Category Archives: Camp

High adrenaline summer adventure for Southern Area Sea Cadets Part.4


Petty Officer Esther Selhi, 42, has volunteered as a Cadet Forces Adult instructor for the past three years.  A stay at home Mum of three, she joined the Maidstone unit when her son Saul became a cadet and she heard that they needed help and more staff.  She said “It’s very rewarding having cadets who’ve not done something before and seeing their confidence grow and their excitement in their achievements.”  Esther is taking advantage of the personal development opportunities.  She said “In terms of my own development I’ve trained to become a First Aid instructor, I’ve got an Adventure Leader qualification, as well as being a Duke of Edinburgh supervisor and assessor.  I’m also currently half way through my Basic Expedition Leader course”


Cadet Molly Salmon, 12, enjoys all the boating experiences and courses that come with being a sea cadet.  A member of the Gosport Unit, Molly has a passion for climbing.  She said “I love all the climbing that we get to do and being able to climb real rocks outside is an amazing opportunity.”  She added “If it wasn’t for Sea Cadets I wouldn’t really know who I was or what I like to do.  I totally recommend it – it’s so enjoyable”.


Civilian Instructor Joshua Smets, 20, is an outdoor instructor during the week and joined the High Wycombe Unit Sea Cadets ten months ago.  He said “I was a Royal Marine cadet from the age of 13 to 18 and I realised that I was doing all the outdoor pursuits that I’d done in cadets as my job and I found myself missing the cadet environment.  I got in touch and asked if I could bring my skills to my old unit and got onto all the courses so I can now instruct the cadets in these activities.”  He added “I enjoy seeing a smile on a kid’s face when the achieve something knowing that you’ve contributed to that achievement.  With Cadets you see them develop and grow in confidence.  It’s very rewarding and sometimes it’s hard work but the rewards definitely outweigh the hardship.”


Ordinary Cadet Saul Selhi, 14, is a Sea Cadet at the Maidstone Unit which he joined because he wanted to learn to kayak.  He said “I like kayaking and once I found out about the adventure training activities that sea cadets can do, I wanted to do that too”.   As well as kayaking, Saul enjoys climbing, shooting and camping. He added “Taking part in this adventure training week has shown me that I can do more than I thought I could do when I’m pushed a bit outside of my comfort zone”.


Cadet First Class Gabrielle Sellstrom, 13, is a Sea Cadet with Camberley Unit.  She said “I joined three years ago because my Dad is one of the instructors and so I’ve been brought up with Sea Cadets.  I really love all the different activities though and it’s fun meeting new people and being able to go on different courses.  This adventure training week is the by far the best course I’ve been on.  I’m very proud of myself as I’ve conquered my fear of heights.  Doing that climb just now was amazing.  Tomorrow we’re doing the zip wires and I’m looking forward to that.”  Gabby continued “Sea cadets has given me more confidence to go in the direction I want to go in life”.


Leading Cadet Sophie Rusling, 17, is a student at the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and is a sea cadet at the Cowes unit.  She said “I joined six and half years ago because it seemed a fun thing to do and offered a lot of opportunities.”  She added “This week has been awesome.  I came along on this course two years ago and I was petrified of heights and the staff have really helped me to overcome this.  I’m definitely into rock climbing now, and I’m not afraid to push myself.  I’m looking forward to the 100ft freefall which we are doing tomorrow.”



High adrenaline summer adventure for Southern Area Sea Cadets Part.3


Ordinary Cadet Dan Walker, 14, has been a Sea Cadet with Herne Bay Unit for the past four years and is a pupil at Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School.  He joined the Sea Cadets after an introduction from the Unit Vice Chairman who is a family friend.  He said “She thought I’d enjoy it.  I really do.  I like boating and all the away courses and the adventure training.  The Zip World activities have been the highlight of the week for me so far – they’ve been the most fun.”


Cadet First Class Tyler Selway, 14, is a Sea Cadet with Camberley Unit.  A pupil at Tomlinscote School and Sixth Form College, Tyler joined the Corps three years ago with his friend who he saw was doing lots of fun things including shooting.  He said “I’m really enjoying this week.  I’ve never done outside climbing before and enjoyed the scrambling up Tryfan.  The views were amazing and being in the fresh air was great.”  He added “I’ve learnt that I can commit to something – I come along to Sea Cadets every week – and it’s really helped to develop my character.  I’ve got a better sense of humour and I’m more polite and understanding of people”.


