© Christopher Gooding photo
Frankie Powers has a lot of memories of South Korea to reflect on after being chosen for an international exchange, a program that is only open to about 30 Canadian sea cadets each year.
AMHERST – An Amherst man was given the opportunity to explore a small part of the other side of the planet thanks to his dedication to the local sea cadet program.
Frankie Powers, CPO1 with the Amherst Sea Cadets, is starting a new adventure next week when he travels to Peterborough O.N., to begin his post-secondary education studies. It means saying goodbye to the local cadets and his mentors, but the cadet program offered him one last adventure not everyone gets to experience. Powers was one of 30 cadets chosen this year for an international exchange to South Korea this summer.
“His record was exemplary,” Helen Triff, Commanding Officer for the local Amherst Sea Cadets, said. “Sea Cadets have five international exchanges they can go to. The idea is to promote citizenship… a variety of cadets apply but the decision who get to go is made on an international level. For Frankie to be selected was quite something.”
It’s been six years since a member of the Amherst Sea Cadets has been chosen to participate in the international exchange, and Powers rose to the challenge. Tasked with learning about one aspect of South Korean culture – food – Powers presented and guided his colleagues on what to expect when they arrived, but even then there were still surprise in store.
“The food is pretty unique. Kimchi – which is like a pickled cabbage – is in everything,” Powers said. “There’s rice with every meal, including breakfast, which I didn’t mind. I like rice.”
Powers was presented with a number of sight seeing opportunities during his three-week excursions, especially to war memorials and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, which were at war with one another until 1953 and continue to have strained relations to this day.
“We went to museums on the conflict, went in the tunnels that were made,” Powers said.
It was a nice way to end his career, Powers said.
In order for cadets to qualify for the international exchange, cadets must show good ability, follow the rules, and attend summer camps, including a six-week camp, before applying. With 32 members in the Amherst Seas Cadets, there’s still the prospect the next international exchange could include another local youth.
The Amherst Sea Cadets will recommence another year, beginning Sept. 17. Anyone interested in becoming a sea cadet must be between the ages of 12 and 19, and can learn more by visiting the armories on Tuesdays between 6 and 6:30 p.m. when the program begins for another year.