Sturgeon Lake cadets earn Christmas Spirit award at inaugural Hunger Games showdown

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald. Cadets, officers, first responders, and event volunteers pose for a photo following the first Cops vs Cadets: Hunger Games event at the Prince Albert Grand Council Urban Services Gym on Wednesday. Together, the cadets and first responders raised more than $7,600 in food supplies and donations for homeless and low-income residents.

Members of the PAGC First Nations Cadet Corps had a chance to rub shoulders with emergency services personnel and help out those in need at the revived Cops vs Cadets showdown, dubbed the Hunger Games, on Wednesday.

The Sturgeon Lake Division of the First Nations Cadets walked away with the Christmas Spirit Award after accumulating the most donations and food for the PAGC hamper program. Cpl. Braiden Roberts of the Sturgeon Lake Division said they were happy to do their part.

“We don’t want anybody to go hungry,” Roberts said. “We want everyone to have a great Christmas. It’s just sad to see people go hungry, so we decided to take it into our own hands to try and at least help out.”

In total, the cadets and first responders raised more than $7,600 in items and monetary donations for the hamper program.

Supporting the hamper program was one of two goals the Cadet Corps had on Wednesday. The other was a chance to meet and speak with first responders.

Roberts is currently a Grade 10 student, but said he’s thinking about joining the RCMP when he graduates. He appreciated the change to meet a few police officers at the Wednesday event.

He also said he enjoyed the change to compete against them in volleyball, blindman relay, and other events.

“It was a blast,” Roberts said. “I had so much fun. I will admit, it was scary at first because I wasn’t too sure who I was up against, but now that I know everyone, got a chance to meet a few other people, shake hands, it’s been pretty great.”

Parkland Ambulance walked away with top prize after finishing first in the first three events. Team captain Kathia Gies, a Parkland PCP, said they were happy for the opportunity to give back to the community.

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald
Members of the Parkland Ambulance Care Ltd. team pose with the championship trophy after finishing in first place.

“I know that’s our job. We do it every day, but giving back in a different way is another great thing that we were able to contribute with,” she said.

Gies was also thankful for the opportunity to meet cadets who may one day become paramedics.

“It’s huge,” she said. “Just getting them interested is a huge part, then learning about the service, and what our job is about, and (showing them) that we’re just normal people. We just do our job day-to-day, and it’s anybody can do it.”

Jason Kerr/Daily Herald
Cadets pile boxes of donated food on top of each other following the conclusion of Hunger Games at the PAGC Urban Services gym.

PAGC Justice Director Rick Sanderson said this year’s event was a “beta test” for next year, when they plan to host a day-long event in early December instead of an evening event so close to Christmas.

Sanderson also said they hope to give participants more time to raise support for the hamper program.

@kerr_jas •