TS Shropshire anchors youth
By JULIA ILES
THE TS Shropshire may not sail the high seas but it comes into its own for parades, training drills and games with a twist of maritime fun.
On Saturdays the Villiers Street, Grafton, premises are the home of the naval cadets, a worldwide organisation dedicated to youth development.
In Grafton there are 18 members ranging in age from 12-18, both girls and boys.
Commanding officer Mark Schulzer said the motto of navy cadets was serious fun for kids with enjoyable and challenging activities. Some of these included sailing, sports, bush camps, knot tying and team games.
Through participation in the program cadets also get their boating licence.
Due to the program's historical links with the Australian Navy, TS Shropshire adopts the mess dinner tradition, a formal occasion played out with humour.
The most recent was last Saturday when more serious activities included line-ups, toasts and salutes.
But if the cadets are found guilty of bad etiquette or table manners they have to sink the 'pot' of sour snake lollies. This involves saluting the mess president filling a cup with a sour snake, which has to be eaten in one gulp, before toasting the mess and putting the cup on one's head.
Another punishment on the night included placing a coin in a barrel.
Participation in the naval cadets can possibly lead to a military career.
An example of progression is Jason Cupples, a former Grafton cadet, who is now the commander of a Collins class submarine.
New members are welcome to be part of this adventurous group of young people.