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Source: New Zealand Defence Force

25 June 2020

Christchurch woman Renée Messervy is helping one of the country’s oldest voluntary youth development organisations continue to foster and encourage community-minded young people.

This week (21-27 June) is National Volunteer Week and the New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF), which can trace its origins back to 1864, is paying tribute to those who give their time and effort.

They include Flying Officer Cadet Messervy. The 23-year-old was encouraged to join the Cadet Forces by her father in 2010 when she joined No.38 (Wigram) Squadron.

She is now an officer with the City of Christchurch Cadet Unit and says the NZCF has fostered a love of teaching.

After being made redundant from her job as cabin crew during COVID-19, Flying Officer Cadet Messervy is now working as a nanny but intends to study for a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Education, and a post-graduate degree in primary teaching.

“The NZCF has provided me with so many possibilities and challenges I wouldn’t find anywhere else. I am so grateful for the experiences over the past 10 years and the people I have met.”

The former St Margaret’s College student has also had the opportunity to extend her skills through organising various courses.

“Becoming an officer in 2017 has allowed me to give back to my community and provided me with the appropriate tools to train the next generation of cadets.”

NZCF comprises about 3000 people, aged 13-19, who are spread across 98 Navy, Army and Air Cadet units around the country. About 400 Cadet Officers volunteer to support them.

NZCF Commandant, Commander Andrew Law, says while the cadets are regularly involved in activities with a focus on discipline, self-confidence, teamwork, leadership, communication and community service, the backbone of the organisation is its volunteer officers.

“Cadet Forces officers are an amazing group of leaders who come from all walks of life and who share a commitment and dedication to the youth of New Zealand. They do so voluntarily, and without payment, sacrificing a significant amount of their personal time and energy.

“The work they do contributes and assists the Cadet Forces in preparing future successful leaders for New Zealand,” he said.