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Ice, Ice Baby

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2019, Marine and Environmental Sciences) Permanent link
Deborah King

President’s Day weekend can only be described as one thing: awesome. I and eleven other cadets spent the weekend taking an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) level one course. I took it in Gorham, New Hampshire with the Adventure Club.

The first day was in a classroom where we discussed case studies and different types of avalanches and scenarios. The second and third days were field days. On the second day, they took us to a trailhead and taught us how to use avalanche transceivers to find potential victims in the snow. They’d hide a transceiver in the snow and we’d work as a team to find it. We then hiked up the trail and made notes on the different types of snow.

The third day, we drove to Mt. Washington and Tuckerman’s Ravine trail. When we got to the ranger station, we went off trail into the backcountry. Here, we saw up close what avalanche terrain looked like and we practiced different ways of reading the snow to see if there was an avalanche danger. It was snowing the entire time and the view was absolutely stunning.

Looking back, this was by far one of the best experiences at the Academy. It was amazing how much of my Academy education translated over into avalanche science. One of the biggest examples was the use of teamwork during the search and rescue drills. By the end of the session, we were able to find the lost transceiver in less than three minutes, well below the expected time. Other aspects of Academy life transferred over such as making a detailed plan for hiking, risk assessment, and physical fitness.

The biggest thing I learned is that there is so much more to learn about snow. Growing up in Colorado and snowshoeing for the majority of my life, I thought I knew everything there was to know about it. What I found is that it is so much more complex then I previously thought and that in itself was very humbling. That being said, I want to know more about how to read the mountains. Speaking to some of the guides who have been skiing for decades, they said that there is always more to learn, but instead of being discouraged by that, they use it as motivation to keep working and improving their art.

In a few months, I will be going to the fleet and I will have much to learn. However, like with avalanche training, I will use it as a starting point for basic knowledge so that I can do my best in the fleet.

MORE ABOUT DEBORAH

The Special Role of the Chaplain Corps at the USCGA

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2021) Permanent link
Jacob Cheeseman

Good evening, prospective cadets.

My apologies for my lack of entries up to this point; however, I am newly inspired and committed to writing blog posts, so you will be hearing from me more often this semester. I also updated my biography with the activities I am now involved in.

In this entry, I wanted to focus on something very important to me: the chaplains’ office-sponsored religious activities at the USCGA. First, I want to explain what exactly the chaplain program is. As you will learn at the Academy, the Coast Guard is very effective at working with other military branches and government agencies around the nation. The Chaplain Corps is no different. Since the Coast Guard is a small service, the Navy Chaplain Corps provides chaplains to the Coast Guard. Navy chaplains are officers who are religious professionals that focus on meeting the spiritual needs of all service members and families. The chaplains assigned to the Coast Guard wear Coast Guard uniforms and fulfill the same role that they do in the Navy. At the Coast Guard Academy, we have three Navy chaplains. One is a Catholic priest and two are Protestant chaplains. The office is also blessed to have a dedicated administrative assistant who supports all religious programs. Together, the Command Religious Program supports all cadets, no matter their religious backgrounds, facilitating access to religious activities for all faiths on the campus and in the community. The chaplains also provide mentorship and guidance to anyone who asks for it, providing support to cadets and maintaining full confidentiality.

Today, I will focus on my experience with the Catholic programs. For information on other programs or to contact the chaplains’ office, please visit the Command Religious Programs page.

At the Academy, immense personal growth occurs as you journey through the 200-week program toward commissioning. All cadets grow as leaders of character. In the sometimes-stress-filled environment of the Academy, these lessons are learned on a daily basis. In the process, cadets also learn lessons about themselves. Thanks to the chaplains, I have been able to grow closer in my Catholic faith during this 200 week journey. There are many opportunities available, such as Sunday and weekday Masses, Eucharistic Adoration, and Reconciliation by appointment. Additionally, there are numerous fellowship opportunities, such as St. Francis de Sales Society (SFDSS – a cadet-run Catholic club), Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS – with four volunteer FOCUS missionaries that support Catholic programs), weekly Friday scripture study opportunities to reflect on the Sunday Mass readings, and Catholic book study. Additionally, there are several cadet-run Bible studies that provide fellowship in small groups. Opportunities are also available to serve in more direct roles as altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, ushers, and choir members are always needed to assist at Mass. Additionally, leadership positions are available to coordinate activities with St. Francis de Sales Society, FOCUS, and Bible studies. I had the blessing of serving as a Eucharistic minister last year, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I am very thankful to the Chaplains’ Office for their dedication to the Corps of Cadets. They are a blessing to us all.

As always, feel free to email me about anything at Jacob.C.Cheeseman@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT JACOB

What I Am Thankful For

(Athletics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Joshua Roh

Hello, everyone. If you haven’t heard already, life at the Academy can be hard. You take 16-23 credit hours per semester and, on top of that, you have several military obligations as well as mandatory athletics. With all of these challenges, many of us cadets often forget that we have a lot to be thankful for and, as Thanksgiving approaches, I thought it would be an appropriate time for me to reflect on what I am thankful for here.

