Watching my 17 year old son James and his team prepare for The Gibraltar Cup, where 8 troops of Royal Marine Cadets who have fought hard to win their regional competitions are put through their paces to find the best of the best (Kings Squad), I am reminded of the negative comments I hear on a daily basis about ‘the new generation’
Apparently Gen Z and Me..llennials have no commitment or staying power, they lack respect & want to run the show. They spend all their time in front of a computer and don’t want to get out and experience things. Really! Because that’s not what I see.
This is the third time his troop have had the opportunity to represent Zulu Company, their purpose made clear and expectations reinforced. Each time they have all put their heart & soul into perfecting their performance. Last time, as the only troop to represent the national cadet force in the presence of their Major General Prince Harry and before that at The National Drill competition – they won! ( it’s the first time they had entered )
They have forgone nights out, parties and trained every weekend, most week nights sometimes in pouring rain and had to fit preparations around exam revision, school work and other commitments.
If you ask them if it is worth they’ll tell you absolutely. When asked why, James and his teammates replied……
“We are in this together, we don’t want to let our team, our troop, our troop Sergeant, our Commanding Officer ( ExFalklands Veteran Sergeant Woods – one of the best role model’s I have encountered) or Zulu company down.
James went on to say they have thrown everything at us, we are so grateful. We have received visits by commanding officers from other troops who have competed in the Gib Cup giving us advice and tips to practice weekends with lots of tough talk combined with encouragement.
This post from Zulu company gives an example of how they have been motivated:
James and his troop have been given a purpose they believe in, that they want to fight for and aim to win. It has given them a team spirit like no other and although not all are equally as strong, James explained “we’ll get them through, me at the front, Ross at the back, Carl in the middle with strength dotted through the line, we have one or two novices and if I have to I’ll carry their day sacks with my own to make sure they keep up on the runs. We won’t let anyone go unsupported, we’ve got this.”
They face three days of challenges in Lympstone, the home of The Royal Marines, testing their assault, map reading, teamwork, fitness and corp knowledge. Their final test will be ‘bottom field’ where they have to climb over, under and through water, mud, ropes, walls, hauling logs up hills and every assault course challenge you can imagine…… Whilst carrying full billy cans. He explained “it is not about being the quickest, it’s about completing the course as a team, having fun, ensuring we don’t leave a man or woman behind and that we get them through it….I can’t wait.
I don’t know anything about the other troops that are competing, so not sure if we’ll win but we will give it our best shot everything we’ve got.”
All their Preparation, hard work, grit and determination however paid off as they have just become the the holders of the Gibraltar cup, it was close, they won by only one point which shows how high the level of commitment is across all the troops that took part.
He did admit that once this is over he may well catch up on those parties he has been missing and who can blame him or his team mates.
All of his troop both male and female are aged between 15-17, love Xbox and can be stroppy at times but when they are given a purpose they believe in, the support to achieve it and the belief they can they rise to the challenge they are as committed and focused as the most engaged team members.
So next time you question the commitment of your ‘new generation’ ask yourself how you give them purpose? and whether you foster a belief in their abilities and allow them to flourish?
The Royal Marine Cadets are always looking for donations and grants to help fund all the activities they take part in. The cadets come from all walks of life, it is incredibly inclusive and gives the cadets leadership, communication, teamwork and problem solving skills. They foster a high level of respect and build their confidence skills alongside physical activities that gets them outside and fit.
DM me if you have some funds or grants you would like to offer them.