A 23-year-old from Bedford is among those waiting to find out if he has won the 2014 Bedfordshire Young Person of the Year award, known as the YOPEY’s, which are being held on Thursday, April 10.
Aaron Scholes, of Goldington Road, grew up in care and joined the Sea Cadets at the age of 10.
He worked his way up to become a Petty Officer and Commanding Officer of the Bedford Sea Cadets TS Victorious and was nominated for the award by last year’s High Sheriff of Bedfordshire Deborah Inskip.
Mrs Inskip said: “He is a shining example and role model for the cadets and should becommended for bringing his skills and giving so many hours to this very worthwhile organisation.”
Aaron found himself moved around as a youngster in the care system as a child but found his calling by joining the sea cadets.
He said: “Sometimes it was chaotic but being in the sea cadets gave my life structure no matter where I was. Becoming an adult volunteer and eventually becoming Commanding Officer is my way of giving back.”
Nominee Aaron, who also has a degree in Childhood and Youth Studies, says his own early life experience has equipped him to support cadets who might be in difficult situations at home or at school.
He said: “Cadets can give them security. Our philosophy is simple, it is about learning through nautical adventure and fun.”
Commanding Officer Aaron is now focused on boosting membership of the unit, which is unusual in having Sea Cadets and Royal Marine Cadets. He said: “Cadets take part in a host of activities and are now getting into rock climbing and mountain biking - which are not exactly nautical pursuits, but they add to the mix of fun and responsibility. They also support events around the county, including the Bedford River Festival, and the Mayor of Bedford - who has chosen them as his charity of the year.”
Aaron said: “It is always nice to be told well done. That is why I am so proud to be nominated for a YOPEY - but if I am being nominated it is because of my team. I couldn’t do it without them.”
For more information visit yopey.org