By Mick Jensen
Three members of the Ashburton Cadet Unit will be among the first New Zealanders to compete for the Australian Adventure Training Award (ATA).
The award badge is considered to be one of the ultimate awards a cadet can receive and involves a week of vigorous activities at Majura Training Range, near Canberra.
Cadet Warrant Officer Class One Hayden Adams, Cadet Warrant Officer II Jack Thomson and Cadet Sergeant Varley McLean have answered the late call to represent their country and cadet unit and will be in Australia from April 13-22.
Four other cadets from Christchurch, Timaru and Nelson will also take on the Australia-based challenge.
Ashburton Cadet Unit commander Major Cezarne Rodgers will accompany the trio as their “officer in charge” and will be reporting back to the Cadet Commandant.
Last year around 140 cadets from around Australia competed for the ATA and just the very best receive the prestigious award badge.
Throughout the week cadets will trek around 100km across the ranges with 15kg packs, using their navigation skills at every opportunity.
They will also be tested in various “initiative incidents” and undergo a range of complex tasks.
The tests tackled will provide opportunities for cadets to work in a team environment and to develop individual skills like leadership, initiative and problem-solving.
Major Cezarne Rodgers said the seven cadets would be tested on similar skills that were practised in competitions in New Zealand.
The heat and weather would be different in Australia, but the challenges around navigation, radio communication, casualty evacuation, first aid and obstacle courses would be familiar.
The travelling cadets had training days lined up this weekend in West Melton and would be looking to sharpen and test their skills alongside other cadets, she said.