While most chaplains had a restful first week of the holidays, three YouthCARE staff were getting down and dusty for nine days with the Australian Army Cadets.
Capt (AAC) Gay Phillips is the chaplain at John Tonkin College and Greenfields Primary School. 2Lt (AAC) Andrew Findlay is chaplain at Albany SHS and Little Grove PS, while Maj (AAC) Findlay is Area Chaplain for the Great Southern region.
The trio were involved training sessions covering survival techniques, single rope rescue, recon and patrol, catering, driver ed, adventure training involving mountain bikes, kayaks, abseiling and more.
Maj (AAC) Findlay said it was the highlight of his year.
“There is something special about seeing cadets who were homesick at the beginning of the week and by the final parade they are beaming with pride knowing they have overcome all sorts of adversity,” he said.
“The first few days had so much rain we nearly had to build an Ark! It was freezing every night but it was great fun and the rain kept the ticks away.”
New cadets learnt the basics of field craft and living in the bush while the seniors experienced the full army life - up before dawn, bed after dark, covered in camouflage paint carrying and being tactical and spending the week on Ration packs.
“The Australian Army Cadets is a great opportunity to share with these young people and the work we do in YouthCARE fits well between the two,” Brent said.
Gay ran a catering course and then they had to produce a full military mess dinner for the junior officers.
Andrew was especially busy as the brigade army cadet chaplain. He is the first one ever appointed in WA. When he wasn't being a padre or escorting people to the medical centre in Perth, he spent a fair bit of time on the range shooting.