The Organizational Structure of the Calvinist Cadet Corps
The Cadeting ministry is grassroots. It's the men in the field who know what they need to be effective, so the ministry sees their input as vital. If a counselor wants something new or something changed in the cadeting ministry, he submits a proposal through his Cadet council. If the grounds are determined to be sufficient by the executive committee, the proposal will be voted on by congress and the addition or change will "happen" if the vote is affirmative. It's just that simple! Below is more information on the governing bodies that are the "structure" of cadeting.
Congress is the decision making body of the Calvinist Cadet Corps. Each council (see below) is allowed to elect congressmen to represent them at this annual meeting. The number of congressmen that represent a council is dependent on the number of clubs in the council. The congressmen meet in West Michigan for three days every January and vote on proposals submitted by counselors, review programs and materials, approve a budget, elect executive committee members, and participate in educational workshops. A side benefit is the interaction during free time that allows ideas to be shared and fellowship to grow.
Making sure that the decisions of congress are carried out by the staff, reviewing proposals for congress, developing and overseeing the budget, and making decisions that affect how the work of the staff is accomplished, are the basic tasks of a group of men called the executive committee. There are nine men on this committee -- the Corps chaplain, the executive director, the Corps president, and six additional members. They meet once a month or as often as the Corps president deems necessary. Every year at congress three congressmen are elected out of a pool of congressmen nominees. An executive committee member's term is for two years. The Corps president, who chairs the executive committee, is elected for a three-year term by Cadet counselors through votes cast at council meetings. The Corps chaplain is an ordained pastor who is appointed by the executive committee. The executive director is the only paid staff who is a part of the executive committee. He is hired by the executive committee to head the group of paid staff who serve the organization.
The Cadet Council
Clubs may choose to form a council when there are three or more Cadet clubs within a reasonable distance of each other so that they can meet regularly for cooperative efforts in counselor education and Cadet activities. The benefits of a council are many.
Regular counselor meetings at the council level are the fundamental building block of counselor training and education. The typical council will designate one or more DCEs (Developer of Counselor Education) to be in charge of arranging workshop leaders, speakers, demonstrations, and other programs to help the counselor to be effective. DCEs are specially trained through a DCE program to assess the educational needs of the clubs in his area and then develop an educational strategy to meet those needs.
The combined resources of many clubs in a council can make possible special events (outlined in counselor aid booklets) for the boys such as:
- Council Camporees -- Weekend or week-long camps with a full line-up of outdoor activities and excursions.
- Cadet-O-Rama -- Often a year-end event that displays the crafts and activities of the clubs.
- Model Car Derby -- Often combined with Cadet-O-Rama -- it is an event where the boys construct race cars out of blocks of wood and place them on a sloping track to see whose car will do the best job at harnessing gravity. Prizes are awarded for speed and appearance.
- Snow Derby -- Teams of boys pack their supplies on a sled and compete against each other and the elements in skills like fire-building, tent erection, compass reading, knots and lashing, obstacle course, cliff rescue, and first aid.
- Chuck Wagon Derby -- same as above only with wagons. A good alternative in locations where snow doesn't happen or if you'd rather run the event at a warmer time of year.
- Cadet-O-Ree -- a competitive event that emphasizes camping/wilderness skills and some just-for-fun skills. The activities can be tailored to the confines of a school gym during winter months or outside activities in warmer months. Any competitive sport is possible for the round robin event, but wilderness skills like knots and lashing, compass, and first aid are often featured.