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Leading From The Front: A Cadre Summer Experience

Stefanie Senkow
September 8, 2021

2/c Javier AlvarezNEW LONDON, Conn – Second Class (2/c) Cadet Javier Alvarez went into his cadre experience with a common misconception.

“As cadre for the Academy Introduction Mission (AIM), I believed I would not get the full leadership experience as a SWAB Summer cadre would or that I wouldn't develop my leadership skills as much,” said Alvarez. “After my AIM cadre experience, I can tell you, that school of thought couldn't be further from the truth.”

For two weeks, Alvarez led a group of high school students as Fitness Cadre during their AIM experience. He woke the students at 5:30am daily to engage in "morning calisthenics.” In charge of the "IT" sessions, Alvarez made the students do an intense workout while sounding off.

“One time, I had them sound off ‘Intensity Sir, Intensity’ over and over as they did burpees, pushups, squat jumps, and other exercises (I of course did all these workouts with them) to try and get them to be more intense with the way they do everything throughout the AIM program,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez was also a division officer in charge of five AIM students, responsible for their progress and growth throughout the week. Despite his initial misconception, Javier developed fully as a leader during these five-day intervals as AIM cadre.

“As a leader, I had to really think about how I could use five days to truly impact these high school students and motivate them to be the best versions of themselves. For me, being a cadre wasn't just to promote the Academy to the students, it was more of a teaching experience where I tried to get them to find new boundaries that they didn't know they had, and I had to push each one of them to their limit and not an inch past it,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez learned it’s all about effective communication and empathy. Two ingredients that make an effective leader.

Looking back on his experience, Alvarez’s misconception was debunked. And his experience will serve him well as he serves as a Coast Guard officer.

“After being a cadre and practicing my leadership skills and philosophies in real time, I was able to better understand my role as a cadet and truly enjoy what I was doing. It got me excited to graduate and become a leader to more people in the fleet of the Coast Guard,” said Alvarez.

See the cadre experiences cadets like Alvarez can look forward to.