The Royal Canada Sea Cadet Corp 7 Captain Cook is looking for a new commanding officer.
Tannis Calder Lieutenant Navy, is sailing away to different shores leaving the position of Civilian Instructor Cadre (CIC) open. This leaves the future of one of Prince Rupert’s leading youth organizations in dire straits.
“The Cadet Program is community based and right now we do not have the community support we need to continue offering a dynamic, structured and engaging program, one that has been life-changing to so many youth in this area,” Calder said.
For just over ten years Calder has been involved in leading the RCSCC 7 as a parent volunteer, to a civilian instructor, to the commanding officer position. Finding a replacement is challenging as there are no other CICs in town, she said.
“You know, it’s a little concerning because … our cadet corp here is one of the longest standing, continually running, sea cadet corps in Canada. It’s one of the oldest.”
Many people may not be aware that the adult leaders of the Cadet Program come from the community; they are parents, educators, neighbours and friends. Becoming part of the Cadet Program as a Civilian Instructor or a Cadet Instructors Cadre (CIC) Officer is a choice that many adult leaders in our community have already made throughout the years, and one we hope others will consider, Calder said .
“Becoming part of the Cadet Program as an adult leader has been a very rewarding experience and has provided an opportunity to serve my country and my own local community,” Calder said.
“It’s easier than you may think, it’s a lot of fun and the skills you learn as an adult leader are transferable to your regular employment.”
Calder said the Corp does have civilian instructors, but they are limited to what they can do and they are not ready to step up due to other commitments or citizenship restrictions.
The CIC position is a part-time position as a navy reservist. Calder had no previous career in the military and was able to complete training while she was volunteering with the cadets. Many people who have had military careers do become officers in their retirement or spare time.
“The program is run by reservists, they’re usually community members who have other jobs. They just really care about the community and want to give back to the community,” Calder said.
“We really do rely on the community to … keep it running. We do have partners like the Prince Rupert Navy League branch, which is an amazing support, however, they’re not in charge of the programming,” she said. “They’re the ones who help us fundraise, who provide the building to meet in and do a lot of that work, which is super important.”
The region runs with a tri-force program. Terrace has army cadets, Kitimat has air cadets, Prince Rupert has the sea cadets, and there is a fledgling sea cadet corp in Haida Gwaii. The Haida Gwaii corp is also searching for leadership. The regional branches will often do activities together.
The sea cadet program in Prince Rupert is community based for youth ages 12 to 18 Calder said, and the RCSCC 7 currently has more than 40 members.
“We try to get outdoors as much as possible. And we do a lot of on water (activities) … we learn about the naval environment and the maritime environments. We’re always looking at connections and ways to connect with the maritime community.”
Calder said, the cadet program develops confident, self-sufficient leaders who form lasting friendships and are engaged in their communities. It promotes physical fitness, healthy living, and fosters an interest in the activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Calder was a cadet for six and half years in her youth and said it helped her chose a teaching career.
“I think it really helped me become who I am … We spend a lot of time in the program really helping lift the cadets up to become leaders.”
“As far as the running of the program goes, we need officers. The nearest officers that we that we have are in Terrace and Kitimat.”
Calder doesn’t have an exact date she is leaving for Vancouver Island, but needs to be there for September.
“I will still be connected to the corp during the transition period because at the moment there is no new commanding officer to take the place.”
Calder is going to miss her time with RCSCC 7 as her time there has been wonderful. She said it’s amazing to see awkward, shy 12 year olds grow into capable and confident young adults.
“That stretch of growth over six or seven years, to see them become amazing human beings – it’s so wonderful to be part of that. I have learned so much from them and made some life-long friends as well.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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