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The Army Cadet wants (Aboriginal) you(th)

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By Sharon Goulet, Sweetgrass Writer, EDMONTON







Kevin Seesequasis has traveled around the world and he wants to see other Aboriginal youth have that opportunity as well. Seesequasis is commanding officer of a local Army Cadet Corps in Edmonton. “The cadet experience is the best experience a youth can be part of. I have traveled around the world as part of the corps, and now as a commanding officer. You have to put in a certain amount of years into the corps, but all the travelling I have done has been fully funded. As with anything in life, you get back what you put in,” said Seesequasis. “In our Aboriginal communities, often-times economic concerns limit what are kids can participate in. This program is free (to all youths),” said Seesequasis, who believes the benefits are limitless. A second and equally important draw for Aboriginal youth is the development of leadership potential that can be taken into the civilian sector. “Employers are looking for young workers that have the skills that we teach in the Youth Corps. Teamwork, public speaking, leadership are all areas that are transferable. We know that when an employer sees that a potential employee has youth corps experience, they know they are coming with a wealth of skills at the front end,” said Seesequasis. Each city has its own variations on the content of its youth corps programming. To encourage more Aboriginal youth to join, an Aboriginal cultural component is being developed in Edmonton. “We are currently developing a cultural awareness component so that our Aboriginal youth feel more welcome. A secondary goal is to ensure that non-Aboriginal participants have a solid understanding of Aboriginal history, culture and contributions to Canadian society,” said Seesequasis. In Edmonton, Seesequasis is looking for youth between the ages of 12-18 to begin in September. The program typically runs from September through to June, one night a week with optional outdoor adventure trips on the weekends. From June to August, a two to six-week program is also being organized; however participants must have spent some time in the regular school year program. “It’s not too late. Youth can join now, and may build up enough time to be part of the summer program,” said Seesequasis. There are also corps on the Blood Reserve at Gleichen, in Fort MacKay, High Level and Hobbema. A new corps will likely be split into two at the Sunchild and O’Chiese First Nations, and a Métis corps established in Wetaskiwin. The Canadian Cadet Program is the largest federally-sponsored youth program in Canada and includes the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets. It is a national program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18, who are interested in participating in a variety of fun, challenging and rewarding activities while learning about the sea, army and air activities of the Canadian Forces. For additional information, Edmonton residents can contact Kevin Seesequasis at 780-886-2892. For other regions, interested youth should go online at www.Cadets.ca to find the local corps closest to the area of residence.