Sergeant Jayson Holland, 28, is a self-employed carpet cleaner and became an adult instructor 16 years ago.  A father of three, Jayson decided to become a cadet forces adult volunteer as he loved his own time as a sea cadet and wanted to carry on the learning and to take advantage of the opportunity to earn more qualifications.  He said “We also have a great laugh – it’s fun and very rewarding. There is strong camaraderie amongst the staff and the social aspect is good.” Jayson is a qualified climbing instructor and also climbs outside of the unit.  “I enjoy seeing the cadets growing in confidence and teaching them how to climb is a good way to build that”.


Petty Officer Sarah Phillips, 29, is a Cadet Forces Adult Volunteer with Herne Bay Unit Sea Cadets. A police officer with Kent Police, Sarah is an ex-Cadet herself and joined as a volunteer because she wanted to give something back.  She said “In my career I deal with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and I’m a strong believer that if adults hadn’t volunteered at Sea cadets for me then I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I feel it’s my community and duty of service to give my time like this.  The Sea cadets have given me so many transferable skills and help me to understand children better.”  Sarah is a climbing instructor and said “Adventure Training in particular pushes children beyond their limits and when they achieve beyond their personal best or overcome a fear they thought was impossible, then I feel utterly proud.”  She continued “The team of instructors is fantastic and we’re very sociable.  We work together to help drive each other to overcome our fears and challenges too”.


Marine Cadet First Class Charlie Bolton, 14, joined the Tunbridge Wells unit 18 months ago.  A pupil at Beacon Academy, Charlie’s Step Dad who was a diver in the Royal Navy, inspired Charlie to become a cadet with tales of his experience.  Charlie is hoping to join the Royal Marines as an officer when he leaves school.  I’m really enjoying this adventure training week.  The highlight for me has been spending the day with one of the instructors who is an ex Royal Marine and climbing one of the mountains, really challenging myself.  Charlie said that since he became a cadet he is tidier and his shoes are always clean!  He continued “I’ve got more confidence in myself, the team and the equipment”.


Ordinary Cadet Jonty Peck, 14, is a pupil at Abbey School and has been a cadet with Faversham Unit Sea Cadets for three years.  He said “I joined cadets because I wanted to do something with my time after school on a Tuesday and Thursday.  I enjoy all the activities that we do and it’s fun going on courses and doing lots of different things.  My favourite activities are adventure training and mechanical engineering.”  Sitting on the side of a mountain after having done some rock climbing and abseiled down a 60m rock face, Jonty said “I love having the opportunity to be outside with magnificent views doing this”.

High adrenaline summer adventure for Southern Area Sea Cadets Part.2


Leading Cadet Alex Green, 17, is a pupil at Rainham School for Girls and has been a member of Medway Towns Sea Cadet Unit for almost six years.  She said “A friend of mine suggested we join Sea Scouts and I joined Sea Cadets by mistake!  I’m so glad I did!  I love the different courses and activities that you can do.  Last year I went sailing from Cork to Portsmouth and I’ve also been to Gran Canaria on a sailing trip.”  Alex, who wants to join the Royal Navy as either a Weapons Engineer or a Warfare Officer, did her first abseil in the Slate Quarry in Snowdonia.  She said “The abseiling was quite scary.  It was very high and taking that first step off the ledge was terrifying.  I’m so glad I did it though.  This week is brilliant fun.  It’s all proper adventure training and is giving us the opportunity to put the basics into practice.  Everyone is really nice, the staff and the other cadets and the zip lining is the best fun.”  She added “I’d definitely like to come back to Snowdonia to go climbing and mountain walking – this week has really inspired me”.


Marine Cadet Second Class Harvey Nicholson, 14, is a pupil at Beacon Academy and has been a sea cadet with Tunbridge Wells Unit for nearly a year.  “I joined because I want to be a Royal Marine when I leave school.  I really enjoy all the physical activity – it’s much more fun and suits me better to be out of the class room for most of the time”.  He added “The abseil that we did in the Slate Quarry was great fun and something that you wouldn’t normally get to do.”  He added “I came along this week for the experience and to meet new people – I’m really enjoying it all”.


Cadet First Class Max Witherington, 15, is a pupil at George Abbott school in Guildford and has been a sea cadet with the Guildford Unit for just over one year.  He said “I wanted to do something constructive with my spare time and so I joined Sea Cadets.  I especially love the boating especially kayaking, canoeing and paddling and the atmosphere at the unit is very welcoming and I’ve made lots of friends that are from outside school.”  He added “I’m really enjoying this adventure training week.  The mountain hike and scramble was great fun and it was quite a challenge to find the route whilst you were scrambling.  I think doing the big jump will be quite scary but I’m looking forward to having a go and doing it”.


