CAS training moulds the character

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 June, 1999, 12:00am

Groups of bashful, introverted teenagers are transforming themselves into self-confident, civic-minded, responsible citizens, and even promising leaders with broadened horizons, by engaging in community work carried out by the Civil Aid Service (CAS).

Now the service is further extending its reach to youngsters in the New Territories.

'The existing Tseung Kwan O unit will be expanded to take in more young people and a new unit will be formed in Tin Shui Wai,' CAS senior operations and training officer (Cadets/Hong Kong) Wong Sze-keung said.

'Preparatory work is also in progress for the establishment of the Tung Chung unit next year. We are now identifying suitable locations for the unit headquarters and training premises.' He said Girl Cadet units had been set up in Fanling and Tuen Mun, while the Sai Kung unit was merged with the Ma On Shan unit.

The kind of learning provided by the CAS outside the classroom has proved to be useful in helping adolescents face the pressures of city life and the threats of drugs and crime. 'As a uniformed youth organisation, the CAS provides cadets aged between 12 and 18 with training, as a supplement to school studies. This contributes to their physical and moral development,' Mr Wong said.

Mr Wong, who has spent 30 years in the service, said: 'For many of the cadets, I've seen a real change in their character.' He said new recruits were generally diffident and quiet at first.

But as the years go by they became outgoing, courageous and law-abiding citizens, he said.

'About 10 per cent of the ex- cadets were drawn to a career in the maintenance of law and order, forming the backbone of the disciplinary forces. Quite a few have become prominent figures in the community,' Mr Wong said.

Since its establishment in 1968, the CAS Cadet Corps has grown from two units with 200 boys to 32 units with 3,232 boys and girls.

Financed by the Government, the corps has trained and provided guidance to about 30,000 adolescents during the past 30 years. The corps recruits young sters between 12 and 14. Uniforms and equipment are provided free.

Enrolment application forms can be obtained from the CAS Headquarters at 100 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay. For more information, check out the CAS Web site at