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Elizabeth Stairs thriving in Air Cadets in Lewisporte


By DANETTE DOOLEY Special to TC Media Elizabeth Stairs of Lewisporte has shot assault rifles, flown in everything from a glider to a Hercules to a Griffon helicopter and raced in a national biathlon.

Elizabeth has yet to celebrate her 17th birthday.

All of these accomplishments, and her travels across the country, are thanks to her involvement in the cadet program as a member of the 617 Dambusters Air Cadet Squadron.

Elizabeth is about to add another feat to her long list of accomplishments.

A flight sergeant and drum major, she left for a week-long journey to France on June 27.

Thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion, Elizabeth will be embarking on trips to Beaumont Hamel, Vimy Ridge, and visiting numerous cemeteries and memorials.

“The first trip to Beaumont Hamel is a private tour of the memorial, and the second trip is for the 100th Anniversary of Beaumont Hamel,” the 16-year-old said.

 

Involvement

Elizabeth enjoys instructing her fellow cadets in marksmanship, leadership, biathlon, drill, sportsmanship, and basic cadet knowledge.

One of 10 children, she is homeschooled, with about half of her day taken up with academic studies including mathematics, English, economics, science and French. The other half is filled with other continuous activities such as quilting, photography, skiing, running, volunteering, babysitting, working at a local restaurant and spending time with her family.

“Sometimes we help with supper so you learn how to cook. My sisters and I made quilts this year,” she said. “We invite people into our homes, we bake things, we learn music. We are learning all the time.”

 

Elizabeth has yet to celebrate her 17th birthday.

All of these accomplishments, and her travels across the country, are thanks to her involvement in the cadet program as a member of the 617 Dambusters Air Cadet Squadron.

Elizabeth is about to add another feat to her long list of accomplishments.

A flight sergeant and drum major, she left for a week-long journey to France on June 27.

Thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion, Elizabeth will be embarking on trips to Beaumont Hamel, Vimy Ridge, and visiting numerous cemeteries and memorials.

“The first trip to Beaumont Hamel is a private tour of the memorial, and the second trip is for the 100th Anniversary of Beaumont Hamel,” the 16-year-old said.

 

Involvement

Elizabeth enjoys instructing her fellow cadets in marksmanship, leadership, biathlon, drill, sportsmanship, and basic cadet knowledge.

One of 10 children, she is homeschooled, with about half of her day taken up with academic studies including mathematics, English, economics, science and French. The other half is filled with other continuous activities such as quilting, photography, skiing, running, volunteering, babysitting, working at a local restaurant and spending time with her family.

“Sometimes we help with supper so you learn how to cook. My sisters and I made quilts this year,” she said. “We invite people into our homes, we bake things, we learn music. We are learning all the time.”

 

History

In applying to go on the trip to France, Elizabeth told the decision-makers about her family’s strong military history.

Her great-grandfather, Seeley Stairs, fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Her grandfather, Lynn Stairs, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force – in the area around Vimy - during the Second World War.

Her father Dean Stairs, served in the Canadian Army for over a decade. He was posted to Lahr, Germany for almost three years and has visited Vimy.

 

Travel

Elizabeth is no stranger to travel.

She represented Team NL in both the National Cadet Biathlon Competition in 2014 and the Atlantic Region Biathlon Competition in 2015.

She has also attended summer camps in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and was one of three Air Cadets from this province (other cadets from NL were Kyle Canning and Harrison Latham) to participate in the National Air Cadet Leadership Symposium in Ottawa in November 2015.

The cadets from this province soon made friendships with each other and with the other 37 cadets from across the country.

While the symposium focused on honing leadership skills, the cadets also toured Ottawa, and visited numerous sites including the Rideau Centre, National War Monument, National War Museum, and Parliament Hill. The trip also took the cadets to the Vintage Wings museum in Gatineau, Quebec.

“All of us cadets attended the Air Cadet League of Canada's 75th Anniversary Gala, which had guests from all across Canada,” Elizabeth said.

The trip provided the cadets with an opportunity to meet many influential people such as Canadian astronaut Lt.-Col. Jeremy Hansen; the president of the Air Cadet League of Canada, Donald Doern; and the first woman to fly with the renowned Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds Lt.-Col. (retired) Maryse Carmichael.

“It was an experience I will never forget,” Elizabeth said. “I learned things there that I will take with me for as long as I can. I made many new friends, and was able to see another part of the world that was previously new to me.”

Elizabeth is now looking forward to making memories in yet another part of the world that she has yet to experience.

Her goal in applying for the trip to France was to add The Trail of the Caribou to her list of personal accomplishments.

When she thinks about Beaumont Hamel, Elizabeth said, she ponders the sacrifice and bravery of the young soldiers.

Elizabeth is an avid photographer and plans on sharing what she has learned with her fellow cadets through a slide presentation when she arrives home.

“The military holds a special place in my heart, and it is my aim to show my respect for veterans and military personnel in whatever way I can.”

 

danette@nl.rogers.com

 

 

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