Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the cadet forces

DAILY GRIND

Central Leader - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Liz Martin hopes her chil­dren will grow up lov­ing the New Zealand Cadet Forces as much as she does.

She is mother to Annabelle, 4, and Shep­ard, 18 months, and is ex­cited about the ar­rival of her third child in early Jan­uary.

Mrs Martin bal­ances her fam­ily with her vol­un­teer work as an Air Force train­ing of­fi­cer in the New Zealand Cadet Forces.

Last week she was awarded a Long Ser­vice Medal for 15 years with the corps. It’s one of the few medals awarded to civil­ians.

The involvement makes life very busy for Mrs Martin, who is still try­ing to find time to dec­o­rate her Christ­mas tree.

‘‘It’s vol­un­tary, though. If I didn’t en­joy do­ing it I wouldn’t make the time.’’

The rea­son she does quite sim­ple, she says.

‘‘I’m pretty much there for the teenagers. I just love watch­ing them come in as 13-year-olds who are com­pletely un­aware of the world. We get to see them as they grow up.’’

The 30-year-old says the cadet forces gave her a great sense of be­long­ing as a teen. She joined at the age of 14 while study­ing at Ep­som Girls Gram­mar.

Af­ter three years’ train­ing

it

is she be­came a ju­nior leader and was made an of­fi­cer at 21.

Mrs Martin says the train­ing pays off for the teens.

‘‘The cadets are much more con­fi­dent and have more per­sonal drive. I can really see the dif­fer­ence that the mil­i­tary-flavoured train­ing does give.’’

The cadets range from teenagers in­ter­ested in an armed forces ca­reer to fos­ter chil­dren who have been ad­vised to join by or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Child Youth and Fam­ily.

‘‘We have a whole cross­sec­tion of cul­tures and back­grounds that come but you stick the same uni­form on them and they’re just a team. They be­come a com­mu­nity within the first month.’’

Cadets wear the stan­dard New Zealand Navy, Army and Air Force uni­forms with dif­fer­ent badges.

There’s a fairly even be­tween the gen­ders.

split

‘‘I ac­tu­ally had more girls this year but I prob­a­bly see the boys grow more, just be­cause that change be­tween 13 and 18 is more ob­vi­ous.

‘‘You def­i­nitely see a big dif­fer­ence phys­i­cally and men­tally in all of them by the end.’’

Mrs Martin will take at least the first term off next year when the baby ar­rives but she doesn’t in­tend to stay away from cadets for too long.

At weekly meet­ings Mrs Martin teaches Air Train­ing Corps Squadron 19 drills, first aid, avi­a­tion, bushcraft, ser­vice knowl­edge, tar­get shoot­ing, tramp­ing, and lead­er­ship at the Unitec cam­pus in Mt Al­bert.

She has also led field trips to air force bases in­clud­ing Waiouru.

More teenagers should con­sider join­ing, Mrs Martin says.

‘‘If you’re ad­ven­tur­ous, then you’ll get lots more ad­ven­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘I think it just sells con­fi­dence and gives teenagers the op­por­tu­nity to lead oth­ers.’’

The New Zealand Cadet Forces is a vol­un­tary, dis­ci­plined lead­er­ship or­gan­i­sa­tion for youth aged 13 to 18.

It is made up of the Sea Cadet Corps, the New Zealand Cadet Corps and the Air Train­ing Corps.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Fly­ing high: Full-time mother and vol­un­teer Air Corps of­fi­cer Liz Martin is look­ing for­ward to the fu­ture af­ter re­ceiv­ing her Long Ser­vice Medal last week.

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