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Arctic Bay cadet is a top shot

Arctic Bay cadet is a top shot
Karen Mackenzie
Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 24, 2007 

ARCTIC BAY - Arctic Bay teen Bob Barnabas aims to get the most out of his army cadet experience. 

The 14-year-old is taking part in local and national shooting competitions, and plans to continue training until he can become an instructor himself. 

Cadet Bob Barnabas, left, of 3045 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. in Arctic Bay takes a compass bearing during a field training exercise at Connaught National Army Cadet Summer Training Centre in Ottawa. He is assisted by fellow army cadet Kai Zhao of Brampton, Ont. Barnabas graduated from the six-week Cadet Leader Marksmanship course on Aug. 17. - photo courtesy of Department of National Defence/E.B. Landale 

"I always wanted to be an army cadet," he said. "My friends were in army cadets before I was, so I wanted to join." 

This past summer, the Grade 9 student spent six weeks in Ottawa with the Cadet Leader Marksmanship course, and competed against 99 other candidates from across Canada. 

By landing in the top 36, he'll travel back to Ottawa next year to take part in the six-week Army Cadet Leader Instructor Marksman course. He'll then have the opportunity to train with a higher gauge rifle, and participate in shooting competitions with provincial and national associations as well as the armed forces. 

Barnabas has a bit of an edge. Although relatively new to target shooting, like many kids in his community he's already an old hand with a gun. He shot his first seal when he was nine, and has made a few other kills of seal and ptarmigan since. 

It was his father, local MLA Levi Barnabas, who taught him how to shoot and hunt, he said. 

"My dad, he's really proud of me that I made it to the top 36," Barnabas said. 

The secret to his success is simple: practice and focus, he explained. 

"Every shot has got to be a good shot. I take three breaths and try not to move, that's about it," he said. 

Aside from his cadets and school, Barnabas also juggles a number of sports, like hockey, soccer and volleyball. 

"It tires me out, pretty much," he said with a laugh. 

The ambitious teen said he works hard and someday would like to follow his dad's footsteps as a politician, or maybe compete in an Arctic Winter Games biathlon. 

In the meantime, he'll focus on his shooting, schooling and some cross-country skiing. 

"I'm going to keep learning," he said.