Francis Castein has had a successful few years in the 2928 Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps in Truro. The 18-year-old recently received an award recognizing her service, dedication and exemplifying the highest standards of leadership as the corps’…
Beginning a new chapter
First appeared in: Truro Daily News – June 14, 2011
By: Monique Chiasson
When Francis Castein reflects on the career she is about to embark on, only one word comes to her mind.
“Indescribable,” said the 18-year-old from Manganese Mines.
Castein has completed her army cadet training in Truro and is about to enter a 10-year military contract with the Canadian Forces. The contract consists of a $40,000 a year scholarship for all five years at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. The other five years of her tenure will be employment as a military logistics officer.
Castein begins the journey when she is sworn into the Canadian Forces July 14.
In mid-August, she will attend a Canadian Forces initiation recruit camp in Quebec and then go to the Royal Military College.
“I know it’s going to be hard and I’m really scared, but I know I can do it. I want to ultimately be a military lawyer,” said Castein. “When I was 14 I said I wanted to do this. Everything I set out to accomplish I have done and this is an honour.”
The teenager’s accomplishments include beginning navy league cadets at age 10 and then entering the 2928 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, where she received the highest level (chief warrant officer) three years ago.
“It hasn’t been about me the last few years. It’s been about what I can give back in the corps and being a role model,” said Castein.
Other goals achieved include receiving the Colonel Robert Perron award for being the most physically fit cadet in Canada; making the top 12 Top Teens in Canada; participating in cadet and biathlon provincials as well as cadet nationals and a biathlon national event; and representing Nova Scotia in the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
She also has travelled to Australia and New Zealand for army cadet programs.
In addition, just last week, she received the Duke of Edinburgh Young Canadians Challenge gold award for her commitment to community service and volunteering, physical recreation and a letter-writing campaign to Canadian soldiers.
“Just getting by is not exciting. I work hard and am determined. When I tell myself I am going to do something, I do it,” said Castein.
Keri Winkelaar, the cadet corps’ previous commanding officer, has high praise for Castein.
“You joined at 12, so quiet and shy … look at you now: loud, outgoing and confident,” Winkelaar told Castein in a letter that was shared with the Truro Daily News.
“You never let us down, just kept getting better … Truro is going to miss your dedication and service,” added Winkelaar.
Castein thanks the town, her family, friends and the corps for their support in helping make her dreams come true.