by Peter S. Milsom,
President, Kemptville Branch, Director, Ontario Division, Navy League of Canada
In our previous twelve articles, we have concentrated on introducing the Navy League and the Sea Cadet and Navy League Cadet Programs to the community. These important articles are about the cadets as individuals, and relate to how they have experienced the programs, activities and training personally. You have seen articles from the Nepssy and Reid families, both very supportive of their cadets, and you have seen a number of articles from our star 16 year old Sea Cadet reporter, Petty Officer2 Dilan Yildirim.
While the cadet articles are replete with descriptions of competitions, new skills learned, naval lessons, and always about fun times with friends in the cadets, the average perception by outsiders of the leaders is reflected in the picture of Sea Cadet Officers, Lt (N) Jay Tousaw, A/SLt Sonja Clark, and SLt Chris Churchill. Jay, Commanding Officer of RCSCC Defiant, and two of his officers are all crisply turned out for a summer dress occasion. In command of their program, on top of their game, sharp, focused, utterly Naval and dedicated! Well, let me tell you, – it is not always like that!
There is a great deal more to leading successful cadet corps than a preoccupation with Drill, parade training, Semaphore, Ski and Rifle Biathlon Competition training, navigation classes, uniform creases, shiny boots, and snappy saluting. There is a wide and varied range of activities, interests, and definitely un-naval events our cadet leaders and volunteers must generate, exploit, and be personally engaged in, to ensure the program remains lively, interesting and, most of all, fun for the cadets.
There are key celebrations throughout the year that are dear to young and old alike, and which must take precedence to the routine of training. Halloween is certainly one, and the picture here undeniably confirms there is a hidden and mysterious compulsion to emulate the Adams Family – or is it a long-suppressed rebound to the hallowed days of Mr. Dressup, at play here? Either way, this splendid array of scary persons presents the officers of RCSCC Defiant at Halloween 2019 – Lt(N) Jay Tousaw, Army Captain Jim Richards, A/SLT Sonja Clark, Army Lt Deanna Lawson, and Slt Chris Churchill. Clearly, these officers don’t believe in doing things by half – just as with their commitment to the welfare, development, and well-being of their cadets, they go all out to make an event the best possible experience for the cadets. And, of course, as you can see, they are really not enjoying themselves!
Helping out with fundraising, organizing support to other chartitable organizations, and with Christmas, marching in the town parade, and contributing by marching in the parade of other communities, or helping out with food bank collection, cadets singing carols at the retirement home, officers serving the cadets at their Annual Christmas Mess Dinner, and on it goes. This is as often an active community focus rather than a naval focus, but they are complementary! It is giving back to a very supportive community.
The officers don’t always have to dress up in uniform to get the job done. Here, dressed to help the cadets build and decorate a Christmas float, are Deanna Lawson of Defiant and her husband, Randy Murray, Commanding Officer of NLCC Assiniboine. Beside each one having busy jobs and making the cadet program happen, they also own and run the very active Apocalypse farm. With them is NLCC Assiniboine Cadet Instructor John Smith, who, like all the other Assiniboine and Defiant officers, is employed full time in demanding positions. Their busy lives have not stopped them for one minute from giving their full attention to the needs of their young charges. These are accomplished, giving people – and look at them, they are enjoying what they are doing!
Reluctantly, I assure you, I can’t show you their costumes for the cadet pajama party – they would not take kindly to my parading pictures of them all in their “jammies” – as wonderfully and comically creative as they were – to the community at large! But what spirit, what comittment – what courage – to do this for the cadets, just to make the program both fun and a great experience in growing in a super team under great leadership. I salute them all as, by their example, they develop great leaders for tomorrow.