  1. The Swim Team: I have been a swimmer since I was six years old, which means I have been swimming for almost a decade and a half. Swimming is a big part of my life and my identity and being able to continue with this throughout my tenure as a cadet has been an enormous help in keeping me motivated. Not only do I have something familiar from my life before the Academy but also the men’s team is a true brotherhood. Every day, no matter how tired I am, I can look forward to practice if for nothing else to see the guys.
  2. OCF and Jiu Jitsu: Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF) and Jiu Jitsu are the two main clubs, besides the Blog Club, that I participate in. I decided to talk about them together because they both help me equally decompress. My dad was a youth pastor in Des Moines, Iowa when I was born and so Christianity has been a large part of my life. Having the opportunity to fellowship with other believers on a weekly basis at OCF is not only refreshing but has allowed me to meet other likeminded people who I now call friends. Jiu Jitsu is relaxing in another manner entirely but for me no less spiritual. I have done martial arts from when I could walk until the end of middle school and intermittently after. My dad being an avid martial artist helped train me in Taekwondo and Krav Maga before I came to the Academy but, due to the time commitment needed to swim, I was unable to continue for much of high school. When I came to the Academy, I was looking for something to get back into Taekwondo when I came across the Jiu Jitsu club, which I had never heard of before, so I thought I would try it and ever since then I have been a fanatic. As a grappling martial art, it is very different from Taekwondo and Krav in that there is no punching/kicking (i.e., striking); it’s solely grappling. After every practice I go to no matter how tired I was going into it or how physically tired I come out, I always leave energized and ready to go at it again.
  3. My Company: The Corps of Cadets is split into eight companies: Alpha- to Hotel and as a fourth class you are assigned to a company for a year and then transfer to a new company for your last three. Last year I was in Delta which was an amazing experience. I am extremely glad I was able to spend a year there and I would have loved another three but alas, things must change, and I hit the jackpot. I am now in Golf company, which by most people in the corps would not be regarded as the highest in morale. However, the people who transferred in from my class are awesome, several of my good friends came with me, and it feels like the majority of the swim team is in Golf so I get to be with my team all the time, I couldn’t ask for a better group.

There are so many more things I could write about, but, as this is longer than most papers I have written I’ll keep it at these three. Despite the challenges of this place, there is always something there to pull you through. These three are a few examples of many that have gotten me where I am now.

Spes In Virtute

MORE ABOUT JOSHUA

More Opportunities Than Time

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2020) Permanent link
Delaney Swift

Hey y’all! I’m Delaney Swift, a third class cadet here at the good old CGA. I was born and raised in Portales, New Mexico – a little rural land-locked farm and ranch town. Coming to Connecticut has been a bit of a shock to the system for me. I traded soil, sun, big skies, and the high plains for beautiful trees and a river in my back yard. That definitely has its perks! Though my heart will always be in New Mexico, it doesn’t have a whole lot of coast to guard.

I have two younger brothers, Jack and Noah, who (despite always being up to no good) are pretty much my best friends. I’m a very family-centric person, which I thought would be a challenge for me in coming to the Academy, but it turns out that my family just got bigger – it now includes a whole bunch of cadets! As a fourth class, my main hobbies were keeping my eyes in the boat, bussing around campus, and squaring my corners, but really, the highlights of my day are all the extracurricular activities offered here. As a third class, life has gotten so much better; I now spend my time working in the major I love, seeing my friends at Glee, theater, and ballroom dance, and looking out for 4/c! Growing up in a small town meant that things to do were always hard to come by, but there’s never a dull moment at the Academy – there’s always shenanigans of some sort afoot, just like home! You can never tell what the future will bring at this school – you’ll literally have more opportunities than you have time for. One thing I can tell, though, is that my final two years here are going to be the adventure of a lifetime. If you ever have any questions, or just want to talk to a cadet, shoot me an email at Delaney.L.Swift@uscga.edu.

MORE ABOUT DELANEY

Equestrian Club

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link

One of my favorite activities to be involved in here at the Academy is the Equestrian Club. Through the Equestrian Club, cadets here are able to take part in all kinds of equestrian-related activities from trail rides to horse shows.

I have been riding horses ever since I was about 6 years old. During my first years here at the Academy, I was always so busy with classes and military obligations but I was able to get out a few times to the barn to see the horses and even go on a trail ride through the woods. However, now that my schedule has lightened up a bit as a first class cadet, I have had much more time and opportunities to go horseback riding. Through the Equestrian Club, I am able to ride at Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Ledyard, Connecticut just ten or so minutes from the Academy. Mystic Valley has a beautiful barn with lots of all different kinds of horses. My instructor at the Hunt Club, Richard, is a fabulous teacher as well. It is so nice to be able to get away from the stress of the Academy for a bit and get to spend time with the horses. Riding is also a great way to get your exercise as well!

