners of the United Kingdom with cadets attending from the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and Army Cadet Force (ACF) to compete for their place. The five Durham hopefuls arrived well prepared and ready for the challenges that lay ahead. There are three courses available in Canada each summer; Cadet Sergeant Marc Hague (16) from Stanley and Cadet Sergeant Amy McCartney (16) from South Tyneside applied for the Rocky Mountain course in Alberta. Cadet Corporal James Godfrey (15) from Chester le Street is hopeful to be selected for the Argonaut Course in New Brunswick and Cadet Corporal Ben Harbottle (16) from Birtley and Cadet Lance Corporal Katie Handyside (16) from Washington are set on the Whitehorse Course in the Yukon Territory. Durham ACF have had three cadets selected to fly to Canada for a six-week adventure in the Summer.

Over the four days the cadets took part in a wide range of challenging activities at local adventurous training (AT) facilities throughout Crickhowell including Llangorse Lake. They were assessed and observed taking part in the following activities; swimming test, hill walking, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, horse riding and a personal interview. The weekend culminated with the Canadian fitness test on Sunday morning before the cadets departed for their home locations. All of the activities are taken into account to decide the successful 46 cadets who will travel to Canada for 6 weeks this summer.

Colonel Brian Kitching, Commandant Durham ACF said “the weekend was a great success with all of the cadets participating in all of the activities to the best of their abilities. I am sure that the decision to select the top 46 cadets was tough however the best cadets were selected to take part in the 2018 exchange, well done to all who attended and selected”.

Cadet Corporal Benjamin Harbottle (16), Durham ACF said “the selection event has been an amazing experience. I have met some life-long friends. We have taken part in some excellent and challenging activities which will remain with me for years to come. I am really excited for my trip to Canada in the summer and would recommend the selection event to anyone”.

The final 46 cadets jet off for their respective Canadian adventure in July 2018, taking part in either the Cadet Leadership and Challenge Course at Rocky Mountain, Alberta or the Cadet Expedition Instructor courses that will take place in Whitehorse, Yukon and Argonaut, New Brunswick. This year in a new development, a fitness and sports instructor’s course is available for an additional 10 cadets.