EXPA CADET Program – an Addiction!

Sounds strange, right? Let me explain.

During my school and college days, I was very passionate about NCC as all CADET trainers were, and, as most NCC cadets, then & now, had plans to join the defence forces and dreamt of reaching the pinnacle. Alas!!! It was not to be.

Though I entered a different profession, the passion for NCC did not go away but was lying dormant; peaking its head now and then. I wished that I could, somehow, stay connected with the organization which had given me so much (lessons in confidence building, how to be a team player, etc.) which was instrumental for any and all success in my career. No such opportunities were in sight, or, maybe, I did not look around hard enough.

However, in 2018 I heard about EXPA and the CADET training program and how this organization is working with NCC to train cadets in realizing their potential in qualities which will help them for the betterment of their careers and, in life.

After a couple of false starts (me being the reason), I, finally, attended CTOP5. The day I got the news of passing the training program I was looking forward to going to an NCC camp and training and being with cadets, to experience the long-cherished atmosphere of camps.

Finally, I got that long-awaited opportunity in the EBSB camp in Chamba (18-19th June 2022). What an exhilarating experience it was!!! On the day that training ended, I was praying fervently that I will be selected for another camp for which I had registered. My prayers were answered. I got to do another camp, ALC at Raipur on 9-10th July 2022.

With each camp, I realized that not only am I training cadets but I am learning many things from my teammates. What can I say about them!!! From exceptional team leaders (Raj for Chamba and Saroj for Raipur), I learned new facets of leadership. They, and other members of the team (some my contemporaries and some younger but far more experienced trainers), taught me the nuances of imparting the training.

As I will be going back to sailing in near future, I had decided that Raipur ALC will be my last camp. However, as this camp ended, again, I started praying that somehow I should be able to go to another camp before going back sailing.

If this is not an addiction then I don’t know what it is and hence, the title.

However, I cannot thank EXPA enough for making me an addict of the CADET program. On a lighter note, I think all the EXPA CADET program pages on social media should include the following warning:

“This program can be addictive and candidates should register at their own risk.”

Mahesh Joshi
NCC Batch of 1988
CADET Trainer, Captain- Merchant Navy

My Journey Back Home: To India and to Learning

Hello everyone, 

I am writing this to share an experience here. It happened like this. I attended RDC camp in 1996 and gave the Guard of Honor to Mr. P V Narasimha Rao who was the Prime Minister of India at the time. I finished my B.Sc. the same year as well. Unfortunately, my father passed away as soon as I finished my degree and my dream of joining the Army soon came to a dead-end.

RDC 1996

In the following year, I got married and left to the United States of America with my husband. I was just 21 and wanted to learn. So, with my husband’s support I joined a computer course which took place in the evenings. Then, after three months I joined two courses, then three and then ultimately became a full-time student and I finished my associate degree in Information Technology in 2000 with all the top honors. 

Soon after, we started a family and had a daughter and then a son. We relocated back to India in 2005 without availing a Green card or Citizenship of America as we wanted to come back to our roots, our culture and country. We wanted our children to have an attachment with the extended family and soon I became busy taking care of my family, kids, and my in-laws. 

In 2019, one of my friends from RDC told me about EXPA CADET program where we go to camps and train NCC cadets. I underwent a training myself and joined the team. I trained NCC cadets in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mysore, and Thamna along with many other trainers. I also trained Associate NCC Officers in OTA (Offices Training Academy), Kamptee (Nagpur) along with other trainers. I was looking forward to train in more camps but because of the pandemic that did not happen.

To tackle this, our trainers came up with online training module and I also wanted to join them, but I had lost touch as I had not used a computer or laptop after my degree in 2000! I told my husband that I wanted to train cadets online and he was sweet enough to get me a second-hand laptop. Unfortunately, everything from turning the computer on to using the tools was very new for me.

Thanks to the many trainers who helped me relearn how to use the laptop in just a day, I trained cadets of Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, and Telangana. After 18 years, I used a laptop, which was amazing! Thanks to everyone who helped me in the process and feel proud about myself. Thank you all!

Jyothi GR 
NCC Republic Day Camp 1996

CADET Trainer

Giving Advice

Sariitha Shenoy at Kamptee OTA

As a CADET trainer for the NCC, I work with young people (19-21 y-o) on some weekends of the year, talking to them about soft skills and how important these are in life. Eventually, by the end of that weekend, these cadets get really comfy talking to us and confiding in us trainers.

I think one of the reasons they do this is also because we are not their parents who’ll reprimand them, teachers who’ll cut marks for saying things or friends who will judge them.

Let me describe one such incident. One of these girls from one such camp connected with me long after we had worked with her group. I received a message from her saying she needed help and wanted me to speak to her parents and stop them from ‘arranging’ her marriage. She had already chosen someone to be her life partner and was afraid to tell her folks about it.

Now I was in a dilemma. Not because I was thinking of whether to speak to them or not, but because I had to send out the right message. So I told her that she needed to fight her own battles, that she needed to voice her opinion peacefully, listen to perspectives and then decide what to do.

Now, you may ask me: Why did I not speak to her parents about her relationship? I certainly could have, but it’s just that, as an adult, I would like to help a young person to understand everyone’s point of view. In this case, the girl needed to understand what her folks are saying as well. Secondly, when people tell you about themselves, they tend to give you only their versions and those may not always be the one and only version, right?

So, bottom line, I think as adults in the lives of young people, we create an impact when we deal with the answers they seek. How we respond to them is critical. You don’t want to be the one to instigate someone (boy or girl) against the family they are part of. It is up to the person to be able to approach adults, take them into confidence, allow for all to see the different perspectives that are out there and then make informed choices.
IMHO we should instil in them the faith in themselves to deal with situations amicably.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you what you think and what you would do differently if you were in my position.

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