Over the winter, I was given the opportunity to lease one of the horses at the barn and I fell in love. Her name is Merry Melody and she is one of the sweetest horses I have ever met. Over winter leave and into this semester I have been so fortunate to be able to ride her almost every day and to take lessons once a week as well. I have seen a huge improvement in my riding and the strength of my legs too. We have been doing a lot of great flat work and even some jumping, too! We are so lucky here at the Academy to have so many wonderful opportunities such as going horseback riding! If anyone has any questions about the clubs here at the Academy or the Equestrian Club, please don’t hesitate to email me.

MORE ABOUT CECE

Back to School and After-School Activities

(Athletics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link

I can’t believe this is my first blog back at school for my last year at the Academy! It’s crazy how time flies! So here we are back at school for another exciting and challenging year at the CGA. I had heard that some people were interested in some of my other extracurricular activities here at school (which are a blast!), so here is a little bit about what the CGA has to offer outside of everyday cadet life.

This semester, I happen to be the Executive Officer of Golf Company. It is an honor to be in charge (along with my Company Commander) of leading and guiding a company of 124 other cadets. On top of being XO, I am also captain of the varsity women’s lacrosse team. As a lacrosse player and a captain, I am very busy organizing team events, practices, and team bonding time. As a varsity athlete much of my time is spent at practice every afternoon and at away games on the weekends. Some of our games are around two hours away but the time spent with my team on the bus is priceless. It is an amazing and humbling opportunity to be able to test out my leadership skills while playing the sport that I love.

When I’m not playing lacrosse or working on company logistics, you can find me at Yoga Club, Women’s Leadership Council, with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization (FCA), or Asian Pacific American Council (APAC). I know it probably seems like it is impossible for me to do all of these things, and sometimes it seems like it is, but the beauty of being here at the CGA is that everyone understands the limits on our time and thus clubs are very flexible with scheduled events (unlike varsity sports obligations which are mandatory). When the clubs are hosting big events, club members can sign up to attend if their schedule allows. For Yoga Club, we have the unique opportunity to travel off-base to Mystic Yoga Shala for hot yoga once a week. If I’m too busy with homework I’ll skip out on yoga, but otherwise the classes are a great stress reliever and a hard workout. For Women’s Leadership Council, we do a mentoring program and have other fun events that I choose to attend based on whether or not my schedule allows. FCA is great also because we have lunch excusals every couple of weeks, so it doesn’t take any time out of my day, but instead I get to eat lunch with my fellow classmates and athletes. It is a great time to relax, reflect, and discuss our faith. Lastly, being a part of APAC is really fun as well! The council usually does big events with delicious food, like Dim Sum Sundays at a local restaurant. Overall, the Academy has a ton of unique and fun extracurricular activities to offer and I only do just a few. If you have any other specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Cecelia.K.Hosley@uscga.edu

MORE ABOUT CECE

Last (Hectic) Fall Semester

(Academics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

Today marks the last day of finals and the end to my last fall semester at the United States Coast Guard Academy. As I got to the end of this day, I finally realized that classes were done. I think it hit me so late because life has been so hectic this semester. It has made time fly. I have experienced so much in just these past couple of months. Academically, I started my Capstone project to design a medium icebreaker focused on scientific capability with little insight. Right now we are about to submit an executive summary of everything we have worked on throughout the semester. Working with my Capstone design group has been an eye-opening, challenging, and rewarding experience. Thankfully the people on the team are some of my closest friends at the Academy. We’ve had some late work nights, but I believe we have produced quality work and I’m so grateful for a group that is not only made up of my best friends but also works together well because sometimes that is difficult to find.

Outside of academics, Glee Club has had its usual busy fall schedule. Tonight we are performing at the Lessons and Carols service at the Chapel, which I think is one of the most beautiful performances we do. The candles, Christmas carols, and lighting of the tree afterward all puts me in the holiday spirit. It is a great way to end the fall semester and get excited for winter leave….which, speaking of, reminds me of how excited I am for the break! I plan to go skiing in Maine and Montana, find some good trail running in Florida, read some fun books, and hang out with family and friends. A whole lot of relaxation to ensue! Then come spring semester, I will be working in Golf leadership to create as best an atmosphere as possible for my company as well as finishing up senior year on a high note. There is a lot to look forward to, and I wish a happy winter holiday to everyone out there!

MORE ABOUT HANNAH

Singing at the Academy

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

I love the fall. I love the excitement of going back to school, the leaves changing color in Connecticut, and the transition into colder weather. My favorite thing about autumn though, is getting back into singing after being away from the group for the summer. As my profile says, I am involved in multiple singing groups at the Coast Guard Academy. One of these is called Fairwinds, which is a group of 12 girls that practice weekly and do acapella songs. Each year we strive to learn new music. We vary from Michael Jackson to doo wop to Johnny Cash. We then get to perform at various local restaurants, ceremonies, banquets, and more. Traveling with a small group of people (we also commonly perform with the guys’ group the Idlers as well) really creates a close-knit circle. This niche I have found at CGA has made the school feel like home. It gives me something to look forward to every week when we get to sing for an hour or two. It takes my mind off any anxieties I may be having about tests, military inspections, etc., AND the best part is that you get to travel. What young person doesn’t want that? This year is my last year in Fairwinds before graduating, and I intend to make it as great of a time as possible.

MORE ABOUT HANNAH