POC Takashi Lawson (Maidenhead SCC)
It all started in May 2008; I became very keen on water sports since I went on a one day school trip in year 5 and my neighbours at the time suggested that I should come down to a parade night at TS Iron Duke (Maidenhead SCC Unit) one evening to see if it was for me. I still remember that first evening where I was put straight into a class learning about Cardinal marks!
The experiences I have had over my five years as a cadet have been amazing. In summer 2009 and 2010 I got through to the Sea Cadet National Combined Regatta at the London Excel Centre and represented southern area in kayak racing. Meeting cadets from all over southern area and across the country was a great experience and one I will never forget.
In 2010 I also had the lucky opportunity to spend 3 days 2 nights on HMS Iron Duke – a type 23 frigate – with other cadets from my unit. I got to experience life in the Royal Navy first hand by cook stewarding, going on the bridge, observing a man overboard routine, seeing the engine rooms and even getting to shoot a mini gun! I would like to thank the Royal Navy and the Sea Cadets for this phenomenal experience.
In July 2010 and 2011, I went on Berkshire District’s Weymouth Week where I developed my sailing skills and gained RYA sailing qualifications. Now I can sail backwards, sort of sail with a spinnaker and even sail without a rudder! This was another enjoyable week I have had with cadets and luckily for us it was very sunny.
Surf Kayaking at Saunton Sands, Devon in March 2011 was a very memorable highlight for me. I never knew you could surf in a kayak until I tried it myself and it felt pretty awesome when you caught a wave. Unfortunately for me, it involved a lot of capsizing and swimming but it hasn’t put me off and I hope to complete my BCU 3 Star Surf sometime very soon!
Last September, I was honoured to become one of the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets for Berkshire and have enjoyed the events I have attended. Standing meters away from the Queen and collecting her flowers at the unveiling of a Jubilee Tribute in Windsor is yet again another thing I will never forget. I also had the chance to help out at a BEM and Queens Award for Voluntary Service presentation ceremony and meeting the Mayors of various towns, the High Sheriff and MPs was a great privilege. It also felt pretty weird that tourists from across the world in Windsor asked for photos with me! I would like to thank the Berkshire Lord Lieutenant for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
My time as a sea cadet has definitely been fun but it also allows you to gain nationally recognised qualifications from across the water sports to first aid to even a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The Sea Cadets without doubt develops you as a person and helps prepare you for the working world too: I have certainly developed skills of leadership, responsibility, teamwork and confidence.
I now hope to continue in the Sea Cadets as an instructor, to give back to an organisation that has given me so much. I particularly want to develop my kayaking skills further and become a BCU Level 2 coach over the next few years.
I must end with a massive thank you to the Sea Cadets for the memories and experiences you have given me and my Commanding Officer for all the support she has given me over the past 5 years.
For more information on the Sea Cadets please visit http://www.sea-cadets.org/