Ordinary Cadet Josh Phillips, 15, is a pupil at the Archbishop’s School in Canterbury and is a member of Herne Bay Sea Cadet Unit.  He said “My cousin is a sea cadet and I liked the sound of all the activities that are on offer.  I love all the different courses and activities you can do.  I’m definitely more confident and more prepared and willing to try new things.”  Josh attended the adventure training week last year and so he knew what to expect “I wanted to come again this year because it’s really fun.  I’m looking forward to the zip wires in the caverns”.


Petty Officer Nathan Joseph has been an Adult Instructor with the Sea Cadets for 12 years.  He joined the High Wycombe Unit as a cadet in September 1999 and is now back at his old unit as an instructor.  Nathan, who currently works as a Conference Assistant is currently studying to be a youth worker, said “I’m dyslexic and being a sea cadet helped me immensely with my learning disability and challenges.  I became a CFAV because I wanted to share my personal experience and support other children with learning disabilities within the sea cadet environment and to help to get the best out of them.  It’s also great fun.”  He added “I started the Adventure Training courses this year.  So far I’ve achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Assessor and Supervisor qualifications, and am also an Adventure Leader.  I’m just about to start my Mountain Bike instructor qualifications and I’m in the process of building my bike myself.


First Class Cadet Jake Salmon, 13, has been a Sea Cadet with Gosport Unit for just over four years.  A pupil at Bay House School, he said “My Mum and Dad run my unit so I’ve been into boating since I was very young.  I’ve been on the sailing and shooting courses and enjoy all the activities.  This Adventure Training Week has been a lot of fun.  I’ve enjoyed the indoor rock climbing the most so far and I’m looking forward to the 100ft freefall and the Power Fan although I am a bit scared!”


High adrenaline summer adventure for Southern Area Sea Cadets Part.1

SOUTHERN AREA SEA CADETS are having the time of their lives on a fun-filled and action packed multi-activity adventure training week in Snowdonia.  Twenty four cadets and eleven adult instructors, all unpaid volunteers, from across the eight districts in the Area, are spending seven days (12-21 August) in the picturesque Welsh National Park taking part in a wide variety of exhilarating adventure training activities.


Ranging in age from 12 to 17, the Sea Cadets who attended come from units based in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight have been rock climbing in the mountainous region, abseiling in a disused slate quarry, undertaken a mountain expedition and ridden the world famous mountain bike trails on Coed y Brenin.  In addition, the cadets have tackled underground Zip wires and Via Ferrata course, experienced the thrill of a freefall from a 100ft Powerfan, and conquered the high ropes and Tree Top Adventure, all part of North Wales’s Zip World which offers a wide-range of high adrenalin activities, and whose founder, Sean Taylor is a keen supporter of the Sea Cadets.


Cadet First Class Isabelle Talaga, 15, has been a Sea Cadet with Henley Detachment since she was ten years old.  A pupil at Waingels College in Reading, Isabelle joined the Sea Cadets to take advantage of the range of opportunities.   She said “I personally really enjoy rock climbing and we’ve had the opportunity to go to the world class Joint Services Climbing Centre with very unique facilities to practice our basics and now, as I’m working towards my intermediate qualification, I’m having the opportunity to climb real rock faces in an outdoor environment.  It’s brilliant fun”.


Ordinary Cadet Josie Day, 15, is a Sea Cadet with Henley Detachment.  She said “I joined Sea Cadets following a recruitment drive at our school when I was ten and I’ve done some amazing things in the past five years.  I spent a week on TS Jack Petchey when I was 13 which, at the time, was the longest I’d been away from home – it was great fun”.  A pupil at Gillots in Henley, Josie is a very keen climber who is working towards her Intermediate Climbing qualification which she is hoping she will achieve after this week’s climbing in Snowdonia.  “I’m hoping to be more confident at meeting new people this week and I’m sure that the high speed mountain biking will be a bit of a challenge too”.  She added “I really enjoyed the climbing and abseiling in the slate quarry – it was quite nerve wracking but I have an immense sense of achievement”.


Cadet Jessica Smith, 15, has been a Sea Cadet at Guildford Detachment for two years.  A pupil at St Peter’s School, she joined with a friend and is really enjoying doing all the adventure training activities that are on offer, especially the boating.  She said “This Adventure Training Week is really fun and I love doing all this stuff so much.  I climbed Tryfan yesterday, which is a mountain, and I had such a real sense of achievement of getting to the top.  It took us four hours but it was amazing and the views from the top were spectacular”.


