One of the great things about the Army Cadets is what a difference we can make to the lives of individuals both cadets and adults. Recently we received a wonderful message from Esther & Phill the parents of a Porthmadog cadet Haydn Stokes.
Haydn (15) joined Porthmadog Cadets in February and it has completely changed his whole life and attitude. Haydn has just been diagnosed autistic not that it's obvious to those who don't know him. But it's there and can be an issue. He very rarely smiles or gets excited and it's very difficult to keep his interest in something other than X Box and the TV!!
Haydn has always lived in camo gear and enjoys shooting either with his dad or on the X Box, everything is always army-based. But we as parents had no idea how to channel that enthusiasm? Luckily, friends/neighbours of ours were aware of the cadets and helped us find the detachment in Porthmadog.
From the very first phone call with the Detachment Commander Emma Page, I knew it was going to be perfect for him. Both the staff have been amazing with Haydn, they're nurturing and developing his skills alongside his autism and helping use it to his greatest advantage. IT'S NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE.
Haydn now is a completely different boy, happy, smiley, has friends, and has an interest. Something to talk about and above all he has a future. Not only is he literally living and loving the Cadets he's excited for his life with the Cadets. His school have even helped get him into the Military Preparation College in Bangor one day a week at first until he leaves school and then fingers crossed full time.
We can say Haydn is a different child. He has a passion and interest and a love. His uniform is everything to him always polishing, primping, and pressing to make sure he always looks his best. Emma and Brad could not have been more helpful or more accepting.
And although yes, we know the Army itself may not an option for Haydn... we as parents are still grateful and are hopeful that a career choice won't be too far off, where Haydn can live and love a regimented life and be happy.
All this is thanks to the cadets
Minden Company Commander Wendy Thomas said “It was wonderful to receive such a lovely email. I am so pleased that Haydn has thrown himself into all that the Army Cadet Force has to offer young people. It is heart-warming to hear how life has changed for the better for Haydn since joining us - and quite emotional too.
Commandant Col Martin L Craven added “it was heart-warming to receive the message from Mr. and Mrs. Stokes and to recognise the efforts of Emma and Brad in the detachment. I have always been a believer that the work that goes on in detachments is so important”
We thank Mr. and Mrs. Stokes for their kind words and wish Haydn all the best in his cadet career.