Two nights a week and the occasional Weekend and then national courses and annual camps... if you are prepared to back your ward then they can be away every week of the holidays with one course and another.
I have a cadet who last year booked 3 courses back to back and went away for 3 weeks solid. his parents took him out on a saturday and gave him clean clothes etc... came back with 3 new quals and 9 points.
Plus its good for the unit and the RNI.
What we do is encourage and teach skills to lead them to responsible adulthood using a system based on a nautical theme. that said, we use the rules and regulations and Divisional System to mentor and guide your offspring and try to turn them into useful citizens.
Some units have the parents rallying around behind the scene.. these units do well financially and can offer more to the cadets.
Other units (our for example) have complete apathey and are seen as a cheap baby sitting service. they dissapear when we ask for fund raising help (held a social evening and in the middle of the night asked for help - one by one they all remembered other engagements and forked off without so much as buying a raffle ticket - and having ate the free food)
We ask you keep the uniforms clean, we ask that your ward is punctual, and keeps coming both nights. you can help by buying them the Sea Cadet Pocket guide (Â£1-Â£2) and helping them learn simple things like the Sea Cadet Promise and the such. If you have time on your hands, you could get involved in the Parents and Supporters Associsation.. (we havent got one because no one can be bothered) and help raise the profile of the unit. or take the next step and join as staff, in return you will make life long friends and learn interesting and fun skills, as well as recieve full rates of Royal Navy Pay when on Area and National Activities.
Other than the basics the comitment from parents is as little or as much as you want to give.
for more information on the Sea Cadet Corps visit....
I fear that it is not so much they are 'civvy types' rather that many parents look on all types of youth organisation as a means of getting their offspring 'looked after' for some of the time. For some it may be the only time they get 'quality time' together. (Whatever happened to green smarties) We have exactly the same problem at my sailing club, you can collect cash of them in return for the services provided, but get any of them actually helping, never. Our annual Youth Week is always over subscribed, but you rarely see the parents, and often you don't see the kids again either, they are off on the next keep them amused plan purchased by the parents.
Same the world over. I have just resigned after 35 yrs as a Scout Leader and am currently a volunteer instructor with the local Navy Cadet Unit. and over the years have seen the gradual fall-off of parent participation in fund raising activities. Most, as you say, treat it as a cheap child minding service
I also see a tendency for parents to collect such activities for their children some what like cub badges, for use for 'black catting' at dinner parties later.
Mind you there are still a good number who do take an interest, my wifes grandson plays football for a club that was set up by parents and is run by a substantial group of parent coaches. Social events are a sell out and they get good fundraising support. All is not lost.
When my son's Beaver scout colony was struggling for funds, I went along to a parents meeting and suggested an immediate 100% increase in subs. I think the other parents only agreed in order to avod looking Pikey! My argument was that the increase was still less than the cost of the pints that some of us here drinking while our kids where at Beavers.