The Air Cadet League of Canada- Ontario Provincial Committee held its annual Effective Speaking competition on Sunday 27 March 2022, albeit virtually this year. The winner of this year’s competition was Sgt Zoё Noort-Sigurdson, an air cadet with the 325 Cornwall Kiwanis Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron. Her prepared speech was on Canadian history and her self-reflection on the importance of remembrance. She will be advancing to the provincial level competition in April.
Sgt Noort-Sigurdon’s speech reflected on forces members’ grave sites, and the importance of remembering those who served. “Some of these brave heroes have been resting in these cemeteries so long, they no longer have friends or families to come by and visit- someone needs to remember them, what they’ve done for us” reads part of her speech.
The competition saw cadets from air cadet squadrons in Wing 5 compete with a 5-6 minute prepared speech and a 2-3 minute impromptu speech. Wing 5 covers seven squadron from within the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Area. Due to the virtual nature of the competition, cadets were also groups with Wing 8 cadets, which encompasses squadrons from Oshawa and east to Gananoque. The organizer of the competition was Maj (ret’d) Lewis Jenkins who had members of local Toastmasters clubs volunteer as judges, while also providing valuable feedback.
The Effective Speaking competition is an annual event hosted by the Air Cadet League of Canada, with local, provincial, and national levels of competition. Cadets are provided topics from which they can select and prepare their speech. The purpose of the effective speaking competition is to provide opportunity for air cadets to find their voice and build self-confidence through patience, instruction, and competition.
When asked about what she looks forward to the most with the upcoming provincial competition, she replied “I’m most looking forward to hearing my fellow competitors’ speeches. There was such a wide variety of interesting speech topics this year, I can’t wait to see what other people have chosen to do! I had fun at the local competition hearing other people’s speeches, and I’m sure there will be far more speeches to listen to at the provincial level!”
Due to restrictions with the pandemic, this year the preparation phase for the effective speaking competition at the squadron did not occur. This resulted in Sgt Noort-Sigurdson preparing her speech, practicing for several hours to perfect her tone and voice, while evolving her skills independently. This is a remarkable achievement as she has not participated in the competition in the past.