An interview with Ruta Dubinskaite, 2019 Westminster Award Winner

Ruta Dubinskaite is a former cadet with 238 Regents Park Cadet Detachment, Middlesex and North West London and this year’s winner of the Westminster Award. Having just turned 18, Ruta is in the middle of training to be an Adult Volunteer.

What is the Westminster Award?
Every year CVQO (Cadet Vocational Qualifications Organisations) holds an annual competition called The Westminster Award, which recognises the most deserving cadets in the UK! Adult volunteers and group leaders are asked to nominate a cadet who has demonstrated exceptional qualities within the community or at camp. Ruta’s journey started back in November when she was nominated for having gone ‘above and beyond’. From creating media presentations to teamwork and leadership exercises, the nominees are tested and observed by a panel of judges. While the process was challenging, Ruta relished the opportunity to meet and bond with other cadets.
On 14 May, the ten finalists were selected. Ruta describes the wait as ‘completely nerve-wracking’. Hard work and persistence paid off and on 26 June, Ruta, along with the other finalists attended The House of Lords for the awards ceremony.
It really was a shock to find out that I’d won, I wasn’t expecting it at all! I was up against some pretty strong candidates and when I heard my name announced I was completely stunned.” All of the candidates had come so far on their journey to success and for Ruta, to win the prestigious award was “an absolute honour.

What’s next for Ruta?

When a cadet eventually turns 18 it can be a difficult time, wondering what steps they should take next. Ruta has chosen to train to become an adult instructor. “There are so many adult instructors that have helped me on my journey; I owe a lot to them. To be able to inspire others like you have been inspired must be the best feeling!

Ruta acknowledges that joining the cadets brings you closer to the adult volunteers and certainly helps you on your way to becoming one yourself. “I love meeting new people and learning from different leaders. I take a lot from them, they are so approachable and have made a massive impact on me.
Becoming an adult volunteer is a huge responsibility, but with dedication and willingness that Ruta has already displayed, there’s no doubt that she will make an excellent adult instructor!

Ruta’s advice to future Cadets

Don’t be afraid to get involved, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and always be prepared to learn.

Take everything in your stride because you will be 18 very quickly and you can either be 18 with no experiences or adventures, or you can be 18 with this whole list of things that you’ve done. Don’t let any opportunity you have slide! Also remember that a good leader isn’t the person who can yell the loudest; it’s the person who can empower and encourage others to do their very best!