In the interest of public health and safety and ensuring we are in line with social distancing measures and policies of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Air Cadet League of Canada is cancelling the June 11, 2020 Effective Speaking Competition.
1st place: WO1 Cameron Kinsella
2nd place: WO2 Katherine Latosinsky
3rd place: Sgt Elaine Xiao
When I made the decision to join the Air Cadet program in 2013, I had no idea how many opportunities it would give me, nor how much it would impact my life. When I first joined the program, I made it my goal to become a better leader and earn my pilots license. Why these particular goals? It is because they contrast two of my biggest fears — my fear of being in the spotlight, and my fear of heights. I thought that if I faced my fears directly, then I would be able to overcome them. So, as I progressed through the program, I took every opportunity to do the things that I didn’t want to do. While it may sound like this ruined my experience, I believe that it elevated it. Today, I am proud that I can lead a group of individuals without shaking, and I can look down from 10,000 feet without getting light-headed.
My name is Warrant Officer 1st Class Cameron Kinsella, and I love facing my fears head-on. In other words, I love doing the things I hate. So, when my squadron’s Commanding Officer told me about the Effective Speaking Competition in September 2018, I had no hesitation when I told her that I wanted to participate: to face my fear of public speaking. I first began by reading through the possible topics, and went with the one that riled me up the most: The Positive and Negative Effects of Advancements in Technology. I started by studying speeches. Everything from the speeches of previous winners of the National Effective Speaking Competition, to Toastmasters speeches, to TED talks on relationship advice. Then, using this knowledge, I threw together my first draft. After some editing, I created my second draft. Then my third, then fourth, then fifth, etc. After countless iterations of this process, I found myself with a speech that I was proud of.
This year was the first time I had ever participated in the National Effective Speaking Program, so it was really daunting in the beginning. I practiced my speech tirelessly. I practiced in front of the mirror, in front of my family, and in my head during my daily activities. All of the work and practice really paid off when I first did my speech in the regional competition. All of my fears subsided in those five minutes, and the hard work I put in was able to take over through the nerves. With each time I did my speech in front of a crowd af this point, I became more and more confident in my ability to conquer my fears and deliver a message to an audience. The impromptu speeches were also incredibly helpful in building my confidence with public speaking. Coming up with a speech in three minutes is no easy task, and it was a scary thought to say the least. However, I learned to think on my feet and use the skills I had learned in order to speak effectively. This challenge really improved my ability to think quickly and taught me how to confidently speak in front of an audience without much time to simply memorize and prepare. This is a great and important skill that will help me and other cadets greater in our futures. Even though it hasn’t been long, I can already see how much of a difference it has made in other areas of my life with my leadership and confidence.
The national competition was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to meet some of the most effective speakers I have ever met, and the experience gave me the opportunity to learn and grow even more by watching the incredible speeches of these talented cadets from all across Canada. I believe the amount of sheer talent in a group of such young individuals truly speaks to the Air Cadet program as a whole. The National Effective Speaking Program gives young people so many opportunities to grow, learn new skills, and face our fears through all it has to offer, and it clearly pays off.
Cameron Kinsella, 2019 National Effective Speaking Competition Winner
Click here to see the photo album of the 2019 National Effective Speaking Competition
Watch all the speeches of the 2019 National Effective Speaking Competition by clicking here or the video above. You can also select a competitor’s name to watch one of their speeches.
FCpl Hana Badawi – Impromptu Speech
Watch all the speeches of the 2018 National Effective Speaking Competition by clicking here.
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