Cadets embark on ‘Christmas Intensive’

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To some it may seem premature to be planning for Christmas before the Thanksgiving turkey has even been bought, but for the staff of the School for Officer Training at Crestmont College, teaching cadets about the challenges of one of the busiest but blessed seasons can’t begin too early.

This year’s practicum will give new opportunities for cadets to experience administrative roles at various corps during the Christmas season, according to Major Sheila Bradley, director of field training, who has been working on this aspect of cadet training since early fall. “In the past, the second year cadets have had this opportunity at their team assignment corps where they minister all year long, but first-year cadets have usually just helped with bell ringing.”

So far local corps in Southern California have offered eight Christmas administrative positions to first-year students. The corps will pay a small wage to each cadet, and these funds will go to the School for Officer Training’s World Services goal, Bradley says. “But the main point is to give cadets a realistic look at Christmas, so that when they are faced with running the corps operation they won’t be totally unprepared.”

For second-year cadets, just months away from Commissioning and their first full-time corps assignments, pre-Christmas classroom instruction is intense, including information on the role of the corps officer, management of public relations, how to involve corps members and volunteers, specific ideas for programming, and topics in time management and stewardship of everyone’s energy.

Cadets working at the corps will be busy organizing volunteers, working at the Angel tree, interviewing social service clients, packing food boxes, distributing food and toys to clients and helping wherever they are needed. And by “shadowing” the officer in charge, they will learn as well as assist, says Bradley.

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