Salvation Army officers in training take their lessons into the world

Salvation Army officers in training take their lessons into the world

Spring Campaigns take cadets to Alaska, Denver and Kenya.

During their time in training—in fall, spring and summer— Salvation Army officers-in-training (cadets) at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont receive field assignments to Salvation Army units, bringing what they learn on campus into the real world. Typically these assignments fall within the Western U.S., where the cadets will eventually serve. This spring, three groups of cadets (brigades) and officers traveled to Alaska, Denver and—in a break with tradition—to Kenya.

The Kenya brigade represents the first time in recent history that an international spring campaign took place for the Western Territory’s cadets, a change inspired by General Brian Peddle, The Salvation Army’s international leader, said Major Rob Reardon, CFOT Mission and Ministry Director.

During the 2022 International Conference of Leaders, Peddle said he wanted officers to get as much international exposure as possible. Major Nigel Cross, CFOT Training Principal, then came up with the plan for the second-year cadets to visit another training college somewhere in the world to learn what it’s like to be a cadet and to serve elsewhere. The location? The Kenya East Territory Training College in Thika, Kenya.

Reardon said he initially had doubts about the Kenya excursion.

“In my position as Mission and Ministry Director, I look for ways to connect our cadets with experiences while they’re in training that will directly impact them when they get into the field,” he said. “Is anything in Kenya going to help them in a corps in Laramie, Wyoming?”

He said his reservations were quickly diffused when they arrived and immersed themselves in a different culture. Brigade members experienced what it’s like to be outsiders—a perspective they couldn’t replicate in America.

“We can see with better eyes how to interact with and relate to people who are in a different stage than we are, in a different cultural or socio-economic situation,” he said, adding that even the language barrier was overcome by the powerful ministry connection. “This is going to help our cadets when they get out on the field, to know how to connect and break through those cultural and language barriers that we face.”

Spring Campaigns take cadets to Alaska, Denver and Kenya.

Courtesy College for Officer Training at Crestmont.

During their first days in Kenya, the cadets experienced life at the Kenya East Training College and visited The Salvation Army School for the Blind, the Joytown school for the physically disabled and Variety Village, a vocational training school for young adults after they graduate from Joytown. Cadet Brett Harrison said that while all this was all a blessing, it was their last weekend in Kenya that may have made the biggest impact on them.

That weekend, all the cadets—American and Kenyan—went in groups to different corps throughout the territory.

On Saturday, they were sent out to visit corps members in their homes. Harrison said they walked for miles from house to house, dodging fast-moving cars, pedestrians, cows and other animals. The congregation members welcomed them, grateful for their visit.

They then did a march of witness.

“Saturday afternoon we marched down the streets in each of our towns in worship, and people were brought to their knees in the dirt, accepting Jesus into their lives,” she said. “I personally preached God’s Word on a mound of dirt, trash and rubble, and as I looked around, I realized that I had never done anything so bold.”

Reardon said that aside from the cultural experience and the crossover learning opportunities, CFOT hoped that bringing American cadets into that setting would help them better understand what cadets in other parts of the world do to become officers and to gain an appreciation for what they have in the West.

Spring Campaigns take cadets to Alaska, Denver and Kenya.

Courtesy College for Officer Training at Crestmont.

For the cadets whose brigades stayed in the Western Territory, there were still notable takeaways.

In Alaska, the Fishers of Men brigade ministered throughout the Anchorage area. “Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination. In doing that, we need to build relationships,” Cadet Sean Pease said. “Each event or moment during the campaign is linked to the people we met, the friends we made…We remember the people, not the programs.”

The Devoted Ambassadors brigade served within the Denver Metro region. “From assisting with a volunteer thank-you luncheon to serving those on the streets of Denver, leading chapel services to participating in the Celebrate Recovery service, or from serving pizza while leading a time of worship to handing out hygiene kits to our friends living in pallet homes…Each of us gained new experience and knowledge on how we can serve others now and in our future appointments,” Cadet Jennifer Breazeale said.

Reardon said he hopes the College can continue to offer an international opportunity in the years ahead.

“It helped us become more aware of how differences make us stronger, and how the differences can bring us together instead of pushing us apart,” he said. “I’d be a proponent of doing it again as something that every cadet could learn from and apply to their context here.”

Do Good:

  • You’ve probably seen the red kettles and thrift stores, and while we’re rightfully well known for both…The Salvation Army is so much more than red kettles and thrift stores. So who are we? What do we do? Where? Right this way for Salvation Army 101.
  • Want more content from Caring Magazine? Follow us on Instagram! Get caught up with the latest stories, podcasts and more to inspire goodness in your life.
  • Discover what life is like for the children of Salvation Army officers-in-training.
  • For officers and cadets in the Kenya East Territory, life is vastly different from that in the USA Western Territory. The Officers’ Support Endowment Fund aims to help Salvation Army officers around the world. Find out more at
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Karen Gleason

Karen Gleason is Senior Editor of Caring, having worked in Salvation Army publications for 20 years. She is an active member of The Salvation Army, and loves its message of “Doing The Most Good” and its mission of serving others and sharing God’s love, of meeting human needs in Jesus’ name without discrimination. Her work allows her to share the stories of how The Salvation Army makes a positive difference in the world—stories that may inspire readers to do good themselves. Many years ago, Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia. When not working, she practices and teaches yoga, cuddles her cats (she only has four), and takes adventures with her family.