The Australian Army Cadet Unit is currently investigating the possibility of establishing a Community Based Australian Army Cadet (AAC) Unit in Hamilton.
This Unit would be an extension of 314 Warrnambool with staffing to be provided by local Hamilton based experienced AAC Officers.
Lieutenant Michael Byrne said, it would be a Community Unit open to everyone between the ages of 13-17 and not affiliated with any school.
“The plan is to establish a community based Army Cadet Unit here in Hamilton. Building on the really positive work Monivae have done with their school based Unit. We want to now offer that opportunity across the broader spectrum, of kids between the ages of 13 and 17 within the region. We’re hoping to begin parading in early 2021 along the school terms in Hamilton and shortly after the school nock-offs for at least once a week."
"School cadets are part of a program within the school. It’s normally a mandatory program for a number of years, and they normally parade once every couple of weeks... We all work to the same learning and teaching continuum Cadet Program but as a community unit we parade weekly and the thing is, the kids really want to be there. And they can really progress right through from a spectrum of ranks and different experiences and specialty skills that they develop."
Lieutenant Michael Byrne said, it's about providing kids with life skills.
"Some kids want to go into the defense forces and that’s great and we’ll help and support them in the process but for a lot of kids they don’t want to do that, but we’re giving them skills for life. It’s communication, planning, the ability to look somebody in the eye and shake their hand. And those little skills can help them in their life, if they’re going for jobs or whatever. We find that a lot of those cadets get all those benefits out of it and self esteem. And in this post-covid world that we’re in now, there’s been a lot of isolation and this is going to bring them back to that sense of community, that sense of belonging, something bigger."