Cadet First Class Peter Asekakhai, 15, is a pupil at Archbishop’s in Canterbury.  He has been a sea cadet with Faversham Detachment for the past two years.  He said “I went to France with school on a watersports holiday and I enjoyed it so much I thought I’d like to continue and so I joined Sea Cadets.   My proudest moment was taking part in last year’s Trafalgar Parade in Canterbury where I was looking smart in front of my family and friends”.  Peter is hoping to overcome his fears this week, especially when tackling the 100ft freefall on the Power Fan.  He continued “I’ve done some climbing and that was fun and the mountain scramble up Tryfan gave me a real sense of achievement, especially when we got to the top.”


Cadet First Class Paul Kirkby, 12, is a pupil at The Petersfield School.  Paul, who lives in Bordon, has been a sea cadet at Farnham Detachment for two years.  He said “I went to the Bournemouth Airshow and saw one of the Sea Cadet stands.  I was really interested in the activities that were on offer and so I joined my local detachment.”  He added “I really enjoy sailing and as a unit we go every week to Hawley Lake; I’ve got my RYA 1 qualification now”.  During the Adventure Training week, Paul was enjoying taking part in the different activities.  He said “The mountain biking has been the most fun but I also enjoyed the mountain scramble up Tryfan – I found it hard though because I’m quite short!  I’m looking forward to the zip wires in the caverns which we’re doing later this week – I think that’s going to be really cool.”

Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Battalion Army Cadet Force Annual Camp 2016 Part.2

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2nd Lieutenant Wayne Thrussell is a former cadet and has been an instructor for 18 years specialising in water sports training. He is also the 2nd In Command of Nivelle Company based in Abingdon.

Wayne, whose day job is a sales trainer said “The kids are sometimes apprehensive about the water based activities and it is great to see their confidence grow once they get on the water and start to build their skills.  As a former a cadet I feel it is important to give something back.”

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Being on Annual Camp gave Cadet Tom Norton the opportunity to try archery.  Tom who is with the Kidlington Detachment said “I would like to join the Army and I think that being a cadet will give me a headstart. I have only been a cadet for 4 months but I am really enjoying it, the range of activities and the chance to do things you don’t do in normal life.”

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Lance Corporal Millie Warwick parades with the Witney Detachment said “I love the environment of camp and especially the shooting and fieldcraft. I think being a cadet is a great opportunity to develop yourself, have fun with friends, we learn to be independent and capable of doing things for yourself.”

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Seeing an advert for the ACF led Lance Corporal Kate Harris to join the Abingdon Detachment almost 2 years ago. She hopes to join the Army as a geographic technician but at the moment she says “Cadets is great fun, I have become more confident and made lots of friends.”

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A member of Shrivenham Detachment, Lance Corporal Mairi Balmer has been a cadet for almost 3 years.  She said “My twin is a member of the Air Training Corps but I couldn’t join due to my fear of heights. I think the ACF offers more than the other cadet forces, activities are so varied.  Our Detachment Commander is so experienced and really keeps us motivated as well as making sure that we have fun. Being a cadet is a genuinely a good thing to do.”

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Cadets from the Corunna Band and Bugles came together at Annual Camp to practise their musical skills, culminating with playing in the Officers Mess during a formal dinner. Lieutenant Kaz Raffael, Director of Music said “The Commandant invited us to come along to Swynerton and to spend a week together on a music camp. We rarely have the opportunity to spend so much time together and the benefits are immeasurable. It is great to see how much progress the cadets have made including learning a number of new pieces.”

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For Lance Corporal George Walkui the ACF has been a great way of developing his musical skills. George plays the trombone, bugle and percussion, and has been a cadet for 3 years. He said “I joined the ACF because of the opportunities to improve my playing. I am a member of the Band and also of Wallingford Detachment. We have some great opportunities to play at events including at a Sandhurst family open day. It is great for us to be able to spend so much time together just playing.”

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Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Battalion Army Cadet Force Annual Camp 2016 Part.1

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A total of 264 Army Cadets and their instructors from across Oxfordshire came together at Swynerton Training Camp, Staffordshire for 2 weeks of fun, friendship and action at their annual camp (6th-18th August). The action started with 4 days out on the training ground putting into practice skills learnt at local detachments. This included a theoretical scenario based exercise in which a sudden and massive invasion of Western Europe by land and air had been launched.  As a result the senior cadets were deployed to the front line to defend the training area, while the junior cadets were called upon to secure a suspected enemy position, known as “Emergency Government Head Quarters, Bunker 6.”

