‘99.9% need not apply’, and that’s not just down to the physical requirements, but the mentality. Indeed, many would argue that the latter is more important than the former. Time as a Royal Marine builds a unique mindset, which not only creates an elite soldier, but persists as a standard which transitions over to the civilian world. This mindset becomes ingrained for life. A vital part of this mentality is a strong ethos towards work, understanding how hard work and commitment achieves results, simple. Another trait is respect for your peers, learning to recognise strengths and weaknesses, and playing on that to bring the best out in yourself, and those surrounding you. Former Marine, Dean Kirk knows all about this, and he has taken it upon himself to implement certain aspects of this mentality into kids. His company, Apex Commando have developed unique programs designed to teach the younger generation how to utilise this way of thinking to excel in their studies, build their confidence, and actively create a positive learning environment.
Before joining the Royal marines in 2007, Dean spent his life growing up in Germany with his family and brother, Kris Kirk, a fellow Former Royal Marine and now business partner. After their service in the Corps, Dean and Kris spent time working in the maritime security industry. Ample time over night shifts on board ship allowed them to formulate ideas as to how they could utilise their experiences and mindset gained in the Royal Marines, to build a business helping others achieve their goals. It became apparent to them both, that their talents could greatly benefit today’s younger generation, showing disengaged students how adopting certain aspects of a Royal Marines mentality could be used to excel in their studies and overall growing experience. In 2016 these ideas and aspirations became reality; thus, Apex Commando was created.
Today’s younger generation live in a time where mental health issues are increasing at a drastic rate, with depression and anxiety cases alone seeing a 70% increase in the last 25 years. A quick search through social media will highlight the pertinence of the problem in our young generation. In the past three years alone, hospital admissions for teenagers with eating disorders has doubled. It would be impossible and wrong, for an unqualified person to try and list the reasons why this has happened, but we cannot overlook the dramatic effects that the mental and social pressures that school has on children. Research claims that exam stress is a significant trigger for mental illness in young people, and is often something they don’t understand how to deal with productively. We’ve all been there, and can all surely empathise. Low self-esteem and online bullying is often cultivated through the pressure of social media today, and is a core subject that Apex Commando’s program aims to address.
One of Apex Commando’s two main campaigns—Project Growth—tackles five core subjects relevant to the issues today’s children face. Pupils are educated weekly about nutrition, first aid, bullying, career aspirations, and substance abuse. The course takes place over a ten-week period, with the aim to tackle the subjects using a variety of methods. The team at Apex Commando couple discussions with physical activity, specifically targeting children who may have become disengaged at school, or those who lack self-confidence. In some sessions, the students will engage in physical activity, not just for health and well-being, but also to comprehend how effort achieves results. It is a simplified and fun way for the kids to understand the direct correlation between input and output.
By bringing children into discussions over bullying, Dean’s team, have been able to significantly change their mentality, highlighting the impact that words can have on each other. The change in attitude isn’t only applicable to the classroom, with the campaign not only realigning their attitude towards peers, but towards teachers and parents as well. The team became aware that much of the time kids will be completely unaware they are even bullying, and simply need the issue brought to their attention. Apex Commando are effectively trying to ‘reprogram’ their minds into a more open-minded way of thinking, which encourages mutual respect, and in turn leads to mirrored support between the students. Dean’ s students are taught not only be the best version of themselves, but to recognise the strengths and weaknesses in their peers, and use this to create the best versions of themselves.
So far Dean and the team at Apex Commando have received great feedback from the programme, not just from teachers, but from the pupils themselves in the weekly sessions. Here at Plain Sailor we are looking forward to the future for Apex Commando and ultimately the youth of today. We believe that Dean and the team are inspiring role models for our younger generation, with a simple but hard hitting message for all, and we at Plain Sailor are proud to support them with their endeavours. The familiar tone resonates throughout this article that what you put in, you get out. The issues presented are not something that can be fixed overnight, but we believe this concept is a healthy, fun and sustainable way to contribute to the well being of kids today.
To enquire, support or even find out more, head over to https://apexcommando.com/