Police officer, Harry, has been a deputy police cadet leader at the Colchester unit for almost three years. He knew the positive impact the volunteer cadet programme could have on young people and was keen to offer his help.
In 2016 Harry had joined the then new cadet unit in Colchester as a young teenager. As a shy 15-year-old boy lacking in confidence, Harry had decided to give cadets two weeks before leaving. But Harry went from strength to strength and continued to be a cadet for the next five years.
When Harry reached the age where he couldn’t be a cadet any more, he was keen to remain involved. He wanted to give something back to the programme that had given him so much. So, when the opportunity presented itself, he jumped a the chance to volunteer as a cadet leader.
“The volunteer police cadet programme was instrumental in helping me grow in confidence and become the police officer and person I am today,” said Harry. “I know how it feels to be someone who lacks confidence, and I know how the cadet programme can help young people grow. When the opportunity came up to continue working with the Colchester cadet unit, I had no hesitation.”
Harry’s experience as a cadet has enabled him to support others through the programme. Those involved benefit from his insight and knowledge. But it’s not just the cadets that continue to gain from his participation. Seeing shy young people grow into confident young adults is hugely rewarding for Harry.
“One of my favourite things to happen is when I have to tell a once shy and quiet cadet, who held back from getting involved and didn’t proactively engage with others, to be quiet because they won’t stop talking! Or when I see them leading the other cadets in the drill marches. That’s when I know we’ve helped someone and given them confidence.”
The volunteer police cadet programme prides itself on providing opportunities for young people, no matter their background or financial circumstances. A memorable moment for Harry was when he accompanied a cadet unit on a trip to Wales.
“I always remember when we took the unit on a trip to Wales. One of the cadets said to me that they were so excited because they’d never been to another country before. “Lots of us take travel for granted. In that moment I realised that if it wasn’t for our cadet programme, then this young person may not have got to experience what it was like to travel further afield or try something new. To be able to help facilitate that experience for this young person made me realise how I was having a positive impact on someone’s life.”
Our Cadet programme relies on our volunteer cadet leaders. Without them, we couldn’t offer young people in our communities these amazing opportunities. If you’re interested in volunteering as a police cadet leader, please get in contact with us.