Surviving the ‘Cayman Islands Defence Force’

Topping her eight-year career with the Cayman Island Cadet Corps by attending the annual Caribbean Cadet Camp that was held for the first time in the Cayman Islands, senior cadet Shanice Kelly reflects on her time with the youth organisation, giving insight into what it has to offer young people. 

She initially joined the Cadet Corps after being encouraged to do so by her parents, who wanted her to follow in the footsteps of her older brother, who was already a member of the Corps. However, Kelly soon came to enjoy being a part of the organisation on her own.  

Activities for the Corps vary throughout the year, Kelly explained. For the first three months of training, cadets are required to focus on areas that include drill, field craft and first aid. However, in the summer months cadets partake in activities that are more adventurous, such as scuba diving, culinary arts and automotive skills. 

Kelly also shared some of the more difficult aspects of the programme, describing the field exercises members of the Corps partake in as a part of their training.  

“Field exercises in the Cayman Islands are not ideal,” Kelly explained. “There are no mountains, rivers or streams and staying overnight in desert-like conditions with just food, water and a poncho to provide shelter makes you want to call home to your mother.”  

She also spoke of the “Cayman Islands Defence Force” otherwise known as mosquitoes, explaining that they “never forget to remind you where you are and how much they love you.” 

Members of the cadet corps are given the opportunity to travel to different camps around the world, an example of which being the Caribbean Cadet Camp held here from 6-17 July. “This is my favourite part of the Cadet Corps,” says Kelly who travelled to and met cadets from places as far away as Australia and Europe, as well as in North America.  

“Cultural differences have always intrigued and puzzled me,” Kelly explained as she spoke about her international experiences. “Here in Cayman, there are certain things that we do, and in another country it may be the polar opposite.”  

All things considered, Kelly is certain that being a cadet benefited her greatly. “The memories that I have gotten from being a part of the Cadet Corps are unforgettable,” Kelly noted. 

When asked what messages she would like to pass on to those interested in joining, she stated, “It may be difficult at times, but if you stick it out, you will eventually reap the benefits of the programme.” 

Cayman Islands Cadet Corps

Warrant Officer Class One Shanice Kelly receives her Duke of Edinburgh award from Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor during an award ceremony earlier this month. – Photo: Submitted
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