This month I want to focus on the benefits of being a Sea Cadet. Many local people have passed through TS Nimrod over the years, and each one will have stories to tell of what they got out of it, no matter how long they were here for.
I’ve written plenty about the skills and knowledge a Sea Cadet will gain, from boating to leadership and everything in between, so I won’t dwell too much on that aspect this time. Sea Cadets offers opportunities and opens doors for people in many other ways, including travel, friendships and career opportunities.
Sea Cadets offers many opportunities for young people to travel locally, nationally and internationally. Cadets will attend courses and competitions, totally free of charge, throughout the South Island and often further afield. Opportunities often arise for cadets to travel aboard Navy vessels as well. New Zealand Cadet Forces also offers international exchanges to places like Singapore and the USA, and units will help and support fundraising for such trips.
Sea Cadets will form friendships with other cadets all over the country, from Northland to Southland. National events like the recent Cadet150 exercise bring young people of all ages together on common terms. Cadets will form friendships with older teenagers at local unit level as well, providing them with mentors and role models.
It’s a common misconception that cadets prepares people mostly for careers in the services. Mentioning membership of our volunteer organisation on a CV shows any potential employer that an applicant has commitment, leadership and teamwork skills, self-motivation and many other qualities of a good employee. Being or having been a Sea Cadet could mean a point of difference which will get you an interview over hundreds of other applicants.
This column isn’t long enough to list all the hidden benefits of being a Sea Cadet, but will hopefully give readers an idea of what makes us different.
Click here to view a PDF of our term 1 newsletter (opens in a new tab). These will be published regularly at the end of each school term and distributed around the community.
As we are now in the winter terms, Sea Cadet training will shift focus slightly to cover more ceremonial and theoretical material, but this does not mean being less hands-on! Ropework was identified as an area for improvement at the recent regatta, so cadets will learn useful bends and hitches and their applications on the water.
Ceremonial drill practice is also on the training plan, not least so we can provide a uniformed presence for Port Chalmers ANZAC parade. We cover static drill, marching and ceremonial rifle drill with a focus on accuracy, timing and uniformity. This, like many sports, teaches teamwork, attention to detail and self discipline. It’s a fun challenge and requires skill and practice to do well. It can also look very impressive.
Boating also comes with its own set of rules and knowledge required to carry out safely, so in the winter we cover these via the Day Skipper (Coastguard) qualification as well as in our own curriculum. This includes instruction on how to sail, such as how to set a sail according to wind direction. Navigation and communications are also important when boating, so we cover charts and radio telephony as well. Cadets will have the opportunity not only to gain their Day Skippers Ticket, but also a VHF radio operator’s license.
On top of these maritime qualifications, we also have the capacity to offer unit standards to cadets which can contribute towards NCEA credits and help to boost people towards gaining their school qualifications. Our junior and senior leaders will be polishing up their instructing skills, which is a very useful life skill to have experience in.
It’s been a busy month for TS Nimrod with new cadets joining, weekend training and preparation for the South Island Regatta. The regatta sees the four sea cadet units from the Southern Area come together in Christchurch to compete in activities which test a wide range of the skills and knowledge taught at unit level. Events include pulling, sailing, seamanship, navigation, first aid, drill, rope work and range shooting.
TS Nimrod put in a quality performance, coming first in the pulling (rowing) event and placing well in other events. The team unfortunately didn’t place overall, but some of the younger team members had the opportunity to shine; particularly in the sailing events where less experienced team members must try their hand on the tiller.
Our focus as winter terms approach will be on polishing our ceremonial skills for ANZAC day and swatting up on areas of improvement identified at the regatta. As always, we will be accepting new recruits at any time of year and interested persons are most welcome to visit us at Back Beach in the summer or the WIC hall in winter.
We are off to a good start for 2015 with plenty of activities planned to make the most of the remaining summer term. Sunny Thursday evenings have us out on the water so we can give the new cadets a taste of all the different water activities we do: sailing (of course), pulling, swimming, jetty jumping at high tide, power boating and, a favourite, tubing – towing an inner tube behind the powerboat.
In the warmer months we also take advantage of weekends to have some fun. Weekend activities include things like a day sail, camping, expeditions and sailing races. Our favourite day sail routine is to sail out from Back Beach, play cricket or football on the sand bank, anchor at Aramoana Spit Beach for a picnic and beach games and then sail back again.
Boot camp for the new cadets is a good excuse for us to plan training and fun for a whole weekend. Staying overnight means we can do night-ex such as a good game of Spotlight, and having whole days to play with allows us to get in some orienteering and other land based training as well as getting out on the water.
This year we also hope to revive some of the traditional sailing races with HMNZS Toroa, TS Waireka and other local groups.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tsnimrod) for pictures of our adventures.
Although cadets only parade during the school term, the summer holidays still hold plenty of activity for TS Nimrod. We have courses to attend, equipment to maintain and administration to attend to, just for a start.
Two of our cadets attended (and one senior rate staffed) the Coxswain’s Course in Auckland these holidays to gain qualifications to be in charge of a sailing boat. This means they’re spending the week in and on the warm waters of Army Bay having a great time and will come back ready to help us teach new cadets how to sail. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for pictures.
The Unit Support Committee has been busy as usual organising funding, activities and equipment to give the cadets the best experiences possible for 2015. This involves meetings and paperwork, of course, but its well worth the effort to see young people having such fun on the water.
The other administrative activity happening over the break is the admin officer working to improve our communications. This means we are building proper contact lists and streamlining the way we contact cadets, families and the community. We now have various ways for people to connect with the unit:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tsnimrod
NEW Mailing list: sign up for our alumni/community mailing list by visiting our Facebook page and going to the “Email Signup” tab under the main photo. You don’t have to be a member of Facebook – it will just act like a normal web page.
TS Nimrod was involved this week in a special series of parades to celebrate 150 years of Cadet Forces in New Zealand. Each unit sent a representative to the main parade in Wellington as well as participating in a local parade at the same time.
An account of ABCDT Tristan Howard’s trip to Wellington will be published in his school newsletter – details here: Park Press
Check back for more news about the PONS soon.