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Sea Cadets 163rd Birthday!

Sea Cadets 163rd Birthday!

This year to celebrate the Marine Society & Sea Cadet’s birthday as well as ‘International Day of the Seafarer’ we are sharing the story of Abigail. An ex-sea cadet who now works in the Merchant Navy.

 

My name is Abbie Sanders. I joined Sea Cadets as a junior in 2008, as soon as I was old enough. Then I worked my way up to Leading Cadet over the 8 years I was there.

I thoroughly enjoyed and embraced my time at Sea Cadets and I am 100% certain that my current position and future was shaped during my time as a cadet.

I was surrounded by enthusiastic and motivating staff that encouraged me to strive for my goals; one of which was becoming a dinghy instructor, which involved working abroad. The second goal was joining the Merchant Navy.

In 2014, Sea Cadets helped me to obtain my RYA dinghy instructor certificate. This allowed me to train other cadets, get a summer job working at home, and then abroad in Malta age 16.

This could have been quite daunting at a young age; going to live and work in a foreign country for a summer, but the skills and confidence I gained at Sea Cadets help me achieve my potential.

This set me up well for my next adventure. Joining the Merchant Navy! The staff at Marine Society & Sea Cadets talked about careers at sea and encouraged me to embark on a Merchant Navy Deck Officer Cadetship!

In 2016, I left home and went to study at Warsash Maritime Academy.

Thanks to Marine Society & Sea Cadets, doing a Merchant Navy Cadetship meant a shipping company (in my case Trinity House) paid for all my costs and paid for my training. It beats getting into student debt!

Trinity house also provided me with ship placements during my cadetship.

“I have worked on two cruise ships, a tall ship, a superyacht and a buoy tender. By doing this, I travelled the world and visited nearly 25 countries including Australia, Seychelles, India, Norway and more!

During this time, I have learnt such valuable skills. I am excited to go back to my unit; to share my knowledge and show cadets how being a sea cadet can take us so far in life”.

 

- Abbie Sanders

The Support of Sea Cadets

The Support of Sea Cadets

Growing up, I think I spent more time at Sea Cadets than I did at home and without the help of my fellow cadets and volunteers, I don’t think I could have got through the things I did.

I came out in 2012 when I was 17, and instantly received an amazing amount of support at my unit. One of the volunteers told me that her door was always open and that whatever I needed – whether it was a place to have a good cry or just some time out – she would help me.

Sea Cadets definitely turned into my 'safe place'. Nobody treated me any differently, I could completely be myself and no one knocked me down. It’s still like that now.

As volunteers, our job is to build on the unique qualities and skills of each cadet, to nurture their strengths and help them develop self-confidence. It’s so important to be open. If young people are doubting themselves, if they’re confused, I want them to know they have someone to speak to who’s been through the same process and come out the other side smiling. 

- PO Jack, Crawley Sea Cadets 

Pride

Pride

We are like a big family at Sefton so since I came out in 2016, my unit has treated me exactly the same as before. Nothing changed and no fuss was made about the subject. It was treated as a normal day-to-day thing.

Speaking to my fellow cadets gave me a huge confidence boost. They offered help and advice on what I should say but I needn’t have worried, as the volunteers made no particular fuss about it, which was really encouraging.

I didn’t want to be treated as special and I didn’t want people to dwell on it too much – although a volunteer did tell me they are proud of me for being who I am and that will always hold a special place in my heart.

Listening to stories from other LGBT people in Sea Cadets can really help young people to find the confidence they need to be themselves, which is why I wanted to share my own experience – it might help another person who may be struggling.

I think the amount of support given by Sea Cadets towards the LGBT community is absolutely amazing and should definitely be recognised. I’ve never heard or seen any homophobic or transphobic language or behaviour, and every single person I’ve spoken to has been supportive.

Through personal experience, I can say that your sexual orientation really doesn’t matter. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!

If a cadet decides to come out, let them know it’s OK and doesn’t treat them any differently. Ultimately, they’re still the same person. My parents are very pleased with the support my unit has given and I’m definitely happier now.

- Niamh, Sefton Sea Cadets 

The Impact of Sea Cadets

The Impact of Sea Cadets

My name is Matthew and I attended Worcester Sea Cadets. I joined when I was 12-years-old and left when I was 16-years-old.

I had a fantastic time there and I am still welcome to go back when I can. It’s feels like a family, everyone is so nice and caring.

Sea Cadets helped me gain confidence and leadership. I did many courses such as Powerboat level 2 which was amazing.

I reached Able Cadet and enjoyed every second, especially the courses! You gain so many friends from around the nation, meet amazing people and see amazing things.

When I finished my GCSEs, I got the right grades to go to Fleetwood Nautical College where I am currently studying a HNC in nautical science as a Deck Officer Cadet. I am sponsored by P and O ferries and am really enjoying it. Sea Cadets has giving me the confidence and discipline to live on my own away from home and follow my dreams.

Although I had to leave at 16 I would have happily stayed until 18 if I could.

Once I qualify as a third officer in the Merchant Navy I will be sure to return.

Many thanks for what you have done for me.

Fundraising for my unit

Fundraising for my unit

I signed up for the cadet fundraising challenge when our unit asked us to think of a challenge that we could do ourselves to raise money for our new minibus. We had a lot of the money raised by other means, but we still needed another £2000 or so.

We had to think of the idea ourselves and carry it out. It could be anything. I chose my challenge and decided to do a 1.4-mile swim from Bournemouth pier to Boscombe pier. It’s longer than you think!

I have swum many times and probably even that distance, but this is completely different. For a start it’s much, much colder. The tides, if against you make swimming a lot harder and it feels like you are going one stroke forward and five strokes back.

I started out too shallow and swam deeper to avoid the groynes; these are walls built into the sea to prevent longshore drift. The good thing about these groynes is there are lots of them from Bournemouth to Boscombe and I used them to count down how long I had left. I knew how many there were because we parked at Boscombe and walked to Bournemouth before I started, so I counted as I went along. This helped me to think about the length of time I might have left to swim.

I didn’t have time to practice this swim because I had been so busy doing my first year of A levels. I would recommend that anyone doing something similar does practice a lot in the sea.

Myself and the other four cadets managed to raise £1242.55 by doing our challenges and this made buying the minibus a lot quicker.

Ordinary Cadet James
Winchester Sea Cadets

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