Sailing into new opportunities

Cadet Alexis Valgardsson said the 2017 seamanship development program was phenomenal. Submitted

Sea cadet travels to British Columbia for expedition

As a student by day and sea cadet by night, one young woman recently had the chance to explore British Columbia on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage.

“We were training non-stop,” said Cadet Alexis Valgardsson on Wednesday. “Just learning as much as we possibly could within the week, which I found absolutely amazing.”

Valgardsson was selected as one of the 64 sea cadets from across Canada to ship out on the ORCA class training vessel Raven as part of the 2017 seamanship development program. She was the only candidate from Moose Jaw to go and described the experience as “phenomenal.”

Valgardsson felt nothing but joy and pure excitement when her officers told her she was accepted. She even said she thought they were joking.

The seamanship deployment took place from Oct. 22 through Oct. 28. Valgardsson is part of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets (RCSC) 99 Assiniboine in Moose Jaw.

“We go straight into first, second and third classes, where I help instruct all the new candidates on navy knowledge and on different things we can do in the cadet program.”

She teaches the cadets about respect and discipline, among other things.

Nicole Kutsak, sub-lieutenant for RCSC 99 Assiniboine nominated Valgardsson for the trip after she completed her training as a ship’s boat operator.

“She is an amazing cadet and I thought the training would be excellent for her to further her career as a sea cadet,” she said.

Kutsak has trained with Valgardsson for three years and admired her leadership skills.

“She is an amazing leader. She has great attention to detail and is a very motivated girl (and) very good leader,” she said.

On the trip, Valgardsson participated in a rapid response exercise – extinguishing a fire on board a ship – and a navigation program manoeuvring the vessel and engines. She also completed maintenance and man-overboard drills.

“The one thing that I definitely learned how to do on this deployment was work with the crane and then engine room with the engineer, which was fun,” she said.

She began her career when she was eight years old, enrolled in the Navy League of Canada. She was there for five years but transferred to Sea Cadets side recently.

“I came over to the sea cadet side because I was really passionate about sailing and all things navy knowledge,” said Valgardsson. “My love and passion for it grew each passing minute.”

Valgardsson loves learning the hands on experience, the discipline and respect for others in the program. She learned much about herself as an individual in the last 10 years.

“I learned that I could do as much as I possibly can,” said Valgardsson. “I can be pushed, no matter how hard, to get the job done.”