In May I decided to join the Sea cadets.
The Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is a UK national youth organisation which is sponsored by the MOD (Ministry of Defence) senior service the Royal Navy and open to young people between the ages of 10–18 years old. The SCC is the UK’s largest Naval Cadet Force with over 30,000 cadets and adult volunteers.
As you train more you get ranked up. When I joined I was a New Entry. In a few months I became a cadet. When i joined (in May) it was the rowing season. So every monday and friday night we would go down to the Rishton reservoir and practice for the coming rowing competitions.
I have been involved in two rowing competitions. The first one was a district competition and it was at our reservoir. About five or more units did the competition. The girls and boys from our unit won every race.
The second one I attended was the North-West rowing competition. This one was based in Barrow in the Lake District. The races were in a sea channel and were double the length of our reservoir. The junior girls from our unit won one race and lost the second race. It was the same for the open boys race. Later on in the month we received a letter saying the Trinity junior girls came 3rd and the Trinity Open boys came 5th.
I also went on a course which was in Crosby near Liverpool. It was a four day course. Four of our cadets (including me) went on this course but there was a lot of other units taking part. The building which we stayed in was situated on a very small lake near the sea. It was only a small walk to the other side of the lake and over the sand dunes and you were on the beach with all the statues. There was two dormitories for girls and two for boys. There were three bunk beds so six cadets in each room. We had a bathroom as well.
We could choose two out of four activities. I chose sailing as my first choice and windsurfing as my second, between sailing, kayaking,rowing and windsurfing. The day we arrived we got given our wetsuits and spray suits.
Every morning we were awakened by one of the PO (petty officer) at half past seven to get ready for breakfast. We didn’t have to wear our uniform for this course. Once we were ready we would go into the lounge and pick our lunch and once breakfast was ready we would go downstairs and help ourselves to bacon,toast,cereal,pastries…. After breakfast we would go back to our room and get everything we needed for the day. After that we would go downstairs and change into our wetsuit.
So for the first two days we did sailing. We each had a partner. On the first day we learnt about the different parts of the boat and how to turn the boat correctly against the wind. So all day we steered the boat across the lake and back. We took it in turns. Whenever it was too windy we had to go back inside. When it got really windy and I had to turn the boat and I capsized us twice.
In the evening we could rest in the lounge or go to the park. The next day we did the same thing as the first. At the end of the day both partners had to stand on the edge of the boat and make it capsize and get the boat back into position. I had to go round the boat (in the water) and lean against the center board that sticks out underneath the boat and the other person has to get into the boat. Once the boat is upright with someone in it they have to lift the person who is in the water into the boat. We only had to do that once.
The next two days I did windsurfing. The first thing we had to do is try and stand up on the board without the sail. Once we had done that we all went on a practice board and learnt how to turn the sail and go around the board. Once we had conquered that we all went on the water. My record of staying on the board with the sail was about 5-10 minutes but after that I just jumped in or fell in.
The water was warm once I had got used to it. Every time i got the sail up I just ended up at the other end of the lake and couldn’t get back so they had to come and rescue me. So for the last two days we were all just trying and getting used to the windsurf. On the last day it got really windy and all the sailing boats had capsized and were crashing into the rocks. The windsurfing instructors were rescuing the other windsurfers so I just held on to a buoy near the side and just waited.
On Thursday evening a P.O took all the cadets that wanted to go to the beach. It was only a 5-10 minute walk from the building. The Another Place sculptures by Antony Gormley are found on this beach.
On Friday morning we all got given our certificates. I got level 1 for sailing + windsurfing.
Over the weekends the Sea cadets have lots of different things you can volunteer for. The first one I did was Asda Bag Pack day. It was on a saturday and sunday. I just did the saturday. We were all assigned to a different checkout. We had to start at 10am and finish at 4pm.
All we had to do was stand by the wall in front of our own checkout and wait till a customer came to the checkout and then simply ask if they would like you to pack their bags for them. Sometimes they would put some change in the bucket.
I was stood next to a bench. Most of the parents told their children to sit on it and wait. I had a couple of long conversations with the children. Once one asked me if I was a policeman and another time a little girl was telling me it was her birthday and telling me what she had done that day. Over the weekend we raised £700 for the sea cadets.
I also volunteered for fund raising in the town center of Accrington. It was only from 10 am – 2 pm. We were fundraising here because they have just opened a new shop for information about the sea cadets. We had to wear our Number 1 (best uniform) for this occasion.
We raised £200 on that day.
One weekend I camped out at the unit with cadets from my unit and other units and we learnt some catering skills, it was fun as we played games in the evening and had a laugh.
My first swimming competition with the sea cadets was in Rochdale. It was a district competition. There was about 7 different units there. I only did two lengths of breaststroke. I was against a girl from my unit and one other girl. I came first. It was an all day competition. Once everybody had finished they gave the results. The boys from our unit came second and the girls came first. Our unit won altogether. So we brought back two trophies . Me and some other cadets from our unit got through to the area competition on October the 12th in Blackpool.
Me and two other girls got through to the Area swimming competition. It was in Blackpool and we were against other districts such as; North Wales or Liverpool district. There were eight different districts there. We swam with and for the North-East district. Burnley’s Training Officer didn’t sort the T1’s out for the Burnley cadets so when Burnley unit arrived at Blackpool in the end they couldn’t compete so they went home(plus they were in our district so they let us down a bit).
I was meant to do the Medley(all four strokes),individual breaststroke and individual freestyle. In the end I ended up doing individual breaststroke, a team Medley in which i did breast and a team freestyle. Which was reaIly good because I hate butterfly. I came first in my breaststroke. A girl from my unit and two other cadets from different units(but swam with us because they were in the North-East district) and myself swam in both the team Medley and the team freestyle race. We won both of them. Altogether I won three gold medals. We came 5th out of eight units,Liverpool won.