Candidate officer Natasha Kelly, 44, values discipline and structure, which she would like to share with Lieutenant Logan, 19, Sergeant Major Jesse, 16, and Sergeant Reese, 13.
They along with other families, sat around the third annual conference and anniversary table of the cadets’ at Westridge High School on Saturday January 30.
The SA cadets is a programme designed for children and adults, with the programmes for young people targeted at age groups of six to seven years; eight to nine years; 10 to 15; and 16 to 23 years old.
On Saturday February 6 they will be hosting their annual registration drive at Westridge High, in Park Avenue, from 1.30pm.
Another reason Ms Kelly joined the cadets was to encourage other women to join and explore other interests.
Ms Kelly said in order for children to be strong “we need to teach (mothers) how to be”.
“Being strong doesn’t mean we don’t break. It’s okay to break. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not be okay.
“In those moments our children see our realness and the truth of life,” she said.
Ms Kelly was raised by her mom, who was a strict disciplinarian.
And, she said: “I have friends in the military and I have always been drawn to structure and discipline.”
She lives by the motto “Children need our presence more than our presents”.
Ms Kelly explained to the plenary on Saturday that many children do not have discipline, character and ambition.
“We as adults cannot display it ourselves,” she said.
“How can we expect children to show discipline if we cannot do it ourselves? Let’s fashion something for them to follow, especially here in the Mitchell’s Plain community,” she said.
“On this platform I serve as a cadet, a mother and a member of the community to the best of my ability.”
Her daughter Logan said being a member of the cadets had instilled confidence and taught her leadership skills.
“I am able to speak out more and have been able to share this with my sisters and mother,” she said.
National commander General Reverend Dr Randall Petersen, from Westridge, founder and leader of the umbrella body, which was launched at Mitchell’s Plain police station on January 28, 2018, said they had 36 branches across South Africa’s nine provinces.
On Saturday February 13 they will launch eight new branches in the Karoo; and in April they will launch new branches in Milnerton, Gordon’s Bay, Khayelitsha and Limpopo.
“We are committed to understanding and training the kids and youth to transform leadership and serve humanity,” he said.
Dr Petersen said the primary role of the cadets was to bring together parents through active involvement with the programme and their uniformed members.
“Here the so-called generation gap disappears as young and old work together in a band of common experience.
“Meaningful relationships are forged as leaders and counsellors join in sharing, building confidence in functioning together,” he said.
He said following the liberation struggle against Apartheid, today’s youth faced poverty, unemployment, inequality and were threatened by multiple challenges, including substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, dropping out of school, prostitution, gangsterism and sexual exploitation.
Having lived in Manenberg for 40 years, before moving to Strandfontein, and having worked for SAPS in Manenberg, Grassy Park and Hout Bay Dr Petersen has seen first-hand the plight of young people.
The national cadet body has a drill squad, choir and band. The drill squad is off to the Philippines next year.
The volunteer group offers 40 modules, which are accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority, and free uniforms to all registered members. They facilitate programmes for youth and families when called upon by the Departments of Social Development and Basic Education. These programmes are based restoring families and empowering members.
They plan to open an academy in the area for pupils in Grades 10, 11 and 12, which would be a feeder school to the South African National Defence Force.
For more information email Dr Petersen at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.sayouthcadets.co.za, download their app SA Youth Cadets (at Google Play) or call 078 079 3247.