858 Skookumchuk Squadron Field Training Exercise (FTX) at Camp Burley

Over the span of two-and-a-half wet, sweaty days, 858’s cadets had the chance to experience the true outdoors at Camp Burley on Mixal Lake in Garden Bay, BC. After meeting at Davis Bay Elementary School at 4PM and jumping onto a bus for an hour long ride to the campground, cadets were dropped off in the black of night, guided to their cabins and briefed about the weekend’s events, then, after an hour of fun skits and karaoke, went to the warmth and comfort of their sleeping bags.

At 7:00 AM Saturday morning, the cadets awoke to a “delicious” banquet of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), gorging themselves on vast amounts of calories, and drinking bags of fruity electrolytes.

The morning began with a half hour of physical training, preparing the cadets for the day’s activities. Stretches, push-ups and a variety of other exercises got the cadets ready for the day ahead, and afterward, everyone split off into their assigned groups and began the weekend’s plethora of activities. From shelter building, map and compass training, orienteering, mountain climbing and even a canoe expedition out on the lake, the cadets were exposed to a variety of scenarios built to prepare them for a “downed pilot” situation.

When night eventually came, after a buffet of packaged dinner options (more MREs), some adventurous cadets braved the cold and wet of the autumn rains and slept in the shelters they had made earlier in the day. Others spent the night back in the cabins, which happened to be not much better in terms of waterproofing.

Can you say ‘leaky roof’? It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence that night.

At the end of the weekend, the cadets were driven back to Davis Bay Elementary School by bus and greeted by the welcomed sight of their parents.

Through the cadet program, Sunshine Coast youth get to have incredible, once in a lifetime experiences such as this, where friendships are forged, limits are pushed and dreams are crafted. It’s events like these that give cadets the tools and experience to prepare them for their futures; testing their endurance and demonstrating their prowess in teamwork building skills and citizenship.

Interested in joining or volunteering with 858 Skookumchuk? Please drop us a note via our contact page!