I joined Sea Cadets when I was 10 because my sister loved it. And at first, I did too. Those first few years were full of friendship and laughter, learning and teaching. I learnt more than I ever thought I could do; How to sail, how to row, how to be a learner. I learnt who I was.
But then, I guess, I grew up. And I saw the side of people I hadn’t seen when I was younger. It started with the old C.O, when he came back. He just didn’t care, and started knocking the unit backwards, almost trying to destroy it. It took 3 years, but finally someone listen to our cries for help, and he was told to leave.
That’s where the new Commanding Officer comes in. When he joined, I thought he would be amazing for the job. Don’t get me wrong, I love him. He’s lovely, funny and kind. But he just isn’t what we need. In my unit, we need a C.O that doesn’t just run the unit, we need one to control the staff.
Control the staff? Yes, that’s what’s needed in this unit.
I became a staff member about 10 months ago, the day after my 18th birthday. I became staff because I want to help other cadets to develop and find themselves. I wanted to help them in any way I could, and help them for their future. You would have thought every instructor was there for that reason.
There are instructors in my unit that are not there for the cadets. They are there for selfish gain, to brag to others that they are in a charity. But they spend the time at the unit drinking tea and causing arguments, sat in the staff room….and not teaching.
Really. I will give an example. Last Friday, we were missing the 3 senior members of staff. From the second one instructor came in, I knew she was looking for a fight. She managed to reduce one person to tears BEFORE the cadet night actually started. She did this by yelling at her in front of every cadet there.
Shouting in front of cadets. No. you do not do that. You are an instructor, act like one.
So I went to try and stop this, and said instructor then turned on me. I will point out she is twice my size and shouting in my face. Yeah. Aggressive. I was really scared, as I had no one there that would stop her. So I ended up locking myself in the office for half the night, because I really didn’t trust her temper.
All this time, there was a classroom with 10 cadets inside, waiting for someone to teach them. But did the other instructor? No. she sat and drank tea. Once I calmed down, I went straight into the classroom, tear streaked and taught a lesson.
I can’t face going into cadets tonight, even though it means I am letting the cadets down. Because I now can’t trust the other staff to work with me and to keep their temper.
And this is where it gets sadder. This is not the first problem I have had with other staff in the unit. And I am getting to the point of not being able to go in at all.
So I am now stuck. Cadets used to be a place I loved, but now I just go because I don’t want to let the cadets down. I get so stressed there, and I lose sleep.
So what do I do? Do I end my 10 years of being involved? Leave without a look back like my head tells me to do, or do I stay and hope that one day (hopefully soon) the instructors that ruin the unit leave and it will once again be the place I love, like my heart tells me to do?