Helayna Albert found program’s challenges were improbable, not impossible to handle
- EFN Staff | November 05, 2019
Helayna Albert from the Sweetgrass First Nation was excited to embark on a journey that built her endurance and strength. She wanted to follow the footsteps of a family member who was also a Bold Eagle cadet.
“My sister went in 2016 and told me it was a good program to join. said to look into it so I did,” she said. “I was selected and passed tests and made it into Bold Eagle.”
It was a rewarding yet tough journey for Albert, 17, as she discovered strengths this summer that she did not know she had.
“It’s really hard. It’s mentally challenging and everything is challenging but you get used to it. It gets hard then it gets easy and it gets hard again,” she said.
Albert said their day to day routine consisted of waking up at 5am to do physical training followed by breakfast at 6. Then classes start at 8am followed by inspections, drills, more physical training and cleaning up before bedtime at 11pm.
This challenging summer delivers hands-on skills development, encourages teamwork, provides physical fitness training and promotes self-discipline, self-confidence, time management, respect and fitness.
During her time in the Bold Eagle program, Albert found herself looking up to Master Corporal Mahekan Ahenakew.
“He’s in touch with his culture and does his job very well,” she said. “He’s a great role model to the kids in the Bold Eagle program.”
Although Albert is unsure if she wants to pursue a career in the army after she completes high school, she said she will be taking the skills she gained and apply them in her daily life adding that she will cherish the everlasting memories that were created.
“I like all the friendships [I’ve made] and you become one family. You get close to so many people you never knew,” she said. “The self-discipline is really sticking with me. The experience is really good.”
Albert’s advice to other youth who want to consider joining the Bold Eagle program is to not be afraid to try something new and challenging.
“If you’re thinking about it and think it’s too hard, it’s not. We were told it’s not impossible, it’s improbable. Just get through it. It will get really tough and you will get lonely for home but everything is all worth it in the end,” she said. “You come out with a good experience and a different attitude and mindset on things. I encourage the youth to try it and do your best.”
The Bold Eagle Program takes place in Wainwright, Alberta.