Cadets test physical and mental strength

Ninety Australian Army cadets and 10 Australian Air Force cadets from across Australia gathered at Kokoda Barracks, Canungra, to participate in the annual Chief of Army Cadet Team Challenge (CACTC) last month.

CAPTION: An Australian Army cadet climbs the cargo net during the Chief of Army Cadet Team Challenge 2023 at Kokoda Barracks in Canungra, South Queensland. Story by Stacey Doyle. Photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel.

Each team went through multiple preselection stages to ensure that they had the required skills and knowledge to complete the activities and components of the challenge in a safe manner.

This year, the challenge was structured to push the physical and mental boundaries of the cadets.

Commander Australian Army Cadets South Queensland Brigade Colonel Scott Denner said the challenge helped cadets step into their potential and recognise what they are capable of.

“A key outcome of CACTC is that it improves the cadets’ personal resilience and raises their capability ceiling having overcome demanding tasks,” said Colonel Denner.

During the 48-hour period of the challenge, cadets completed 11 activities across Canungra, requiring hikes between each location, with some totalling over 8km with steep inclines.

The tropical terrain provided its own challenges with most of the cadets having to adapt to the new and changing conditions.

During the challenge, they walked about 30km through rain and mud to reach their night locations and rest.

On the second day of the challenge, cadets pushed through depleting energy levels, maintaining their stamina to stay in the running for a top-three finish.

CAPTIONAustralian Army cadets jump into a water obstacle during the Chief of Army Cadet Team Challenge 2023 at Kokoda Barracks in Canungra, South Queensland. Photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel.

They had to be self-aware and observant of their team members to ensure support was provided to anyone who was struggling.

“The top three teams all had a common factor that contributed to their achievement: teamwork,” Colonel Denner said.

“Being able to work efficiently in their teams was essential, with them relying on each other to push through the mental and physical constraints that came with the challenge.”

CAPTIONAustralian Army cadets wait their turn to complete an obstacle during the Chief of Army Cadet Team Challenge 2023 at Kokoda Barracks in Canungra, South Queensland. Photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel.

On completing the outfield activities, the cadets ran through the team confidence obstacle course at Kokoda Barracks.

They rallied together as a united front to tackle each obstacle with the Western Australia team coming out on top.

“The physical training instructors who guided the cadets through the course were extremely impressed with the endurance and high spirits the cadets showed after a gruelling 48 hours,” Colonel Denner said.

Every year, the Chief of Army Cadet Team Challenge enables cadets to put the skills they have learnt in their units from the cadet development continuum into practice, reinforcing their confidence in themselves and their confidence in the program.

To learn more about the youth development programs available through Defence, go to www.defenceyouth.gov.au.


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