Cindy Cui “My time as a cadet has changed my life”

Confidence sets us up for lifelong success. It is one of the key factors to helping children navigate through adulthood. Hence, for any child, it is very important to ensure that they are groomed to have a positive self-image, competent and super confident abilities.
Today, as always, we proudly raise our glasses to celebrate the Navy League of Canada for actively supporting young Canadians to become more aware of the world around them, become self-sufficient and confident in their skills. Throughout our programs, Cadets, like Cindy Cui learn to develop a genuine interest in their community’s well-being and are equipped with good leadership skills to become active citizens.
In her own words, Cindy, the 2021 National Music Sea Cadet captioned the impacts of the Cadets program this way “My time as a cadet has changed my life, and the lives of others, for the better. The various leadership, instructional, and project management skills that I have refined continue to support me in the activities that I pursue in hopes of making a positive impact in my communities”
In this edition of Awesome Cadets, Cindy shares her Cadet journey and the joy that comes with it. Enjoy!

Tell us the story of how you joined the Cadet Organization. What was the motivating factor?
I suppose I was destined to be a musically-involved cadet ever since I joined: I was introduced to the cadet program by a violin teacher! After some intense poking and prodding by my parents, I was soon well-immersed in the sea cadet organization. The senior cadets who led our training nights, activities, and parades inspired me to stick with the program through thick and thin for the past six years. Even to this day, I look up to them as my role models. Ultimately, my goal as a cadet has been to inspire others to grow and learn through the cadet program as my role models inspired me.

How did you feel winning the 2021 National Music Sea Cadet, and what advice would you want to share with those who might be on the fence about joining the Cadet programs?
It was an honor to receive the National Music Sea Cadet award, and it meant even more as we were forced online due to COVID. I hope that during those trying online times, the award served to remind cadets of what they could achieve with their musical contributions.
To those of you who are on the fence, I say come on over! The cadet program is a safe space for you to make mistakes, learn, and grow. There are very few programs that will give you the chance to practice your skills in a low-risk environment. It gives you the chance to screw up safely – with mentors and a community to support you! Afterward, you are released into the real world, now with an array of incredibly important skills under your belt.

Cadets leave the program with a genuine interest in their community’s well-being and are equipped with skills to become active citizens. Which of the skills do you currently find the most useful for you in your community?
The cadet program emphasizes proactiveness. In doing so, it encourages cadets to seek opportunities to improve their communities. The ability to see something that could use work and step in to fill the role is invaluable as a member of the community. For me, this meant working with a volunteer-run, non-profit organization called The Learning Bridge to support student learning during the pandemic. I’ve also found that the numerous soft skills I’ve acquired as a cadet such as communication, leadership, ability to take responsibility – continue to help tremendously in my time as an active community member.

If you were to address the Navy League President, all the Division Presidents, and Commanders, what would you say attracts young people to the cadet program? What advice would you give them on how to make the program more attractive to young people?
In my experience, I’ve found cadets join the program for the fancy stuff ( flying, sailing, marksmanship, biathlon, band, etc), but end up staying for the growth opportunities, the support from the community, and the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
I would offer two suggestions:
Firstly, continue to provide engaging, hands-on activities like flying, sailing, band, and marksmanship. They are key skills that every cadet should have the opportunity to learn, and of course, they’re great fun.
Secondly, because much of the growth and support comes from cadets’ direct superiors, their officers, and corps/squadron staff, the second piece of advice I have is to strive to maintain a strong, supportive officer group for every corps/squadron. They are the key to providing cadets with opportunities to grow and learn. Personally, I have much to thank my officers for, and I’m sure many cadets would say the same!

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