TOUGH STUFF: Chinchilla cadets, Corporal Tiarna Toynton and Sergeant Kiara Speirs.
TOUGH STUFF: Chinchilla cadets, Corporal Tiarna Toynton and Sergeant Kiara Speirs. Brooke Duncan

CALL FOR RECRUITS: Cadets look for adventurous souls

YOUTH may dream of action and adventure, but the truth is there's plenty of both waiting right on their doorstep.

That's the word from the Chinchilla cadets.

The unit has just returned from a weekend bivouac and is on the lookout for new recruits to share in their escapades.

Corporal Tiarna Toynton, 17, joined the unit three years ago, after her mum insisted she do something outside of school and her brother joined as well.

She hasn't looked back.

"I really enjoy the fact that we're basically like a family here, we all look out for each other, we're all grouped together, we talk to each other outside of cadets, we've become really really close,” Tiarna said.

"But on top of that we also have our structure, we also know who to listen to and all of that and I really love the routine of everything.”

For 16-year-old Sergeant Kiara Speirs, she joined four years ago out of an eagerness to try something new.

Having completed courses in Brisbane, met - and stayed in touch - with cadets across the country, and been on numerous camps, the decision has definitely paid off.

Chinchilla branch Captain (AAC) Wade McCullough said the unit currently has 20 cadets but can accommodate up to 39.

While he couldn't be certain on the reason for lower numbers, he said competition with other endeavours - particularly those involving screens - were likely part of the challenge, along with a misconception that joining cadets meant a young person was headed for the army.

"We'll use the army rank structure, and the army discipline, and the army support us because a lot do join the army and they think this is great, but there's no obligation whatsoever to join the defence force having been a cadet,” Cpt McCullough said.

For him, one of the "biggest kicks” is watching the transformation when young people do join up.

"When you see them as littlies come along and they're all sort of shy and quiet, don't know left from right sort of thing, to see the change in them over the years that they're in it is always great,” he said.

"Not saying they're bad or anything, just the change in their personalities and that because of the fact that they mix, they take on these leadership roles, are put in these leadership roles, and they come to shine at times.”

For Tiarna, cadets has been a journey of self-discovery and self-confidence.

"I definitely think it allows you to find that person inside of you. So before I came here I was super quiet, I didn't talk, I didn't socialise in a group,” she said.

"But here I'm now able to do public speaking, I can put my voice out there, I'm now considered very loud, and basically don't stop talking.”

At the heart of it all for Kiara are the incredible shared experiences.

"If I had to tell someone or explain to someone what cadets is about and if I tried to get them into cadets I would tell them some of my experiences, and I would tell them it's so much fun and these experiences stay with you,” she said.

To find out more you can come along to a cadet meeting - they're held once a fortnight on Sunday from 9am to 2pm. The next meeting will be on June 23.

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