Three cadets share their personal stories about how being part of Sea Cadets has helped them find a sense of belonging
CADET KAJETAN (17), CREWE UNIT
“I was born in Nowa Sól, western Poland. At first, it was difficult to adjust to life in the UK as I didn’t speak English and so it was hard to make friends. But as time went on, I got used to the school system and got on quite well. I am now fluent in English. I also speak some German and Spanish.
“I found out about Sea Cadets after watching the 2017 Remembrance Parade in Crewe’s town centre. I joined up the following week! Everyone was very welcoming at my first parade night, and I was encouraged to join in.
“I’ve now been a sea cadet for almost four brilliant years. Crewe Unit is like a family, we all look out for each other and help each other out.
“My Commanding Officer and the other instructors and volunteers put a lot of time and energy into making each parade night a success.
“Sea Cadets has helped me to develop my confidence – before joining, I was quite shy and anxious. Being a sea cadet has also taught me leadership skills and how to help others.
“I’ve made lots of friends through Sea Cadets and I’ve learnt a lot of different things”
“My most significant experience was taking part in a district rowing competition. We didn’t win but the teamwork and team spirit we showed is what being a sea cadet is all about.
“I like how Sea Cadets allows you to participate in lots of different competitions across many different disciplines. I’ve made lots of friends through Sea Cadets and I’ve learnt a lot of different things, ranging from piping to first aid.
“I’m thinking about taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award next, as well as a Physical Training or an Engineering course. I hope to become a civil or automotive engineer one day, and possibly go on to become a Sea Cadets instructor.
“I’d like to say to anyone new in the country thinking about joining Sea Cadets: go for it! You will learn new skills, meet new people and grow as a person.”
LEADING CADET MARYKAY (16), ENFIELD UNIT
“I was born and raised in England but I am of Nigerian descent. I speak English, French and Yoruba, one of the main languages spoken in Nigeria. I’m very proud of my Nigerian heritage – it’s a culturally diverse country with rich traditions.
“I have been a cadet for five years. I am currently the only cadet of Nigerian descent in my unit but I think the charity is very welcoming to cadets of minority ethnic backgrounds. For example, I remember some Sikh cadets who joined a few years ago. Their religion requires them to wear turbans, but this wasn’t a problem. They wore a turban in the same colour as their uniforms and put their beret badge on their turban
“My unit is a place where we can all learn and grow. We encourage each other to try new things”
“My unit is a place where we can all learn and grow together. We encourage each other to try new things. Being part of Sea Cadets has enabled me to gain many qualifications, skills and achievements. I have taken part in courses in Marine Engineering, First Aid, Kayaking and Adventure Training. Being a cadet has taught me a lot about teamwork and how to be an effective leader. I’ve made a lot of new friends. I also enjoy volunteering and social action projects and giving back to my community.
“My most significant moments with Sea Cadets have been at the 2019 Trafalgar Day Parade (pictured on the cover), becoming a Leading Cadet and receiving a Deputy Lieutenant of Enfield Borough award from the Mayor.
“I was very motivated to become a Leading Cadet as I wanted to be one of the first cadets of Nigerian descent to reach this position for my unit. I hope to be a role model for other cadets from minority backgrounds. And I plan to achieve much more – this is just the beginning!”