Once an avenue of formal military training, the Australian Army Cadets is now a youth development organisation, which has transformed to reflect changing times and attitudes. Why do some schools place such importance in Army Cadets?
The life skills gained through Army Cadets are transferable and can be applied immediately in school and later in adult life. Amongst the training that Cadets receive are lessons in first aid, living in the field, navigation and field craft, drill and leadership. Here we examine just a few of the benefits of taking part in Cadets as part of an all-round education.
1. Dealing with pressure
The benefit of first aid training may well be self-evident. However, in addition to learning first aid, boys learn how to perform under pressure, how to take control of a situation and importantly, how to remain calm as they deal with what could be an intense event.
2. Learn self-reliance
In an age when many young people are spending less time in the outdoors, Cadets provides an opportunity for boys to spend time ‘in the bush’. They learn how to establish a safe campsite, how to take care of their own hygiene and how to prepare a meal for themselves (from food supplied).
3. Manage challenges
Navigation using a map and compass is, for some boys, very challenging. However, it can foster a greater interest in developing and learning how to manage yourself and others under pressure. Boys learn to face challenges, overcome them, and recognise that challenge provides an opportunity for personal growth.
4. Strengthen self-discipline
Standing to attention and then at-ease is a mystery to most boys and is something they might see at a public ceremony or in the movies. Whilst the skills of drill may appear straight forward, boys need to learn about control and team work when they are involved in drill and parading. In addition to being part of a team, boys must learn about and develop self-discipline – standing perfectly still for a period of time requires significant effort for an adolescent boy. The sense of achievement that comes from taking part in a drill activity is enormous and helps boys realise that dedication, commitment and precision can have a positive impact.
5. Build leadership and responsibility
Perhaps the most recognisable skill that boys learn is that of leadership. Boys who take part in Cadets learn how to care for their peers, direct them and make sure that they are having a good time. Few other activities in a school allow for boys to have responsibility for their direct peers or younger students for extended periods. A senior boy (under staff supervision) is likely to be responsible for the welfare of twenty or more younger boys over the period of a week. He must ensure that their hygiene, nutritional, physical and emotional needs are met. Whilst parents may find this a challenge with just one adolescent son, senior boys must care for a whole group of boys. They must do this all the while managing the interactions amongst the boys and ensuring that a range of activities are completed safely. The skills of leadership a boy learns in this context are among the most valuable gained through Cadets.
The Trinity Grammar School Army Cadet Unit provides compulsory co-curricular Army Cadet training for all boys in Year 8, with 2017 marking the 80th year of the programme at the School. The Annual Ceremonial Parade provides an opportunity for boys to show what they have learnt in drill over the course of the training year, and is a highlight for parents, teachers and students alike.
Cadets equips Trinity boys with life skills related to leadership, discipline, autonomy and dealing with challenges and pressure – skills that are highly valued in the workplace and in society in general. Trinity has found that those boys who continue beyond the compulsory two-year cadet window are amongst the best leaders that the School produces.
At Trinity we have inspired boys to realise their potential, passions and purpose in life for over a century. If you would like to find out more about the Trinity difference and the vast array of co-curricular activities on offer, download our prospectus.