Volunteer spotlight: parents who volunteer

Many volunteers have children who attend Sea Cadets, which can be a positive experience for everyone. They share their stories

Husband and wife team First Lieutenant Kevin Barriteau-Haynes and Probationary Petty Officer (SCC) Lydia Barriteau-Haynes are from Croydon Unit

First Lieutenant Kevin Barriteau-Haynes and Probationary Petty Officer Lydia Barriteau-Haynes

Lydia: “Being parents of sea cadets, we are able to get our children interested in activities apart from the internet!  Volunteering means we can be with them at events, camps etc. We thought you would need a military background to join, but you don’t.

“Our eldest son was a sea cadet and is now a volunteer. It has made him more confident and helped him acquire a place at university. We’ve seen our unit go from strength to strength and are very proud
to have been a part of that.” 

Kevin: “We’ve personally gained a lot from Sea Cadets as well. I’m in the process of completing my Power Boat Instructor course. We both have a First Aid qualification. We have better communication skills from supporting young people with different needs and backgrounds.

“We can use all this in everyday life. Volunteers can also gain qualifications that are recognised outside of Sea Cadets, like sailing, navigation and catering. We get to travel to other parts of the country, visit different units, meet other volunteers and gain new friendships.” 

Lieutenant Commander (SCC) Lisa Grinter, from Portsmouth Unit, joined in 2012. She is now District Officer for Wessex District

Lieutenant Commander Lisa Grinter

I became a volunteer at 18 to give something back to the charity that had a positive impact on my life growing up. It is so much better than I could have ever imagined. It has helped to develop my leadership and management skills, which I can also use at work. 

Volunteering when you have a child at Sea Cadets is an enriching experience. As a family, it can be a challenge to find
the time to spend with each other, so it gives you the opportunity to spend time with your children and witness the superb things they are achieving – while you get to engage with activities you may be interested in doing, too. 

Being a volunteer has allowed my confidence to grow and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. There is something for everyone and it is so rewarding. It gives you somewhere to meet new people, be part of a supportive community and have some fun, while making a difference to the lives of others. 

Sea Cadets was a real adventure for my girls, Emily and Eden. It gave them a place where they felt safe, happy and included. They were able to experience so many fantastic opportunities and learn new skills, which has all contributed towards them maturing into independent young women. Their motivation to succeed in all that they do stems from their time at Sea Cadets and, as a mother, I am very thankful to all the tremendous volunteers that contributed towards their experience. Emily is currently at university studying law and Eden has recently joined the Ambulance Service.

One of the best things about volunteering is being inspired by so many amazing volunteers who go above and beyond to give the best possible experience to our cadets. Having that sense of pride when you have helped them achieve a goal, knowing for some it was a challenge, but they gave it a go, really puts a smile on my face and reminds me why I truly appreciate how privileged I am to be a Volunteer.

Susan Brogan, from Musselburgh Unit, became a volunteer in 2017

Susan with her daughter Tilly

Volunteering gives me much more than I expected. I’ve gained new skills, from understanding the ranks and rates within the SCC, to learning different ways to deliver an activity so that everyone has the opportunity to take part. And, most importantly, just being there to support and listen to the young people at our unit. There are lots of benefits to being a parent of a cadet, as it gives your child the opportunity to teach you new things. This can be a great confidence booster for them, and is a good bonding opportunity.  

Working with young people can be challenging as they think you have never been young! I feel my confidence with this is much better now, and being able to communicate with them has been a real boost. To watch cadets advance and grow into confident young people, and to know that you may have made a difference to that young person, is so rewarding.

My daughter Tilly joined as a junior. She is now in her final year and has just achieved her rank of POC. With the routine of Sea Cadets and consistency of learning, it helped her navigate those most difficult teenage years with more confidence.

My volunteering highlight so far was being welcomed into a very warm environment, being encouraged and feeling included. You’re never too old to learn something new and I am very lucky to be surrounded by a fantastic group of mentors. I’m looking forward to doing my Powerboating Level 2, something I have never done before. 

I think volunteering is very important as everyone has a skill of some sort and its important to pass that on to our young people, as they are the future.

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