Kelly Bain introduced Danica Old and Caitlin Bain to the Rotary Club of Pinjarra meeting last Thursday evening (24th September 2020). Danica (a year 11 student) and Caitlin (year 8) are members of the 504 Western Australian Army Cadet Unit, based in Mandurah.
Both young ladies spoke enthusiastically, explaining how they thoroughly enjoy their cadet experience, and look forward to the weekly gatherings of the Cadets.
Danica has been a member of the unit for some years, and has worked her way through the levels of rank; she is currently an acting Sergeant and on completion of her accreditation course, will be confirmed with the rank. She aspires to complete a Cadet Under-Officer course in early 2021.
Caitlin is one of the newer members of the unit.
Caitlin and Danica
504 Army Cadet Unit is one of three Australian Defense Force Cadet units, and the only Army Cadet Unit in the Peel region, south of Perth. It is one of the 20 plus units that make up the Western Australia Australian Army Cadets Brigade. It is part of 53 Battalion, which administers the southern WA units. It is an inclusive organisation open to 13-19 year old young Australians. The Unit parades on Wednesday nights from 1800h to 2100h (6:00pm to 9:00pm) during the school term. On average two weekend activities are held per term, with the unit usually deploying to a bush training area outside of Perth. Annual camp, where all the units in WA come together, is usually held in the September/October school holidays for 9 days. The unit also participates in other local Community Service activities.
Vision - The Australian Army Cadets is a leading national youth development organisation, with the character and values of the Australian Army, founded on a strong community partnership, fostering and supporting an ongoing interest in the Australian Army.
Purpose - The Australian Army Cadets is a personal development program for young people, conducted by the Australian Army in cooperation with the community, which is designed to benefit the nation by developing the individual, their community and the Australian Army.
Values - The Australian Army Cadets adopts the values of the Australian Army - Courage, Initiative, Respect and Teamwork - to empower youth to achieve their potential.
Danica and Caitlin both described that by being Army Cadets, they have gained self-confidence and life skills which include: the confidence to attempt and develop new skills; making friends that are not necessarily from their own school; boosting self-confidence; the enjoyment from the camp opportunities; developing a sense of community; and the opportunity to take on challenges. 
We heard that although the Federal Government provides uniforms, the funds needed to operate the unit must be raised locally. This can be stressful; for example the hiring of a bus to transport the group of cadets to a Bindoon military camping area is more than $500.
Danica is keen to remain involved in the Cadet Unit as she would like to be a doctor. It is her intention to apply for a Defence University Sponsorship (DUS), which will require her to remain in the Army for the number of years of university sponsorship plus one year (with a minimum of three years of service). 
Caitlyn is leaving her options open at this stage and is exploring what is next.
Members thoroughly enjoyed this talk and were delighted to listen to the girls.  Many of our members have been cadets in the past (during their own school years) when things were very different! One member recalled that he could strip and reassemble a Bren gun very quickly. He was (quite properly) put in his place when Danica noted she could strip and reassemble the F88 Austeyr assault rifle (which is the ADF 's standard individual weapon) in 15 seconds.
Gordon McLarty thanked the girls for their fantastic talk.