Derek is usually our resident IT wizard who can be found sorting out computers or updating systems, but he sat down with us recently to chat through his time spent volunteering with the Sea Cadets.
I joined the Sea Cadets back in 1983 and I have stayed on and progressed through the system in time.
I was originally in Scotland where I took command of a unit for three years before then moving to Coventry joining their unit where I was stationed for 17 years. I only recently left and joined the Mercia District as an Assistant District Officer, which covers eight units in the Birmingham area.
My primary role now is to support the units within the districts bringing on new members of staff and assisting where I can. I teach safeguarding and working with young people, and on top of this I also teach powerboating, rowing, and computer work.
We aim to give young people the best possible start in life through nautical adventure and fun. The Sea Cadets are a registered charity, so we are not run by the MOD, however we are MOD-approved . We are one of the few groups nationally in England that have a Department of Education leeway for cadets to take time out of school to take our courses.
As a young 13-year-old, I was bored, and a friend of my dad’s was a member of the unit and asked if I wanted to come down and have a look and get involved. For want of a better term, it was something to do then I got roped in never looking back so I have had 35 years of service now.
I will use an example of how being involved in the Sea Cadets can help young people grow. A few years ago, now, we took a group of cadets away to the Navy base. There was this kid who was told you are not able to do anything in life and would amount to nothing, after half an hour of being in the pool he lifted his feet off the bottom and floated as the other cadets gave him the confidence to do that.
The aim will be for us to expand on what we currently do, Covid was a massive hit for us for 18 months as we couldn’t just go out and do boating and other activities. We don’t do this for the pay, I probably average 15-20 hours a week being involved in the sea cadets.
There are lots of different roles available with the cadets such as trustees who make sure the bills are paid and we raise enough money, you don’t have to teach but can help raise money.
I would advise anyone interested to give it a go and find your local Sea Cadets unit to support, whether it’s 2 hours a week or 20. Click here to read more on how our colleagues give back to the community.