U.S. Coast Guard Inspires at Oakland Rowing Club Visit

The Oakland Rowing Club recently hosted an inspiring assembly with the U.S. Coast Guard, leaving a significant impact on the students in attendance. Chief Petty Officer Donald Wyckoff, a seasoned Information Systems Technician, led the event, sharing his personal journey and the vast opportunities within the Coast Guard.

CPO Wyckoff’s career in the Coast Guard followed his service in the U.S. Navy. Seeking a balance that would allow him to support his family while continuing to serve his country, he transitioned to the Coast Guard.

“I enjoyed the benefits and opportunities the Navy provided, but the Coast Guard allowed me to be more available to my family,” Wyckoff shared.

His role involves ensuring the operation, maintenance, and upgrading of telecommunications equipment and systems, a vital task for both local and national security.

“The Coast Guard has provided me with extensive training, educational benefits, and, most importantly, a sense of purpose that allows me to support my community and country,” he said.

Heather Krakora, Executive Director and Head Varsity Boys’ Coach at the Oakland Rowing Club, praised the visit’s impact on the students.

“The Coast Guard representatives were incredibly friendly and helpful. It was clear they loved their job and were excited to share their experiences,” she said.

The students, ranging from 9th to12th grade and involved in diverse extracurricular activities, were particularly intrigued by the range of career paths within the Coast Guard.

“Our biggest challenge is the lack of familiarity with our service,” Wyckoff explained. Despite being a small branch, the Coast Guard plays a critical role in national defense and public safety.

Partnerships with high schools, like the one with the Oakland Rowing Club, facilitated by DistrictWON, a U.S. Coast Guard partner for marketing and local engagement, are essential for raising awareness.

“These partnerships allow us to inform the younger generation of the opportunities the Coast Guard provides,” said Wyckoff.

One student expressed keen interest in becoming a head chef in the Coast Guard, captivated by the prospect of cooking for foreign dignitaries and traveling the world.

“She talked about it for several days afterward, and I am convinced she will be joining the Coast Guard because of this visit,” Krakora shared.

Wyckoff went on to dispelled common misconceptions, emphasizing that the Coast Guard is indeed a military branch, offering stability and success for the future.

The Coast Guard values diversity and integration, reflecting the nation it serves.

“Our country is diverse, and the people who serve must represent that diversity,” Wyckoff stated. The collaboration and community connections fostered by a diverse workforce enable the Coast Guard to achieve its missions effectively.

Wyckoff highlighted the myriad benefits of joining the Coast Guard, from personal and professional growth to educational opportunities.

“The Coast Guard prides itself on the growth of its members. We offer training that benefits both the Coast Guard and civilian opportunities,” he explained.

Members are encouraged to pursue certifications and degrees, and the experience gained through service prepares them for success in various fields.

For students considering a future with the Coast Guard but harboring doubts, Krakora offered sound advice.

“While the military isn’t for everyone, if you have any inclination to join, the Coast Guard is an excellent choice. Talking to someone who has served can provide an honest impression,” she suggested.

The assembly at Oakland Rowing Club showcased the Coast Guard as a viable and rewarding career option, emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making and the numerous benefits of service. The event left a lasting impression, inspiring many students to consider a future with the U.S. Coast Guard.