DAR learns about Toledo Sea Cadets from Sylvania Lieutenant Commander

by Bev St. Clair

Lt. Commander Jeff Nowakowski of Sylvania recently spoke at the monthly meeting of the Fort Industry Chapter of DAR on his involvement with the Toledo Sea Cadets, Commodore Perry Division. The Sea Cadets is the Navy and Coast Guard’s official youth group open to boys and girls ages 10-18. The Junior program is for young people ages 10 through 13, and the Senior program includes ages 14 to 18. The objectives of the program are to foster leadership, discipline, patriotism and self-reliance. There are over 400 units in the U.S. including 12,000 cadets and 2,000 staff members, all but 10 of whom are volunteers, like Lt. Nowakowski. He has been with the group for 11 years, having served as Instructor, Training Officer, Operations Officer and Executive Officer. The Commodore Perry Division is comprised of 22 cadets, and they drill one weekend per month for 11 months of the year, either at the University of Toledo ROTC facility or the Coast Guard station. During the summer, cadets attend a 1-2 week training camp at military installations throughout the country.
The cadets are introduced to naval life and they wear the Navy uniform, modified with USNSCC patches. No prior military background is required, nor is any military commitment required after completion of the program. However, those who do choose military life are eligible for a pay grade boost and have an easier time at “real” boot camp.
The motto of the Sea Cadets is “Chart Your Course,” which is reflected by allowing the cadets to choose their own direction. They can receive training in areas such as firefighting, aviation, scuba diving, ice safety, marksmanship, SEALs, and the medical and culinary fields. In this way, they can try different career paths and many discover what they want to do for a living, whether as a member of the military service or as a civilian.
The Fort Industry chapter of DAR has a long-standing relationship with the Commodore Perry Division. For many years it has presented a worthy cadet with a medal and monetary prize. The recipient is chosen on the basis of coursework, attendance and activities.

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