By Lokwing Wong
At the end of every training year, cadet corps and squadrons across the country hold what is called an Annual Ceremonial Review, or ACR.
In the ceremony, cadets are inspected by a Reviewing Party, are presented with awards and medals, and they demonstrate what they have accomplished and learnt in the past training year.
On June 1, all the cadets of the Campbell River corp, 54 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps – Admiral DeWolf, met up at the Navy League Hall and prepared for ACR together. Throughout the day, the cadets helped each other sew badges and ranks on, iron trousers and shirts, and polish boots. Since different cadets had different skillsets in working on uniforms, they were able to make trades: “I’ll help you with sewing if you help me with my boots” type of thing.
On top of working on uniforms, we also practiced the ceremonial marchpast and advance for the parade. For this, the senior cadets took charge; watching, making corrections, and giving feedback. It was rewarding for both the cadets and drill instructors to see how much the cadets’ drill had improved individually and as a unit in the span of just one year.
The cadets stayed overnight. The next morning, we did morning PT (exercise), had breakfast, and finished up working and practicing. After eating lunch, we got into our uniforms and got into position for the parade. This was actually rather stressful, as quite a few cadets reported missing uniform parts and other mishaps. However, we were able to get everyone together and onto the parade looking sharp and professional.
The ceremony was quick due to the extreme heat. The cadets marched onto the parade, and the Reviewing Party arrived. The Reviewing Party, the group of people who inspect the cadets (collectively known as the Ship’s Company), included the nephew of Admiral DeWolf, Captain (Retired) Guy DeWolf; the veteran great-grandfather of one of the cadets, Colonel (Retired) Richard Cowling; the Legion representative, Tim Peebles; a Navy League of Canada representative, Brett Anderson; the Navy League Campbell River Branch president, Bruce Gilbert; and the corp Commanding Officer, Lt.(N) Bonnie McGill.
After the Reviewing Party inspected the Ship’s Company, and declared that they were impressed, the cadets performed their marchpast. Awards and presentations were followed by the advance, and the parade was over.
After the ceremony, the cadets showed off their displays, which were posters on a certain topic accompanied by artifacts and pieces of equipment. The displays included seamanship, sailing, first aid and orienteering, military history, and band.
At about five o’clock, the officers, cadets and parents had the potluck and presentation of the rest of the awards and plaques. And after cleanup, it was time to say goodbye and thank you to everyone. This was tearful, as some cadets weren’t participating in summer courses, and especially as one of the cadets would be moving to Prince George.
The cadet program offers unique opportunities to the youth that are involved in it. The Annual Ceremonial Review onboard was definitely one such experience, and it allowed cadets to help and bond with each other in an unconventional but highly successful way.