2012 Amazon Expedition: “Change your life by changing someone else’s”

 Article by 25743 OCdt (III) Stacey Litjens Cusan

VESA (Volunteer Eco Students Abroad) has been a large contributor towards helping students from all over the world travel to countries like Fiji, Ecuador, and Africa in order to provide them with a unique volunteer and adventure program. As you may already be aware, the 2012 Amazon Expedition team will be travelling with VESA into the thick of the jungles in Ecuador this coming August.

My name is Stacey Litjens Cusan from Oakville, Ontario and I will soon be going into my fourth year of Civil Engineering at the Royal Military College of Canada. As the Amazon Expedition team leader I have been managing and overlooking all of the preparations that have gone into the planning on this Expedition. I cannot even begin to describe to you the diversity of tasks that were and are still required to be completed prior to the team’s takeoff in the airport.

OCdt Kai Zhao (2IC) and OCdt Stacey Cusan (Expedition Leader)

When I accepted the responsibility of the team leader… I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I have learned so much these past couple of months as to how to properly get my team motivated and prepared to leave the country as representatives of the Royal Military College of Canada. I could not have done this without the help and mentorship from 25982 OCdt (III) Colin Strong, the Expedition Club President, and 25881 OCdt (III) Anthony Matlock, the Club founder and 2011/12 Kilimanjaro Expedition team leader.

Upon getting to know my teammates and working with them in the planning stages of the Expedition, I realized how different we all are and I learned about all the different assets that we each bring to the team. However, in the past couple of weeks I have particularly come to realize that there is, in fact, one characteristic in each and every member on the team that is exactly the same. This particular characteristic is what brings us together, in a way that is stronger than anything else ever could be. We are all young adults willing to take a chance, willing to immerse ourselves in the unknown, willing to help others less fortunate than ourselves, and willing to accept the possibility of change in our lives.

This trip will bring new and exciting experiences that will be different for every single person on the team. I believe that an important aspect of leadership is to facilitate and provide opportunity for these life-changing experiences. This Expedition will be the perfect opportunity for the entire team, not just for my 2IC (26549 OCdt (I) Kai Zhao) and myself, to develop their leadership skills. We have a very young team, but I still expect great things from all of the members because I know that they are capable.

To the 2012 Amazon Expedition team: Your life will be changed because you have chosen to help change the life of others. Be confident in yourselves, be understanding towards others, and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Good luck on your summer training and I’ll see you in August at the Airport!



Le club d’expédition du CMRC sur l’ile de Baffin

Par 26268 Élof (I) Stéphanie Paquette, 2012 Baffin Expedition Leader

Du 4 au 15 août 2012 aura lieu l’expédition Baffin Ultra 2012. Ceci est une nouvelle aventure du Club d’expédition du CMRC durant laquelle deux élèves officiers iront Jusqu’aux bouts du Monde. L’Élof (I) Stéphanie Paquette (chef de l’expédition) et l’Élof (II) Andrew Jarvis compléteront un ultramarathon de 100 km sans support extérieur en utilisant le passage Akshayuk sur l’île de Baffin, au Nunavut.

OCdts Paquette (left) and Jarvis are committed to a 100km ultramarathon across Baffin Island in August

L’île de Baffin, plus grande île au Canada et cinquième plus grande île au monde, est connue comme étant l’un des plus magnifiques endroits sur la Terre. Cependant, la température froide et imprévisible de la région ainsi que les nombreuses traverses de rivières le long du passage Akshayuk seront les défis physiques et mentaux majeurs lors du parcours de cet ultramarathon.

Afin de courir cette distance le plus efficacement possible, les membres de l’expédition devront utiliser leurs compétences en navigation ainsi que leur capacité à prendre des décisions critiques.

Ce séjour au nord du cercle polaire sera aussi une opportunité pour les Élofs d’en apprendre davantage sur le peuple inuit ainsi que la culture des communautés du  nord du Canada.

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