by Jack Lawrie
ANZAC Day is an important day for the Australian Army Cadets, giving them an opportunity to showcase their acquired leadership skills while also honouring the soldiers whose legacies inspire them.
In Monto, 15-year-old Cadet Company Sergeant Major Lani Pickering will lead the combined school service on April 24 and the Dawn Service on Anzac Day for the first time.
Having taken part in services for the last three years in the Catafalque party, this year she will command the drill parade in full.
"The previous years I had a rifle and was using it doing the rifle drills; it was a bit nerve-wracking but quite enjoyable,” Lani said.
"This year I won't have a rifle, I'll just be calling the commands.”
"I am looking forward to it, but I am a bit nervous.”
Lani was inspired to join the cadets by her older brother, Ryan Pickering, who is currently undertaking general training at Kapooka and led the Monto Anzac parade last year.
"He really encouraged me to come down and have a look and I did and really enjoyed every aspect of it,” she said.
At a young age, she has already undertaken the high level Cadet Under Officer and Warrant Officer leadership course, making her eligible to promote to CUO or Warrant Officer when she turns 16 later this year.
Last year at the Cadets' annual camp, she was made company commander and put in charge of 100 cadets, with ages ranging from 13 to 19.
Lani said it was interesting being put in a leadership position over people older than her.
"They generally don't like taking orders from someone younger than them, but they do respect that I have a higher rank than them,” she said.
"For the Anzac service, it'll be the ones that come to home training, so we're used to each other and know how we work.”
Fran Pickering, mother of Lani and Ryan, is proud of what her children have accomplished through Cadets.
"Cadets has been such a fantastic thing for not just my kids but all kids in general because it encourages them to grow as a person,” Mrs Pickering said.