As part of the exercise the cadets cleared bunkers, slept out in the field under a basha, cooked rations from an army ration pack, and practised their navigation and ambush skills. Lending a feeling of reality to the exercise and creating a fast moving scenario, senior instructors communicated to the cadets on the ground via Skype and news updates on the “invasion” were broadcast.

During the second week of camp the cadets took part in a variety of adventure training activities including raft building, canoeing, paddle boarding, climbing wall, archery, cycling, range firing.

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Corporal Megan Norwood has been a cadet for four years with the Donnington Bridge Detachment.  Although originally she didn’t want to follow in her brother’s footsteps she now says that she loves being a cadet.  She said “I became a cadet because I wanted a new challenge, with the ACF I have achieved my silver Duke of Edinburgh Award and gained adult first aid qualifications. Camp gives us the opportunity to take in activities we don’t normally do and to take part in an exercise.”

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Polly Davey lives in Goring and parades with the Wallingford Detachment.  She said “Being a cadet gives you the chance to try new things and to get skills for life. At camp I have really enjoyed firing rifles on the ranges and the raft building challenge.”

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Lance Corporal James Bennett, Kidlington Detachment was taking part in Annual Camp for the second time. James said “I have been a cadet for 2 years. Camp is a great experience, it is fun and you are always busy with a routine, we have to get up early and keep things clean and tidy.” James is hoping to take a painting and decorating apprenticeship, and at the same time build his fitness levels with the ambition of joining the Parachute Regiment.

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Army Cadet Varisha Hussain who was experiencing Annual Camp for the first time said “Camp has been lots of fun so far and I have made lots of new friends. I have really enjoyed the bike riding today, the scenario training and sleeping out under a basha.

Varisha lives in Cowley and joined the Blackbirds Ley Detachment in October 2015, she said “I wanted to do something different. Cadets gives you lots to do and there is the chance to learn lots of new things.”

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Based with the Shrivenham Detachment, Cadet Beth Leo has been a cadet for almost a year. She was encouraged to join by her brother who got a job because of the skills he had acquired through the ACF. She said “This is my first time at camp and I am having a great time. Cadets is a great way of learning new skills that aren’t taught at school.”

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Sergeant Instructor Melissa Layden combines her Army Cadet instructor role with a busy life working as a healthcare assistant at a mental health unit. A former cadet, Melissa returned to the Blackbird Leys Detachment when she finished at university.

Melissa said “Becoming an instructor was a natural progression, particularly as my father was an instructor. The ACF is a brilliant environment, fun, gives you transferable skills, gets you out in the fresh air and gives your friends for life. I have met my two best friends and my partner through cadets.

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Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force Annual Camp 2013

Annual Camp at Nesscliffe Camp

200 Oxfordshire cadets have recently returned from an interesting and enjoyable two week’s Annual Camp at Nesscliffe Camp near Shrewsbury.

It is the site of a war time ammunition depot, the training area is immediately accessible from the camp and has many building that help with training scenarios.

Visitors day to Oxfordshire Annual Camp.

Visitors day to Oxfordshire Annual Camp.

The weather was good, thus the challenge of last year’s Dartmoor micro climate was not repeated. On the first Thursday, 22 visitors came to see the cadets training, including the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Mr John Harwood DL, who presented two cadets, including Cdt RSM McLennan, with their BTEC certificates. Another visitor was Mr Cecil Jeffcoates, a WW2 Veteran who landed in Normandy by glider on 6 June 1966 as part of S Company 2nd Bn Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry, a predecessor of The Rifles. Both much enjoyed their visit.

Mr Cecil Jeffcoates comparing the LSW to the Bren he used to use

Mr Cecil Jeffcoates comparing the LSW to the Bren he used to use

The camp was again run as a Cadre camp and many APC star passes were achieved. The middle weekend saw the exercise phase with all cadres putting into practice the training of the preceding week. The Monday following was ‘chill out’ day, with the cadets visiting a theme park. The majority of the second week was a combination of the Inter-Company Skills Competition and some ‘fun’ activities, e.g. motor biking. The Inter-Company drill competition on the final Thursday saw each of the four companies trying to outshine each other with precision of their drill and smartness of their turn-out. The afternoon heralded the annual prize giving, with Quebec Company acquiring the biggest ‘haul’ of prizes. By Friday tired, yet happy and still cheerful cadets, and adults, were ready for the return trip to Oxfordshire.

For nmore information on Cadets please visit