Twelve-year-old Charity Cole doesn’t have much free time these days, but she likes it that way.
Somewhere between weekly commitments for curling, violin, Girl Guides and swimming clubs, Charity found enough energy to be named the top Navy League Cadet on Vancouver Island this year. And that wasn’t all.
“At our annual ceremonial review on June 1, they announced I was receiving the national Cadet of Excellence Award,” she said with a shy smile.
Her beaming mother, Dana, said Charity was chosen out of more than 7,000 Navy League cadets across Canada for the honour and made the entire Admiral Raynor cadet corps proud.
“We’re very proud of what Charity’s accomplished, but we also want to say what a wonderful program we have for our community with cadets,” Dana said in her home overlooking Esquimalt harbour. “There’s a lot of folks that can’t afford to do a lot with their kids and this a fantastic program to get involved in.”
Kids ages 9 to 13 can join Navy League Cadets at a fee that’s much more affordable than most extracurricular activities, she said. The weekly classes at Esquimalt legion range from drills to First Aid training to marching band.
“I play the bass drum for band,” Charity said.
“She goes outside when she practices,” adds Dana, laughing.
Dana said anyone wanting to get a sense of the commitment of young cadets can watch their weekly parade at the Esquimalt legion, 622 Admirals Rd., on Wednesday evenings.
Charity is debating whether to move on to Sea Cadets or Army Cadets when she turns 13, but for now she’ll just be working to keep up with her busy schedule.
“(This award) has a lot to do with community involvement,” she said. “I love what I do with cadets.”