Major Brenda Aumonier poses with her Commander’s Coin with Brigadier General Dave Cochrane, Commander Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group (right), and Formation Chief Warrant Officer Bill Crawford (left) on July 9. - Submitted photo

Parksville resident finds purpose leading youth in cadet program

Brenda Aumonier is spending her summer doing what she loves most

Parksville resident Brenda Aumonier is spending her summer doing what she loves most — serving youth and community building. As a high school autism support worker, Aumonier has always had a heart for helping others succeed. This summer she is the Basic Squadron Commander at Albert Head Cadet Training Centre (CTC), and building a village of support for the cadets in her squadron is her No. 1 priority.

Growing up, Aumonier first gained exposure to the cadet program with 676 ‘Kittyhawk’ RCACS in Sidney, B.C. She attributes her early affiliation as having given her a positive value base and the structure she needed to succeed as a young adult. The officers in her unit took note of her potential, helping her earn glider pilot and power pilot scholarships so that she could earn her wings and get the flight hours needed to become a gliding instructor and tow pilot. As a way to stay involved and give back, Aumonier joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2004 as a Cadet Instructors Cadre Officer.

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When not at summer training, Aumonier serves as the Commanding Officer of 893 Beaufort Squadron -Royal Canadian Air Cadets in Parksville. Her primary goal as an officer is to give the youth under her command a community that nurtures positive self image and an attitude of success.

“Without opportunities to observe what success looks like, cadets may struggle to build success into their own lives,” Aumonier said. “It’s important for youth in those transition years to understand where they can build success, and I see cadets as a safe space for them to challenge themselves and try new things.”

In her own life, Aumonier seeks opportunities to give back even beyond her role with her unit. She sees the opportunity to serve at Albert Head CTC as a chance to use her skills and to collaborate with other leaders. With 12 years of experience serving at CTCs under her belt, Aumonier has a great deal of value to offer.

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“My favourite part of the summer is walking around in the evening and getting a chance to check in with each of the cadets, because they are so keen to reach out,” Aumonier said. “As you walk by, they want to share little pieces of who they are. I try to make a point of stopping to see that they’re enjoying things and to show them that we know who they are, that there is a personal connection here.”

Aumonier will work alongside dozens of other CAF officers at Albert Head CTC this summer delivering curriculum in leadership, aviation, fitness, survival and music. She is just one example of many Canadians who choose to don the uniform and serve youth as CIC officers with the Canadian Armed Forces.

— NEWS staff, submitted

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