FCpl. John Colley of the Castlegar 581 Squadron won third place in the Air Cadet’s Kootenay Wing Effective Speaking Competition on Saturday.

FCpl. John Colley of the Castlegar 581 Squadron won third place in the Air Cadet’s Kootenay Wing Effective Speaking Competition on Saturday.

Castlegar cadet wins third at speech competition

FCpl. John Colley of the Castlegar 581 Squadron won third place in the Air Cadet’s Kootenay Wing Effective Speaking Competition on Saturday.

A Castlegar cadet won third place in an effective speaking competition on Saturday.

FCpl. John Colley of the Castlegar 581 Squadron won third place in the Air Cadet’s Kootenay Wing Effective Speaking Competition after giving a prepared speech on his first flight and an impromptu speech.

Five cadets two from the Castlegar squadron, two from 552 Key City Cranbrook Squadron and one from 841 Boundary Squadron participated in the competition and each got to prepare a speech on a topic chosen from a list of eight. Following a brief intermission, each then had three minutes to prepare an impromptu speech about three uses for a pencil other than writing.

One of Colley’s suggested uses for a pencil was to use it as a weapon in the event of the zombie apocalypse.

Asked why he chose to write about his first flight, Colley said, “I chose it because it was something I could talk about and something people could relate to.”

This was Colley’s second year competing in effective speaking and he was pleased with how much he’s improved.

“I did miles better than I did last year,” he said. “I think I improved on making sure that there weren’t as many ‘uh’s’ and‘and’s’ and ‘likes.’”

First place went to Sgt. Sierra Blackwell of the Key City Cranbrook Squadron who also gave a prepared speech about her first flight.

“I thought that it was a story-based topic more than some touchy subjects that could be more biased. I didn’t want to bring a hugely biased speech,” she said of her choice of topic.

This was Blackwell’s fourth time participating in the competition, but the first time that she’ll be advancing onto provincials to represent the Kootenay Wing. She was shocked by her win and looks forward to representing the area.

Second place also went to a cadet from the the Key City Cranbrook Squadron. FSgt. Cameron Hewison prepared speech was about the importance of community service and citizenship activities.

“I just believe that helping one another is a very forgotten subject in our community. I think it’s very important that everyone is helping each other out,” he said of his topic. “I think community service is a huge thing because everyone in the general public and our society needs to start thinking about what we can do to serve others on an everyday basis.”

Air Cadets receive training from members of the Air Cadet League on effective speaking before competing among their squadron to see who will advance to the Wing competition.

Their prepared speeches must be between five and six minutes and their impromptu speeches must be between two and three minutes, or they receive a penalty.

The competition is sponsored by WestJet, who will fly the BC Wing winners to provincials in the Lower Mainland and provincial winners to nationals, which also happen to be in the Lower Mainland this year.

Judges for the competition were chosen from the community.

“Judges are people from the community that are not in any way associated with the cadets, so that there’s no bias, but they are people who have some experience with public speaking, with judging and so on, so that they do a very good job on actually finding the cadet to go on to the next step of the competition,” explained Joan Irvine, BC provincial coordinator of effective speaking for the Air Cadet League.

Gerry Rempel, commanding officer for the Castlegar Squadron, was very pleased with how the afternoon went.

It’s nice to see cadets from Cranbrook and Grand Forks and Castlegar and I think it went very well,” he said. “It’s nice to see lots of cadets come out and do this. It’s quite a life skill.”