by Retired Navy Captain Peter Milsom, President, Kemptville Navy League
Last week’s article was about a bright, 12 year old young lady moving up from Navy League Cadets to the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. Like Sue-Anne, Chief Petty Officer (CPO2) Hunter Churchill started Sea Cadets at 12 years of age in 2015 and now, five years later, he is the senior sea cadet in RCSCC Defiant and has achieved the pinnacle of success as a cadet as the Corps’ appointed Coxswain of this excellent Corps. His is a classic Sea Cadet story. Following the success of an older brother, Carter, a previous Coxswain, and mentored by his long-serving and dedicated father, Sub-Lieutenant Chris Churchill, RCSCC Defiant’s Executive Officer, Hunter started at the bottom, put his head down, jumped into the program with energy and a sense of purpose, and charged through to real personal success and achievement.
What did the cadet program experience mean for him? Expressed in his own words, he really liked the sailing, the leadership opportunities, learning new skills, and the ability to meet cadets from across Canada at camps, competitions, and weekend training. As an example, he went to HMCS Ontario in Kingston for General Training and for Basic Sail, a three week intensive sail program. Held on the campus of Royal Military College, he remembers best the friendship with the cadets and staff he met, and the great history of the institution.
No layabout, this young man, besides excelling in his naval studies, was also an intense competitor on behalf of RCSCC Defiant! For five years running, he competed as a member of the Biathlon Team, serving in the last year as its Team Captain. He competed for five straight years on the Marksmanship Team, and for three straight years on the Orienteering Team. These all gave him impressive personal skills and accomplishments, but, interestingly, his main memory is “grabbing a bus with a few other corps (to attend a competition) and really became close friends with them.” His overarching impression from his cadet activities is: “We hung out at the competitions and had a lot of fun competing with my teammates”. From the competitions, he values most the many friends he made from other corps.
Hunter describes his cadet experience as: “amazing opportunities”. His advice to someone thinking of joining cadets – “I would tell them to fully commit to the program, and take advantage of all the opportunities the program offers. The friendships you make there will last for years to come”. Hunter’s life goals are to continue formal education, get a good job in the engineering field, and have a happy family. Sounds like this accomplished cadet has it about right!