The Cadet Corps is facing growing pains that probably weren’t imagined when the programme first kicked off.
While the issues facing the programme are varied, it is welcome news that the concept has been so widely accepted and supported.
When talks of introducing a Cadet Corps to the Cayman Islands first began there was some controversy, especially from those who frowned at the military style and demeanour of such groups.
But the nay-sayers have been proven wrong.
The Cadet Corps was started in 2001 with a few boys and girls. It now boasts more than 230 youngsters and more than 30 are on a waiting list.
It’s a shame that there has to be a waiting list, but the fact there is one proves the popularity of the programme.
One of the reasons for the waiting list is a lack of staff. At least one more person is needed as are more volunteers.
Too, the Cadet Corps has outgrown its base at the First Assembly Church of God where it moved after its headquarters was destroyed in Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Plans are also in the works to expand the Corps’ Band and Marine detachments, including buying kayaks and dinghies.
An increase in funding will help with the extra staffer and the expansion of programmes, but the Corps is in desperate need of a new place to call home.
The 30-plus youngster on the waiting list won’t be the only ones trying to get into the Corps.
As the programme grows, so will the need for proper classroom spaces.
The Cadet Corps isn’t a boot camp for troublesome teens. It is filled with cadets who volunteer to be in the programme and who have a high standard of character.
The youngsters train at least twice per week and learn about discipline, leadership and self confidence.
Many adults in the Cayman Islands often complain that there isn’t anything for youngsters to do after school.
We beg to differ.
The Cadet Corps is being used in the Brac as a perfect after school activity and more youngsters on Grand Cayman should be encouraged to enrol.
But first, the Cadet Corps’ issues have to be addressed.
Volunteers are desperately needed, especially those with military backgrounds.
The Cadet Corps is reaching out to our youth. It’s time for us to reach out to the Cadet Corps with our support.