48 cadets and eight volunteers from across the United Kingdom have returned from an ‘amazing’ international exchange trip to Canada.

Four courses were run in Canada by the Cadet Training Centres (CTC) at Whitehorse, Rocky Mountain and Argonaut to focus on developing the fitness, teamwork, expedition skills and self-reliance of cadets.

Exercise Whitehorse was based in Yukon and introduced 12 cadets and two Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) to the Canadian cadet experience. They undertook an 18 Day Expedition, which included mountain biking, hiking, canoeing and cultural visits.

Captain Al Mountain, a member of HQ A Company, Dyfed & Glamorgan Army Cadet Force (ACF), served as a British Escort Officer on the exchange. The 27-year-old enjoyed the opportunity to exercise his skills in new surroundings.

He said: “The views and the scenery on the five day mountain biking phase were absolutely amazing. Wild camping next to rivers and lakes was also a bonus, especially when temperatures rose to 35 degrees.

“The canoeing phase was really interesting paddling on the Yukon and Takhini with our guide reciting Robert Service Poems about the 1889 Yukon Gold Rush – especially The Spell of the Yukon, which really brought it into perspective about the hardships of the time and the danger of travel through isolated areas.

“There are many fond memories of this Exercise, but for me, the most iconic moment of the trip was watching the Northern Lights in the star lit sky at 2:30am.”

The course was physically and mentally challenging but all cadets successfully completed the Expedition Instructors Course and were awarded their Expedition Instructor badge.

Participants included 16-year-old Cadet Sergeant Billy Brian, from Newtown Detachment, Gwent & Powys ACF. He said: “I enjoyed the 18 day expedition as this allowed me to develop my own confidence, teamwork and organisation skills. I found the mountain biking challenging but rewarding as the views I saw, I’d never forget.

“I enjoyed the canoeing phase, especially going through the rapids. I learned about how to develop trust in others to ensure we helped each other get to the bottom. Coming to Canada was also my first ever flight!

“This experience in Canada is one I will never forget. I’d encourage others to apply for next year’s courses which are now available on Westminster.”

The trip was part-funded by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales’ Welsh Reserves and Cadets Fund, which helps fund a wide range of activities that help cadets to grow through life-changing experiences, gaining new skills and qualifications as they enjoy fun with friends.

More than 1,200 Cadet Force Adult Volunteers inspire over 4,400 young people in Wales to achieve in the classroom and in their future careers. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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