Esprit de Corps 2017 November has an article written by Deborah Morrow of the Navy League of Canada. This article talks about a Sea Cadet with markers of autism who thrived in the Sea Cadet program.
Now, 47 years later, history repeated itself when Toderovich’s son Vincent, was recently recognized for excellence in cadets in B.C.
The local 12-year-old Navy League of Canada cadet was honoured as B.C.’s Cadet of the Year and awarded the Medal of Excellence recognizing his leadership, marksmanship, drill team and first aid skills.
Vincent, a Grade 6 student at Pinewood elementary school and member of the local cadet corps 142 Aurora, started in the Navy League cadets at nine years old.
Lyle achieved accolades in first aid and marksmanship.
“My time in cadets was a really great time,” Lyle said, leaning over an old photo album that held the yellowed newspaper clippings describing his achievements. “When my son saw this he was quite surprised and encouraged but he didn’t really need much encouragement because he’s always been inside himself a military type of person. He studied the World Wars and tank battles. He was always completely interested right from when he was very small.”
Vincent got his start in the Navy League cadets at a special annual event in Prince George.
“I was at Canada Day a few years back and there was this army tent that I usually liked to go to and I’d been down there so many times that one of the soldiers said I should join cadets,” Vincent said. “They told me where to go and how to join so that’s how it started off.”
Navy League of Canada cadets are geared for youth between nine and 12 years old and features activities like boating, sports and music while focusing on leadership, citizenship and teamwork.
In 142 Aurora, there are 31 cadets and at least 12 officer and civilian instructors.
The time commitment sees cadets attend regular meetings every Monday evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and volunteer to raise funds for the corps several times a year as well as attend summer camp where they receive outdoor adventure training. They also participate in parades and honour veterans several ways including at the Cougars hockey game, as well as at the Remembrance Day ceremonies.
“It is fun to go to cadets,” Vincent said.
“It’s taught me a lot of things, helped me a lot, and taught me leadership, life skills, how to be a good citizen and a lot more.”
Vincent is the coxswain of the cadet corps, which means he’s the most senior-ranking cadet and uses the traditional Navy bosun’s call to give his commands, Commanding Officer of 142 Aurora Lt. (NL) Tom Taylor explained. Taylor’s son Camron was awarded the Medal of Excellence four years ago.
There are more than 400 cadets in 12 Navy League corps in the province.
“The coxswain is usually the most proficient cadet and if he can maintain that then the corps runs well, the kids respect him and those things are noticed and that’s what gets him submitted (as a candidate for Cadet of the Year, Medal of Excellence),” Taylor said.
Vincent is drill team captain, and first aid team captain as well as the coxswain. Vincent was honoured at a provincial competition where each first aid team was given a variety of different situations. 142 Aurora took top honours and Vincent was recognized as top team captain as well.
“I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful child,” Lyle said. “He has a great moral code and in a sense he’s teaching me as much as I try to guide him.”
Taylor said when he looks back at his time with Vincent, it’s very moving.
“It’s almost a teary moment because you’re very proud to know that you were part of it,” Taylor said who has been volunteering since 2009.
“And that’s why we do the program – for those ah-ha moments and you think ‘that was worth it’ and then you come back again next year.”
Vincent already has a plan that he thinks might work in his future, he said.
“So I already finished junior Navy and now I’m going to join Army cadets (for those between 12 and 19),” Vincent said with a smile.
“And then I believe we have a reserve here – a division – and so I might join that and then the rest is history.”
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