A freshly minted young Sergeant out of Kindersley is proving to be an exemplary member of the local #365 Lloyd Sparky Ament Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.

Along with her peers, An De Baerdemaeker elevated in rank at their recent Annual Ceremonial Review back on May 25.

The local group spent nearly a month perfecting their ceremonial march according to An, and the big day featured one pass around the Norman Ritchie Community Centre before they got into the recognition side of things.

The night's different awards included attendance, marksmanship, being the overall best cadet, and several other smaller awards. 

Joining your local cadet squadron is a great avenue for personal growth in youth. We asked An why Cadet's is important, and she pulled out a few notes to drive home the life lessons learned by joining this group that many don't even know is active around west-central Saskatchewan.

"We do our marksmanship, we do our general training, and then all of our different fun days." listed An as just some of the things available. "Our training nights are 7-9 every week. We want as many cadets as possible." stressed An.

Anyone between the ages 12-18 can join, and An said it's a great thing to have on your resume.

"People know you have leadership skills, independent skills, talking skills."

An described some of the more fun activities.

"We have camp opportunities for cadets in the summer."

An shared a bit more on basic training.

"It's really just you learning about the basic ground life of cadets. If you get thrown in a bush for, I don't know how long, you have to know how to survive, how to set up a tent out of nowhere, you have to really provide yourself with your own life."

An appreciates the life lessons she otherwise wouldn't have learned.

"Cadets teaches a lot."

Previously mentioned by An, another opportunity presented has to do with speaking. She recently finished in third place at the Cadet’s Provincial Finals Effective Speaking Competition in Tisdale and talked about her road to becoming quite the public speaker.

"We had (a competition) just outside of Saskatoon, and then my other one was in Tisdale. The first one we had was here in town and that was just people from our squad," she said. "It was... I won't say easy because it is always going to be hard. But since it was the first time, and I had a pretty good prepared speech, it was easier than I expected. And I never expected to move on."

Why was the impressive cadet extra nervous? Well for starters, English is not her first language. Now calling Saskatchewan home, An previously lived in Europe before making the move to North America. 

"I went against someone who grew up here and spoke English since she was a little girl." said An. "Moving onto Saskatoon, that was a bigger step."

Even more preparation paid off in a third-place finish for An. 

She talked about the experience at Provincials.

"Only six of us were there. It was a pretty big deal, for the first one in our Squadron to go there, the first one from Kindersley to move on or at least we think so. Then I come home with a bronze, and everyone was very surprised with how I did and all very happy."

It's safe to say the local squadron has quite the commitment level, but An would argue it's just as high the rest of the equally committed boys and girls.