TS TIGER, Leicester Sea Cadets, is a unit which forms part of the Sea Cadet Corps, a youth organisation for young people aged 9 – 18 years, based on the traditions and customs of the Royal Navy. Cadets are trained in disciplines on and off the water such as first aid, navigation and water sports, whilst being supported by qualified volunteer instructors. They have the opportunity to learn new skills, gain recognised qualifications and develop their leadership and teamwork.
On Monday 22nd April, four cadets from TS TIGER, arrived at Billing Aquadrome to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award Expedition alongside 23 other participants from Wellingborough, Market Harborough and Broughton Astley units. That evening cadets completed some final lock training, cooked their first meal and ensured that they had all their team kit ready for the 0900hrs departure the following day.
The teams set off on the 23rd April to row four Trinity 500’s the 21miles on the River Nene to Thrapston Boat Station. Over the two days they operated a variety of locks, cooked their own meals and camped in accordance with their training. As part of the expedition conditions, cadets had to be self-sufficient and carry their own kit throughout the duration. Volunteer instructors met the teams at various checkpoints throughout the journey.
The expedition provided a valuable experience for the young people to develop their teamwork and communication skills, become more independent and learn more about leadership. The cadets faced various challenges along the way which they had to work together to overcome such as disagreements within the boat, different rowing abilities and keeping up motivation when things were taking longer than expected. Cadets were able to practise their map reading skills and successfully followed their route cards, arriving at the campsite at Ditchford Lock at 1930hrs on the 23rd April.
Cadets awoke early on the 24th April, cooked breakfast and packed their tents away to begin the second leg of their journey along the River Nene, which many of the cadets had never navigated before. Having learnt from the previous day’s events, and having identified the team’s strengths and weaknesses, cadets made their own decisions on crew positions and time management – something that young people tend to have very little experience with as school students.
Two of the cadets from TS TIGER have now completed their Bronze Award and are enthusiastic about starting work on their Silver Award. The expedition enabled one member of TS TIGER staff to see how the expeditions are supervised and assessed for future reference and the unit is starting to build kit for this and now has the required qualifications. We also have a stronger link with staff and cadets at the other participant units after this expedition.
For some of the cadets, this was an opportunity that they wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to have without the kind contribution from the Ulysses Trust to support their expedition. The cadets will be presenting on their expedition within the next few weeks and we hope that this will inspire other cadets within the unit to partake in similar activities when they are old enough to complete the award. We would like to thank the Ulysses Trust for supporting our expedition and for giving our unit the opportunity to partake in this adventure.
Able Cadet Scott Hathaway:
“This expedition was a great opportunity for me to develop my leadership skills, having to deal with arguments within the team and instructing novice rowers in an effective rowing technique. I also worked on my social skills, showing empathy to other team members and building links with cadets from other units.”
Able Cadet Millie-Mae O’Callaghan:
“I would like to say thank you to the Ulysses Trust for helping us fund our expedition. It was a valuable experience for me and I learnt a lot about team dynamics and perseverance.”