Speaking as a former teenaged CPS member and now an instructor I am impressed by the effort and the attitude of younger CPS students. Taking on extra courses for someone already in school can seem at first to be a daunting task. The CPS adult oriented courses are a challenge not just because of their teaching format but also because some of the concepts in these courses are ones that young students have not yet studied at school. For some this is also the first formal exam that they have ever written. However the upsides more then compensate for the effort. Students come away with improved study habits, enhanced confidence and better social skills, especially with their elders. They also internalize attitudes and knowledge about safe boating that lasts them a lifetime.
I know first hand because my son Ben is one of these students. This past year he completed the boating and PCOC courses at the age of 13. Ben also participated in the Marine Radio course where he tutored his younger sister, Laura 12, and they both not only passed but had the highest marks in the class. We have seen his efforts and the seriousness that he takes to safe boating. He has improved his study habits from taking CPS courses which will do him well as he is now enters high school. I am also able to report that he is eager to take on more by enrolling in the seamanship course this fall.
I have had the opportunity to talk to teens who have their PCOC from a quick online course, but they lack the knowledge and experience imparted by the CPS courses. To make CPS more long term viable we need to encourage and develop an interest from the younger age groups and families to keep it fresh, relevant, and family orientated. I am not sure how many young CPS graduates we have every year but I think we should celebrate their achievements. Through their example these “kids” become advocates for safe boating to other teens as well as adults while reenergizing existing CPS members. It also helps these students gain a fresh perspective on learning and new skills they then can apply to their regular studies.
Parents and Grandparents, I encourage you to enroll or even take a course with a younger member of your family. You will be amazed how much you will learn from them and value the unique shared experience.
Thanks for your consideration
Steve Reynolds, JN
I have attached a recent picture of Ben breaking in his new knowledge by taking his younger brother Matt fishing in the North Channel this summer. Of note: Ben is now a 4th generation Power Squadron member following in the steps of his great grandfather (on his mom’s side) and his 3 grandparents, 2 of whom are past commanders of the Cambridge ON Squadron.