The Sea Cadet Corps is a youth organisation that gives young people the opportunity to have nautical themed adventures, learn an array of skills and take part in a vast range of activities.

These activities can include sailing, canoeing, rowing, windsurfing, rock climbing, engineering, music and cookery.  The Sea Cadets aims to encourage good citizenship, provide worthwhile qualifications (including the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and BTEC) experience and adventure for young people.  Sea Cadets have the opportunity to learn life skills whilst having fun and making great friends.

It’s fun, enriching and ultimately helps to give young people the skills to navigate and make the most of their development in our modern world.

The Sea Cadets, like many other youth organisations, is run by a mix of core staff and a huge team of adult volunteers who give up their spare time to help the young people flourish.  It’s also a vastly rewarding experience for volunteers who can enhance their own skills and gain new qualifications, too.

So what makes the Sea Cadet experience so great?  We spoke to a Sea Cadet and a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer from the Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth Sea Cadets, who told us more about how they got involved, what they have learnt, how they have been coping during lockdown – and what they are really looking forward to once face-to-face training can resume…

 

Able Cadet Nathaniel, Ross Sea Cadets onboard a ship

Able Cadet Nathaniel (15)
“I have gained many life skills and qualifications since joining the cadets, including first aid, various boating qualifications, DofE, a BTEC L1 and much more. During lockdown I have been doing my RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course, which is a nationally recognised qualification and will mean I can achieve my Intermediate Navigation Qualification within the Sea Cadets.

“I have learnt lots of life skills, which you do not pick up in school. Including teamwork and adapting to various situations, which really helped when I was out with my friends and incurred an injury when we were playing around with a rope swing. Because of our training in cadets we managed to find a first aid box so we could stop the bleeding before calling my mum to take me to the hospital. We all stayed calm and dealt with it, I am sure if we had not had these skills, we would not have known what to do or where to go to find a first aid box.

“I have had lots of experiences because of cadets, last year I went offshore twice. Once on TS Royalist, the Sea Cadets flagship, where I got to climb the rigging. The second time I went away was on TS Petchey, with other cadets in the unit. It taught me lots about myself as a person and also how to work as a team. I really enjoy the offshore experiences and would love to go away on TS Petchey again.

Able Cadet Nathaniel with remembrance cutouts

“For me, the experiences that will stick in my mind will be taking part in adventure training in Snowden in December, but most of all, I was lucky enough to be picked to spend 2 days on HMS Monmouth. Over the two days we got to have a go at lots of things onboard including a physical training session, visiting the engine room, seeing how she is driven and meeting the crew. The food was amazing!

“I am really looking forward to the Sea Cadet Units operating again as there are a number of things I want to work towards and they are on hold at the moment. I am currently working towards my Leading Cadets, which means promotion and becoming a senior cadet.

“I am really keen to gain more experience in powerboating and rowing. I really want to work towards my Assistant Rowing Instructors so I can help instruct. Also with a combination of the right rowing and powerboating qualification it will mean I can achieve my Master Coxswain Badge which no-one currently has in the unit. When I turn 16, I also want to do my Advanced First Aid Course, which is the same as First Aid at Work.”

 

Chaplain Colin Leggate with Ross Sea Cadets

Chaplain Colin Leggate RNR – Padre at Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth Sea Cadet Unit for 7 years.
When the previous chaplain left it was the duty of Churches Together in Ross-on-Wye to offer another one from their number. Chaplain (Ch) Colin Leggate RNR comes from a family with many military members, and he was hijacked at one of our meetings where he happily agreed to take on the role.  However, this is not Colin’s only experience of the Sea Cadets as he was also previously a Sea Cadet himself at the Torquay Unit.

Colin really enjoys knowing that his engagement with the cadets is adding another layer to their development.  It gives them extra skills to what they are getting at home and school by putting an eternal message to it.

 It has given him a huge range of experiences as Unit Chaplain, and he is always happy to help out and support where he can.  The unit is very blessed as he also helps with the lessons as well.  One of his more recent experiences was when he went away on a weekend with the Junior Cadets (10 – 12 year olds) and there is a video of him doing the boat song with all the cadets, which we as a unit know is a fond memory of his and everyone involved.  Like Nathaniel, Colin is is looking forward to meeting our young people in person again once training can resume!

You can find out more about the Sea Cadets here.

More information about Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth Sea Cadets can be found here.