Tag Archives: Fun

Surrey Army Cadets Annual Camp 2016 Part.5


Cadet Amy Ringshaw, 14, is a pupil at Charters School and has been a cadet with Chobham Detachment ACF for almost two years.  She said “I saw people in uniform at school on Remembrance Day and wondered what it would be like to be part of the ACF and so I went along to find out and here I am … “  She continued “This Annual Camp is really good fun, especially as we don’t have to do PT at 6.30am every morning this time!  I’ve enjoyed the Detachment and Company Days very much where we’ve been to Weymouth and done the cliff jumping and coasteering.”  Amy is having a lot of fun as an Army Cadet, she said “I think I’m more confident in speaking to people and I’ve got a lot more discipline and my values have changed too.  I really enjoy the social element and the fact that as a detachment we get to do so many different things”.


Cadet Matthw Ringshaw, 15, is a pupil at Silesian College in Farnborough and has been a cadet with Chobham Detachment for a year and ten months.  He said “I thought it would be fun to join the ACF and I love it, it’s been great.  I’ve met loads of new people and done some great activities.  The Company Days have been the best part of this Annual Camp as it’s so good spending time with your friends.”  He added “Since I’ve been with the ACF I’ve grown more confident.  I work better in a team and am able to take charge of more situations.”


Corporal Marco Toledo, 17, is a cadet with Chobham Detachment ACF.  He said “I joined the ACF five years ago because I wanted to do something positive and pro-active with my time.  I needed more discipline and I was very shy and couldn’t talk to people.  That’s all changed now.  I’ve got a lot more confidence to communicate and every Annual Camp I come along to, I make a new friend.”  Marco who is going to Guildford College in September to study media has enjoyed this year’s annual camp.  He added “It’s very well organised and the fitness regime that we’ve got as senior cadets has been been really hard but very good for me.  I’m been running every day and it’s been good for my personal admin and discipline.”  For Marco, the highlights of his five years with the ACF have included his promotion to Lance Corporal; the responsibility made him want to inspire the younger cadets and he has enjoyed being on parade and representing the ACF which has filled him with immense pride.


Cadet Ethan Dye, 12, is a cadet with Mytchett Detachment ACF and this has been his first Annual Camp having only joined 8 months ago.  A pupil at Ash Manor School, he wanted something else to do and finds that he has a real passion for shooting.  On Annual Camp he particularly enjoyed shooting the scorpion air rifle.  Ethan was one of a group of cadets who climbed the cliffs at West Weares on the Isle of Portland.  He said “It was very steep and I didn’t dare look down.  At first I wanted to stop but then I just got on with it.  I’m scared of heights so I’m really proud of my achievement.  At least I don’t feel sick any longer!”


Cadet Owen Gibson, 13, is a pupil at Ash Manor School and has been a cadet with Mytchett Detachment ACF for a year.  He said “My Dad, who is a major with 5RIFLES in the Army, suggested I join the ACF and so here I am.  This is my first Annual Camp and it’s really good fun.  Better than I thought.  It’s hard work but in a fun way.  I didn’t like the caving and tunnelling that much but I did it – I overcame my fear and I’m quite proud of myself for that.”


Cadet Sergeant Major Sophie Verrinder, 18, is a student at Alton College and has been a member of Mytchett Detachment ACF for almost six years.  Heading off to Portsmouth University in September to study Law with International Relations, this is her final Annual Camp as a Cadet.  She said “I’ve got so much out of being a cadet.  So many friends, so much confidence, life skills and shared experiences that I wouldn’t have got if I’d been on my own rather than with a team of people. I was lucky enough to go on the exchange to Australia last year and also took part in the Njmegen Marches. In the ACF it’s a real community and there’s a lot of peer support.  I’d definitely like to come back as an Adult Instructor.”



Surrey Army Cadets Annual Camp 2016 Part.4


Cadet Alice Saker, 15, is a pupil at Winston Churchill School and has been a member of Woking Detachment ACF for just over one year.  She said “I joined with friends but they’ve actually all left and I’ve stayed.  I like to see the way I’ve improved. I’m normally quite girly but it’s fun to do stuff that is more outdoorsy like the shooting.”  She added “The coasteering was very scary but I have a real sense of achievement for having done it and the sea kayaking was fun but we kept capsizing”.


