In addition to leadership, one of the aims of the Cadet Program is physical fitness. So therefore, bottom line up front, is we as adults need to set the example. Fitness and health is the key to performance success, and you have to do that both with mental and physical well-being. We have got to set the conditions so that our youth see us setting the example.
We have got to do things in an optimal way. We need to perform optimally. The way we do that in the Canadian Armed Forces is to focus on mental health in order to build resilience. We have got to ensure that we know that we are going to have confrontation just by dealing with youth and dealing with parents and the challenge of working within a youth program, there are going to be challenges so be as prepared as possible. And to work on the resilience piece if you have a good, strong physical fitness program, you don’t have to be an ironman, but at least you have got to be able to go off and set that example for the youth that you are leading.
Cadets will better understand the concept of taking care of one’s health if they see you, the leader, doing the same thing and setting that example and seeing what benefits that come from taking care of yourself both mentally and physically. If it is demonstrated by the staff and senior cadet leaders, we are going to have an outstanding program that is going to set up those future leaders for a long time to come. Chief Warrant Officer, any comments? Yes, General. Our society has evolved. Our society has changed over time. We know that these days, in society in general, we are less active than we used to be. We don’t want to turn Cadets into Olympic athletes, but we do want to establish habits in youth and in youth development, which is very important so that they keep those habits with them for the rest of their lives.
We can do that only by working with them, by setting an example and by establishing a routine, which is easy to do with our Cadet corps across Canada. Well Adjudant-chef I’d just like to give a little bit of an example of someone that was a great leader and example for me when I was a young soldier and a young cadet. His name was Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Blackwell, former member of the Black Watch as a non-commissioned officer (NCO), went up to the rank of Master Warrant Officer, carried on and was a regular force support NCO to a reserve unit. Retired, went back to his hometown area of Vernon, B.C., volunteered and joined the Cadet Instructor’s list and worked with cadets. It very quickly became apparent that this is a gentleman that had leadership ability and he quickly progressed to ultimately commanding an Army reserve unit in the Okanogan of British Columbia. The reason I mention this is that he exemplified leadership, physical fitness, in everything her did.
We went on an exercise and he was out there cross-country skiing. He was motivating, he looked after the soldier, he looked after everyone that was in his command and more importantly understood the balance of mental and physical fitness and to ensure that everyone, including himself, he could not set the example any better and to this day that still resonates with me. .
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