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Lt(N) Deck

Change: Don't Fight It or Fear It. Feel it and Fuel It!

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This blog entry is to reply to some comments made in this fantastic blog entry. You should read that first.

I have been involved with the Cadet program for about 30 years between being a Cadet and an Officer. The training program has changed 3 times (twice on the Sea Cadet side and then across the board with the CPU) during my time. Summer training courses have changed. Places I went to summer training are no longer Cadet Summer Training Centers. Places I sent Cadets for summer training are no longer Cadet Summer Training Centers.

When I started as a Cadet all 3 elements wore green uniforms, the Sea Cadet blues were for ceremonial use only, and we heard from the old timers that a great tradition had died and that Sea Cadets would never be the same again because the uniform changed. Yet today, Sea Cadets still proudly wear the old blues on Ceremonial occasions, mostly at CSTCs as stock has disappeared at units over the years.

I took the Practical Leadership Course in '86. It was 8 weeks long, but some of the course content had changed in the years prior, and it used to be 9 weeks. The old-timers told us that the course would never be he same again, that PL did not mean the same thing because it was different than when they took it. It was still one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. When the PL course changed to 6 weeks a few years later, I was one of the old-timers who said it would not be the same now that it would 2 weeks shorter. Yet the Cadets that I sent on the course still had one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of their lives. A few years later again, the PL course was ended. I had the privilege of visiting the course at QUADRA, where one of my Cadets was having one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of her life. There were many old-timers there that summer, lamenting the end of the course, and cursing the changes that ended it. Yet they and I all got up at 5:30 in the morning during our visit, and jetty-jumped with the last batch of PLs, to be part of that final experience.

The 3-year Gunnery course became the de-facto "elite" course at QUADRA and other Sea Cadet camps. Gunz 3 grads were the "hardcore of the hardcore", as we PLs were back in our day.

As an Officer, I also started in a green uniform, and was very happy to move back to a navy blue one early in my career, just like the old-timers (pre-CF-unification) wore.

As an Officer, I have seen so many regulations change, policies brought in, revised, scrapped and replaced. What most of you know as CHAP was new a decade ago. Before that was a hastily brought in program that filled the gap until CHAP was developed. Before that...there was nothing specific besides the divisional system and common sense to address or prevent problems (which obviously did not always work.) Now CHAP is gone and PSRY is in its' place.

We used to do everything on paper. Then those of us with early computers and printers started setting up Cadet stuff. As a Cadet, I did our unit phone lists, memos, training plan, training aids etc on my home computer, first on my Commodore 64, then on my 8088 Windows 3 PC. When we got some PCs at the Cadet unit courtesy of the local base, I remember creating memo templates, in Word Perfect, training schedules in Lotus 1-2-3, admin databases with phone list and mailing list reports in Paradox database software. I remember in the pre-internet days, some enterprising Alberta Detachment staff set up a computer bulletin board so those of us with computers, modems and tech know-how could log in, communicate, share documents, etc. It was a lot of fun to share with other units how we had each set up documents, spreadsheets, databases for managing training and admin. I remember the first painful implementation of the CadetNet email system. I remember the first attempt at a National standard for websites (the old HTML templates.) That was replaced by the current Ektron CMS based system, which has been painful at times too. I remember when the first version of Fortress rolled out and became a National standard and requirement for Cadet personnel database management. Now we are at Fortress version 2, and that has been painful at times too.

What courses will there be in another decade? What training centers will close, what new ones open? What will replace PSRY? How many CATOs will get re-written, scrapped, superseded, or dropped? What new computer process will they require us to painfully transition too?

In 30 years, I have seen a lot of changes. But this program is still the most amazing and rewarding youth program in Canada. The Cadets of today are scoffed at by the Cadets of yesteryear for not being as hardcore as they were. Those Cadets will turn around and do the same thing in 5 or 10 years. And yet, the program will still be here, and still challenge youth to be the best they can be.

I always tell younger / new Officers and volunteers that their longevity in this organization will be directly related to their ability to adapt to and roll with the inevitable changes they encounter. Because they WILL encounter change, guaranteed. Roll with it, work with it, fuel it for positive implementation. Don't fight it, don't fear it. Feel the change, and fuel it. You don't always have to like it, but you can make it work better.


Updated 22nd November 2011 at 14:07 by Lt(N) Deck (typos)



  1. Lt(N) Deck -
    Lt(N) Deck's Avatar
    If you liked this blog post and the original it referenced, you may also like this great reply post.

  2. sam.shepherd2379 -
    sam.shepherd2379's Avatar
    See this is a blog I like, and in a way I feel is directed at people like me.
    I'm seeing these changes, and listening to the way things used to be, comparing it to now, and I hate it.

    What I gathered from your post is that you don't like the changes that are going on either, but there is no point in getting upset about it. Just go with it and make the most of it.

    I don't like it, and I spend time talking with other senior cadets about how we don't like the way the organization is going, but you're right, there is no point. Just move on. My time is nearly up anyways. I already sent in my application for the ROTP, and one day I'll be the random guy that walks into the corps and can barely recognize it. But I'll always have the fond memories of what I did get to do as a cadet.
  3. Lt(N) Deck -
    Lt(N) Deck's Avatar
    Thanks for your comments. To clarify one thing, I did not intend to imply that I am opposed to all of the changes I have seen. Most I have been on side with. Some of the tech changes have been painful as I mentioned, not in the concept but in the execution. What sounds great in theory does not always turn out well in practice due to unforeseen issues, limitations or resource inadequacies. I did not agree with some of the summer course changes, but learned to accept them. Like I said, we can either adapt and move on, or let our personal dissatisfaction with changes push us out of the organization. I'd rather be in this org than out of it, so I adapt, improvise and overcome.

    Good luck on your future with the CF!