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Dec 11, 2017

Coast Guard Introduces Sea Cadets

The Sea Cadets – they are the young new faces on whom the Coast Guard hopes to make an impression. After years of planning, the Coast Guard is taking fifty students under its wings. The recruits will participate in different activities organized by the Coast Guard and will receive mentorship with the help of Restore Belize. News Five’s Andrea Polanco tells us more about how this program will work.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

These students are the fifty new sea cadets, intake number one of the Belize Coast Guard. The Sea Cadet and Mentorship Program is the first of its kind for the Coast Guard Commander Elton Bennett says it has been in the pipeline for a few years, and now they are ready to help these at risk youth.

 

Elton Bennett

Commander Elton Bennett, Vice-Commandant, BCG

“When we developed our Coast Guard medium term strategy, we decided to look at the root causes of maritime crime. Very similar to Restore Belize strategy, so we have a lot of similarities there. So, we look at the possibility of impacting the young people at a very early stage in their lives. So, for the past few years we have been looking at how well we can interact and get involved in those schools. Finally, we decided let’s go at it and see how best we can get involved partnering with different schools and Restore Belize in order for us to be able to reach those children we believe we could impact.”

 

Students ages eight through twelve make up this program. They are from about five schools across the City. Fifteen of them from Saint John Vianney Primary School:

 

James Lewis

James Lewis, Sea Cadet, St John Vianney

“Miss, I am really excited because I want to join Coast Guard because I love all the things.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What will you be looking forward to the most – ah know you will be doing a lot of activities?”

 

James Lewis

“I would want to go out in the sea, in the boat.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And then you will also have field trips, as well?”

 

James Lewis

“Yes, miss. I also like to go on field trips too.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Has this always been something you want to do and why?”

 

James Lewis

“Yes because I wanted to do it because I see lotta people drown in the water and I want that to be my dream to rescue someone.”

 

Geraldine Jones

Geraldine Jones, Vice Principal, St. John Vianney Primary School

“Besides the academic, often times we know that in addition to that, to develop the child holistically there are other things they need besides the academics and so with all the other drills and sometimes they may need assistance with their homework and all of this will be done in this program; to develop skills, abilities and other potential they may have, henceforth, we see the need for the program and to be a part of it.”

 

The program will engage these fifty students in a number of activities. It is modeled after a Scout Program – but with a focus on sea activities and skills. The cadets will be doing two sessions per week after school, as well as one weekend per month. These sessions will be enhanced with field trips and other educational and character-building elements.

 

Commander Elton Bennett

“It is a program that starts today; launches today and will forever be a part of the Belize Coast Guard. So, it is similar to a Scout program because we refer to it as a sea cadet program because we will teach them basic life skills, we will teach them a little bit of seamanship and a little bit of drill and discipline and that goes with a young organization.”

 

Gilroy Lewis

Lt. Jr. Grade Gilroy Lewis, IC, Sea Cadet Program, BCG

“It is a mentorship program, first of all, and secondly, it afford the individual to learn different skill set as it relates to drills; fundamentals of sports; the ability for team work and to enhance their morals as an individual coming up.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

While the launch took place today, the program officially commences on January ninth, 2018.

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