She's hauled a sled up a snow-covered mountain in Labrador, gone glacier trekking in the Canadian Rockies and, most recently, she traversed the remote Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile - and she's only 17. Chief Warrant Officer Jenna Parsons, a member of the 2615 Victoria Lions Army Cadet Corps in Victoria, NL, is a true adventurer and her latest journey was a particularly impressive one. Jenna was one of 18 youth selected from across Canada for the prestigious International Expedition, an experience designed to push the mental and physical limits of the country’s top cadets. For her, it was the culmination of six years of intense preparation in her cadet corps.
“I’m still really humbled,” says Jenna of being selected from more than 5,000 cadets who applied to participate. “I don’t know how many times when I was actually in Chile that I said, ‘I can’t believe I made it this far.’”
One of the highlights for Jenna was getting a close-up view of the Grey Glacier - a massive ice field that makes our icebergs look tiny by comparison.
“When we kayaked by Glacier Grey, we were so close we could almost reach out and touch it,” says Jenna. “Just being so close to such a site was incredible.”
“You’d wake up in the morning and your laces would be frozen on your boots,” recalls Jenna. “Then you’d have to take down your tent and your hands would be so cold.”
But it was overcoming those challenges that made the journey such a gratifying experience for her.
“You’re looking at grave stone upon grave stone and a lot of them were people my age, and I felt like those hurt the most, those hit home the most,” says Jenna. “There’s times where you just stood up and everyone was silent and you’d have tears streaming down your face just because it was so powerful and so emotional.”
Jenna says that travel - whether it be in her own province or on another continent - will always be a passion of hers, and she hopes to ignite that same fire in the cadets coming up the ranks behind her. To that end, this summer she plans to work at the Argonaut Cadet Training Centre in New Brunswick.