Chief Warrant Officer Jesse Simons enrolled as a cadet Nov. 3, 2010, at 12 years old, and aged out Nov. 3, 2017, after seven continuous years of dedicated service.
Simons worked his way up through the ranks, excelling in the program. He attained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, which is only available for one cadet at the corps. He earned the position of Regimental Sergeant Major, which is the most senior role a cadet can earn, where he was responsible for leading all the cadets in the corps.
He attended summer camps each year and eventually became a staff cadet, where he was employed for the summer to teach junior cadets.
He was a member of our biathlon team and our marksmanship team, and out competed cadets around Northern B.C. during zone competitions.
Simons also completed more than 300 hours of volunteer service around the community as a cadet, assisting local veterans, Legion members, senior citizens, local charitable organizations, and fundraisers.
I asked Simons about his time as a cadet.
What was your first impression when you came out for your first night?
When enrolled, I thought it was scary and intimidating. Everyone seemed like there was a very high standard to meet, and I was nervous to meet that standard. My mom originally made me join.
Why did you decide to stick with the program?
I stayed in the program because of the benefits. Going to camps, going across Canada, overseas, the army cadet challenge, the West Coast challenge, canoeing, hiking, and learning about the cadet program during the summer training in Vernon.
What is the best part of the program that will stay with you for life?
The one best thing I can take from this experience is being able to make a bed. To be able to get up in the morning and make your bed, and accomplish a task first thing in the morning sets your day for success. I found I was able to organize my day and set time for all the details to be successful.
Looking back, would you do it again if you could?
Looking back at it, I would do it again. The development in leadership for youth, teaching them skills like tying a knot, common sense, and how to take charge of a situation. I use the skills I have learned every day.
I'm proud of Simons’ dedication to our program and would like to personally thank him for his service on behalf of the Canadian Cadet Organization.
I have had the opportunity to watch Simons develop over the years from a shy young man into a citizen who positively contributes to our community, which is the most rewarding part of our job as a youth instructor with the Canadian Armed Forces.
Capt. Geoff Bough is the Commanding Officer of the 2276 Royal Canadian Army Cadets in Fort St. John.
[Editor's Note: Jesse Simons joined the cadets in 2010 and was born in 1998. We regret the error.]