Cadets has so far afforded me with many different privileges and opportunities that I would have otherwise gone without; Cadet 150, a trip to Australia, my numerous flying sessions and best of all; shooting. Most recently however, I was lucky enough to attend the Junior NCO Course.
This course is a difficult opportunity to attain, as our Squadron is often only given one, and at its best two, spaces to send our selected Cadets. Its clear why, administration wants to regulate the number of leaders that we have in the Squadrons, to ensure that the chain of command remains valid. Because this course, unlike others, is built around building leaders and training the next Junior NCOs (Non Commissioned Officers) of the Squadrons.
On this course we had forty Cadets and aspiring leaders meet at RNZAF Base Ohakea for an entire week, to learn the leadership skills that we would require for our promotion.
Our training on the JNCO Course consisted of four terminals; squad handling, public speaking, teaching drill and most importantly leadership.
The concept of squad handling is simple, it’s leading a group of Cadets in drill, commanding their movements, keeping everyone strictly in line while simultaneously watching for, and helping any Cadets that are having trouble with the movements. It’s a difficult balance to find, but I enjoy it very much.
Our next aspect of training was public speaking, where we all had to write two presentations and deliver them to our peers, one five minutes long and the other ten. While I normally enjoy public speaking, I found that remarkably I had no nerves during this particular deliverance. This is because of the friendly and supportive atmosphere that was fostered amongst our group, meaning that none of us were worried in the slightest about the impression that we gave off, because we all knew that the opinions that our new friends had of us wouldn’t waver based on our performance.
Our next test was on our ability to instruct drill, and while it was very monotonous to constantly act as a student so that my peers could take their turn to instruct, we all managed to enjoy ourselves thoroughly.
Finally, and most importantly, we were tested on our leadership skills. Each member of our syndicate was given a turn to lead us in the completion of a small task, whether it was the cleaning of a room, the moving of a cotton wheel from one field to another or the removal of a tent peg from a circle that we weren’t allowed to enter. This was an incredibly enjoyable set of activities because it provided diversity, organisation and an odd sense of comradeship that I have not encountered anywhere else.
While all of these activities were tremendous fun the fact is that the best part of this experience was the people. I have met so many interesting new friends on JNCO course that I am still, and will continue to be, in touch with. There’s just something about meeting such a diverse group of people from all around the country, and doing so under such a well organised and controlled environment that I really enjoyed, as did everyone of us.