Friday, December 18, 2015

Major LaJoy

We have a Major in the house!  Cadet Major Matthew LaJoy received his promotion at the Civil Air Patrol Christmas Party last night.  Another step on the road to his goal of earning the highest rank possible in the Cadet program, Matt has 2 more phases to complete out of 16.

Watching him last evening, it was hard not to recall the shy, reticent 12 year old boy who had been looking forward to starting CAP since he was 9 years old.  That first evening I accompanied him, and seeing those older youth who had worked hard, looked sharp, and presented as so mature, it was hard to imagine Matt one day following in their footsteps.  12 year old Matthew lacked confidence in himself, and his introverted nature meant he was often in the background.

Advance four years, and his experiences in Civil Air Patrol have been formative for him in ways I never would have expected.  We talked once about how I wished each of the other kids could find something similar that would offer them similar opportunities for development.  Matt wisely turned to me and said, "Mom, I wouldn't worry.  None of the other kids needed it.  They are all more outgoing, and more comfortable in social situations.  Without CAP, I never would have been.  So God gave me what I needed, and God'll give them what they need."  I love being "schooled" by my kids, and it wasn't much longer after that when Kenny stepped onto Leadership at church and there, found his place.  In time, each one will find their unique place, if we just keep exposing to new things.

Matt was surprised on the spot, and was told he was leading the evening, which meant he had to speak in front of almost 100 people, and was asked to explain the Cadet program to the families in attendance.  He sat down and quickly created a brief outline of what to speak about, using key words, and then did a nice job as he spoke of following his outline, fleshing it out with details, and staying on topic.  It was clear he had anticipated what parents and new cadets might want to know about the program.  I have to admit I was super pleased, as he was putting into action skills he had been taught at home in school, and I was so happy to see he could apply them in a real life pressure situation.

Here are photos from last night:

Relaxing before the event

Everyone was eager to see Matt be promoted

OK, so maybe these two were eager for the pizza! Haha!

Looks like Dad isn't so tall anymore!

Entertaining ourselves, everyone kept grabbing my camera and playing with it,
so I finally got a few pics with ME in them!

Two "retired" Cadet leaders were present for Matt's promotion.

We are at the point where this is a Big Deal.  Achieving this rank and above is something few cadets ever accomplish, so few that he is now the first in the history of his Squadron to ever reach Major, let alone the ranks that follow.  We were told at his last promotion that, in fact, no other cadet on the entire Western Slope has ever reached this far.  

As we support Matt's efforts, it means sacrifice...hahaha!  In order to promote beyond this stage, he has to attend a Leadership School, and it was scheduled for the same time frame as his church camp this summer.  Matt had made the decision to put off promoting so he could attend church camp for his last eligible year, a decision we whole heartedly agreed with.  However, we learned a couple weeks ago that they were squeezing in another Leadership School between Christmas and New Years over at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, so guess who gets to leave Montrose possibly Christmas Day to drive him over?  Weather may allow me to leave the next day, we will have to see, but at least the other boys are accompanying us so I will have a nice little road trip with my men!

It is so much fun to watch the kids blossom, to see them work hard and achieve dreams.  Each of them is doing so in their own ways, some with more public recognition, some with less, but each is growing and maturing, figuring out their way in the world.  Nothing could be sweeter as a parent, nothing at all. 

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