Jaiden Ruryk personifies the positive impact cadet programs have on youth in the community. The 14-year-old Colwood resident was one of four teens who received an award for the Most Improved Cadet at a graduation ceremony last week at Albert Head Cadet Training Centre in Metchosin.
Ruryk, a former Dunsmuir Middle School student, is a member of the 848 Royal Roads Air Cadet Squadron.
He completed three weeks at Albert Head that included the basic survival course and the basic aviation technology and aerospace course – which teaches cadets about areas of aircraft manufacturing and maintenance, aerodrome operations and aerospace.
“I really enjoyed the time here,” Ruryk said. “I developed close bonds with the other cadets and new friendships. I learned a lot of cool things and got to meet people from all over Canada. I hope to come back next year.”
His foster parent, Karyn Cooper, said she is amazed by the change in Ruryk in the two years he has been in cadets.
“It’s nothing short of phenomenal,” she said following the graduation ceremony and parade. “I’m so proud of him that it’s beyond words.”
Ruryk, who will attend Royal Bay Secondary in September, said he is looking forward to high school, which he described as an important step in his plans to become an architect. “I’m really excited about it,” he added.
Warrant Officer First Class Olivia Menard, a staff cadet in charge of this year’s camp, said she was eager to return to Albert Head after attending as a Flight Sergeant last year in charge of the band.
“The cadet program gave me a sense of belonging at a young age,” said the 18-year-old from Alberta. “I want to give that sense of belonging to others now.”