Local Navy League Cadet earns top award

Prince George is home to the top Navy League Cadet in the province.

Dante Meyer, 11, was recently awarded the accolade in the form of the Medal of Excellence which he now wears over the right pocket of his uniform. And if he decides to pursue a career in the military, he will be able to continue to wear it as he progresses up the ranks.

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It is awarded on the basis of leadership, marksmanship, drill team and first aid skills. But you don't have to be perfect.

"We watch the kids as they come up through the program and really they're asked for only one thing - effort," said Lt. (NL) Tom Taylor. "Even if their effort doesn't produce the best, stellar performance, putting in the effort that's what we're looking for. But in a group like that, there are always the ones that shine a little bit more."

Navy League is open to youth ages nine to 12, and Meyer began pestering his mother, Shawna, to join when he was as young as three years old.

"My cousins," he said simply when asked why he wanted to join.

Meyer excelled as a drill team captain and led a team that finished in the top three out of 11 in a first aid competition. Along the way, he's also learned such skills as the phonetic alphabet used by the military and semaphore - the system of flags used in the navy to send messages to other ships. Some outdoor adventure training has also been thrown into the mix.

Other attractions include a summer camp at the HMCS Discovery in Stanley Park.

"I like the leadership skills you can obtain, the sense of responsibility," Meyer said. "Not like 'okay, I'm here, can you do this for me? ' And I like how you have to earn your position, it's not a given."

Meyer is the third member of the local Navy League Cadet Corp., known as 142 Aurora, to earn the medal. Past recipients are Vincent Toderovich and Cameron Taylor.

"They earn everything they get," Taylor said. "They don't get it just because they show up, they earn everything."

Starting in September and continuing through the school year, NLCC 142 Aurora meets every Monday at the Connaught Youth Centre, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

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