Australian Air League Cadet of the Year – 2008

On the weekend of 15th/17th February 2008, the National Staff and the Executive Commissioners had the pleasure, and honour, to spend a Saturday and Sunday with the ‘cream’ of the Australian Air League’s youth membership.

The candidates were:

Corporal Aaron Daniels Victoria Boys
Senior Cadet Lyndsie Delarue South Australia Girls
Sergeant Michelle Mish-Wills Queensland Girls
Corporal Jaislie Moers New South Wales Girls
Sergeant Kristen Orphanos Victoria Girl
Senior Cadet Lyndsie Delarue South Australia Girls
Corporal Daniel Purnell New South Wales Boy
Corporal Michal Stanek South Australia Boys
Sergeant Jacob White Queensland Boys


The selection of the Cadet of the Year 2007/8 took place in Sydney, in conjunction with the meeting of the Council of the Australian Air League.

On the evening of Friday 16th, the candidates from Queensland and New South Wales Boys’ Groups together with the Executive Commissioners from Victoria and Queensland Groups, joined by the National Finance Commissioner and myself, and visited Riverwood and Padstow Boys’ Squadrons.

On Saturday 16th February the members who arrived in Sydney the day before were transported to Sydney airport where Gp Comr Andrew Dennis – the NSWBG Education Commissioner -, met them and their counterparts from South Australia and Victoria. From the airport, the party travelled to Camden Airport for the day and on arrival met the candidate from New South Wales Girls.  During the day they all experienced the operations at Camden, joined in social atmosphere for lunch, as well as enjoying a flight in their choice of the Warrior or the RV6.

Later in the day they travelled back to their accommodation at Travelodge Bankstown where they settled in prior to dinner where they were joined by the Chair of the Council of the Australian Air League Inc., the League’s Public Officer as well as the National Commissioners and the Executive Commissioners.
After dinner all moved to a private room where all candidates made brief presentation on the subject of the Australian Air League, their involvement, their aspirations and how the AAL has/is or could assist them to achieve their goals.

The next day, Sunday after breakfast, all assembled at Narwee and whilst the four Executive Commissioners met to discuss cooperation between their Groups the National Commissioner aided by Gp Lt Michel Hodge, conducted the selection process for the 2007/8 Cadet of Year.

Any of the nominated entries would be able to represent our Organisation with pride.

They were judged for their response to the following criteria having been told that we were selecting an Ambassador to represent the Organisation:-

•    Their presentation and ability to make a presentation to a Group.
•    Their knowledge of the AAL and its operation covering Field, Administration, Education and Air Activities.  Also, a number of topical general knowledge and aviation based subjects were included.
•    Their Dress and Bearing, both in uniform and casual attire.
•    Their personality and ability to mix with others.
•    The ability to express themselves and communicate with all ages.
•    Their behaviour, attitude and manners when attending the Restaurant as a group as well as their behaviour and attitude when left overnight in the Motel under the indirect supervision of Senior Officers.
•    Their behaviour and attitude at Camden Airport
•    Ability to drill a section
•    Standard of uniform and its wearing.

The selection process was extremely difficult as no candidate stood out from amongst their peers but all those involved had differing strong points in their approach over our time together.

After a long period of discussion and soul searching, taking into account all factors, it was decided that the National Cadets of the Year were:-

Sergeant Michelle Mish-Wills      Bundaberg Girls’ Squadron, Queensland Group.
Corporal Aaron Daniels     Berwick Boys’ Squadron, Victoria Group.

Another departure from previous practice this year is the announcement of the Runners Up to the Cadet of the Year 2007/2008.

The runners up were:

Sergeant Kristen Orphanos      Berwick Girls’ Squadron, Victoria Group.
Corporal Daniel Purnell    City of Lithgow Squadron, New South Wales Boys’ Group.

After lunch, at the New Wales Boy’s Group Training Centre, the results were announced in front of the National Commissioners and Executive Commissioners.  Cadet of the Year badges were presented to the winning candidates. On behalf of the Australian Air League Inc., may I extend hearty congratulations to the winners and commiserations to their colleagues who were unsuccessful.

To miss out on selection in such company is no disgrace as those selected were truly outstanding in all aspects and their Parents and Officers can be very proud of them.

It has been decided by the Council of the Australian Air League inc. that the 2008/2009 Cadet of the Year selection will be conducted in Melbourne, in conjunction with the meeting of the Council of the League, over the weekend of 15th and 16th February 2009.


Chief Comr. Ian Rickards, LM., DSA., MSA
Chief Commissioner



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