Manitoulin Sea Cadet Corps embraces new MSS home

Petty officer First Class Instructor cadet Quentis Wood of Sheguiandah   shows  sea cadets Kyra Carpenter of Little Current, Von Clayton of Manitowaning and Austin Recollect of M’Chigeeng training on a ship stimulator at the 348 Manitoulin Royal Canadian sea cadet corps open house held recently at Manitoulin Secondary School.

M’CHIGEENG—The Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps (RCSCC) is an excellent program for youth aged 12 to 18 and Manitoulin is fortunate to have a chapter in this organization.

The 348 Manitoulin RCSCC was created in 2004. The group’s mission statement sets out that the aim of the RCSCC is to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship, leadership, to promote physical fitness and stimulate the interest of the youth in the sea, land, and air activities of the Canadian forces. Members learn life skills, leadership, teamwork, self-discipline, organization and effective communication. The RCSCC shares these aims with the army and air cadets.

The program not only promotes these attributes, it also offers courses in all things water from sailing, swimming, boating, scuba diving and water sports to naval knowledge. Sea Cadets also learn marksmanship, music and camping and take part in community events and parades.

A summer training centre offers cadets courses of up to eight weeks that take place across Canada. These camps are free to attend and include general training, basic seamanship, basic drill and ceremonies, band, sail, boatswain’s mate, drill and ceremonial instructor, and sail instructor.

Senior cadets can apply for paid summer jobs as training staff as well as international exchanges and ship deployment on Canadian Navy and Coast Guard ships.

The 348 Manitoulin RCSCC were pleased recently to move to the more centrally located new digs at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS). Acting Sub-Lieutenant Sylvain Boucher, who spent 16 years with the Navy League in Sudbury, has been with the corps for three years and is the commanding officer. He was particularly grateful to MSS Principal Jamie Mohamed, telling The Expositor, “he worked really hard to get this for us.” This includes the use of the school gym for practice, an office and a classroom which means the cadets can leave their uniforms at the school.

The 348 Manitoulin Royal Canadian sea cadet corps held an open house recently at their new home at Manitoulin Secondary School. Pictured are Naval cadet officer instructor Terry Morphet of Sheguiandah, petty officer  second class, Lauren MacKay and chief petty officer Miranda MacKay of Kagawong and acting sub-lieutenant, commanding officer Sylvain Boucher.

Mr. Boucher explained that the corps holds its regular parade night every Monday and does specialty training on Sundays, which may mean range marksmanship or band and enter competitions in Sudbury with air, sea and army cadets. “Manitoulin has been very successful at competitions,” Mr. Boucher added. Indeed, the corps came third in a field of 20 in a marksmanship competition in Sudbury on March 3.

Mr. Boucher is supported in the sea cadet organization by Lieutenant Naval Maggie King-Roi, who serves as the administration officer and executive officer and second-in-command Tina Davidson.

Another RCSCC officer is Terry Morphet of Sheguiandah. He was part of the Canadian Forces, serving in the artillery branch of the regular army for six years. Mr. Morphet is an instructor and had warm words for these sea cadets.

“It is very good what we have here,” he said. “There is so much positivity and enthusiasm coming from these cadets. These kids are committed, committed to coming every week. This cadet corps is great and has awesome officers and cadets.”

Mr. Morphet also spoke of the advantages of being a sea cadet and said that the corps members get to travel to Nova Scotia, British Columbia and the Royal Military College in Kingston. He said the cadets are paid to go to the training centre in the summer months to receive specialized training, including instruction on the navy’s Orca training tenders. 

Orcas operate year-round in the waters of British Columbia and not only provide training missions but also support the province’s communities by taking part in local festivals and maritime events. While patrolling the waters, reports are made regarding suspicious activity, pollution infractions  and fishing violations, as well as offering support in search and rescue events and assisting boaters in distress.

Petty Officer First Class Quentis Wood, also of Sheguiandah, was on hand at the recent open house event at the high school to show cadets and visitors the workings of a ship simulator. Mr. Wood participated in the Orca class patrol boat training for two weeks and took the bosun mate course. As he explained, there were many aspects to this training including practice being a helmsman, navigator and lookout, and practice being a petty officer of the watch position. This involved practice drills, response to fire alarms on board, man overboard scenarios, rudder problems and first aid. 

Also members of the Manitoulin sea cadets are sisters Petty Officer (PO) Second Class Lauren MacKay and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Second Class Miranda Mackay. They live in Kagawong and the CPO outlined her duties as the cadet coxswain which means she is in charge of the cadets. This is the highest level a Sea Cadet can attain and is a direct line to the commanding officer. The coxswain ensures the proper conduct of the cadets and the following of duties. A new coxswain will be needed soon as Miranda will be leaving the corps and heading off to nursing school, thus ending her five-year stint with the Sea Cadets. She showed her proficiency at the marksmanship competition by placing first in her division. She was the top student for the open category.

The corps is sponsored by the Canadian armed forces and the civilian Navy League of Canada The cadets sign an oath of conduct and develop respect for themselves and other cadets and staff. Parents will be interested to learn that Money Sense magazine listed the Canadian cadet program as one of the top 10 ways to “Build a Better Kid.”

For more information on Manitoulin’s sea cadet corps email 348manitoulin@gmail.com or call 249-777-3114.