Cadet Chloe Greaves, 13, is a pupil at Charters School in Sunningdale and has been a member of Chobham Detachment ACF for seven months.  She said “I joined the ACF as I thought it’d be a good and new experience and this is my first Annual Camp.  I have never swum in the sea before because I’m scared of the water but we went coasteering and I actually jumped off the rocks.  I’d definitely do it again and I’m not so scared of swimming in the sea now.”  She added “I’m making lots of new friends and I’m enjoying camp far too much to even call home – it’s really fun!”


Adult Under Officer Mike Curtis, 23, is the Commander of Woking Detachment Surrey ACF.  A former cadet he has spent the past four years volunteering as an instructor.  Mike is in the middle of a gap year having graduated from Surrey University in November 2015 with a BA Hons in Business Management.  He said “I did so much as a cadet including travelling to Lesotho in South Africa for Cadet 150, two scuba diving trips to Egypt, and trips to Cyprus and France, I really wanted to give something back.”  He added “I get a lot of real satisfaction in seeing the cadets progress and there’s fun and a good social scene amongst the staff and other volunteers.  The support and experiences I have had from the ACF have played such a key part in my life and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get my degree without my ACF skills and qualifications.


Staff Instructor Natasha Chessman, 26 is an Adult Volunteer at Woking Detachment.    A former cadet herself, Natasha joined the ACF as an adult eighteen months ago.  She said “Once my daughter was of an age where I could go back to work, I got a part-time job as a pre-school assistant and then thought I’d like to volunteer as well and so came back to the ACF.  We’ve got a very strong Company doing a lot of fundraising and other very rewarding things and there are lots of opportunities for me to develop my own skills and qualifications.  I would like to do a Skill at Arms Course and also become an Official Assessor on First Aid courses as well as a Mountain Leader’s Course.”


Cadet Chloe Alma-Daykin, 16, has been an ACF Cadet for just over a year at Chobham Detachment.  Hoping to go to Farnborough College, Chloe joined the ACF because she wanted to test herself and push herself out of her comfort zone, as well as wanting to meet and make new friends.  She said “This is my first Annual Camp and it’s more fun than I expected.  I was really scared doing the coasteering but so proud of myself for doing it and the sea kayaking was really fun.  I learnt that if I put my head in the right zone I can do it”.  For Chloe, Fieldcraft is her favourite activity and she likes the fact that she has a whole new community of friends who aren’t from school”.



Surrey Army Cadets Annual Camp 2016 Part.3


Lance Corporal Sebastian Edwards, 16, was a pupil at St Bede’s School and is hoping to go to Reigate College in September.  A cadet at Redhill Detachment ACF, Sebastian joined the ACF three years ago with friends as it sounded good and he wanted something fun and challenging to do.  He said “I love the field exercises and the shooting because we don’t often get the opportunity to do it.  The coasteering was fun – I’ve never done it before but I enjoyed it.”


Lance Corporal Kevin Perera, 16, is a pupil at St Bede’s School where he is about to go into the Sixth Form.  A member of Redhill Detachment, he joined the ACF three years ago with friends and to get the military experience.  He said “This Annual Camp has been great and I’ve enjoyed the adventure training days a lot, as well as the field craft and assault course which was good fun.”  The highlight of Kevin’s ACF Career to date has been his promotion which took place during this year’s Annual Inspection as well as last November taking part in the Orienteering Nationals in Yorkshire where he achieved fifth position.


Staff Instructor James Armstrong is a volunteer Adult Instructor at Dorking and Reigate Detachment.  He joined the ACF as staff two years ago having been a cadet himself.  He said “I was trying to join the Army and sustained an injury so as I had enjoyed my time as a cadet so very much I wanted to give something back.  I enjoy it and I get a lot out of it; especially watching the cadets get something out of it.  It’s very rewarding seeing them progress and develop.  James is an Emergency Care Support Worker for SECAMB (South East Central Ambulance) and enjoys the fun and social side of volunteering with Surrey ACF.  He added “I’m able to develop my people management skills and via cadets I’m now trained to teach first aid which is a skill and qualification I can take into my civilian workplace”.


SSI Michael Exley, 43, volunteers as a Cadet Force Instructor at Redhill Detachment ACF.  A wedding and portrait photographer as well as a stay at home Dad for his two year old daughter, Michael joined Surrey ACF three and a half years ago.  He said “I spent 21 years in the Army as a radio operator with the Royal Logistics Corp and when we moved from Manchester to Crawley, I thought it would be a good way of meeting new people and making new friends.  I’m always interested in my local community and I also wanted to utilise my qualifications from my military service.  I find it very rewarding and a lot of fun.  I especially enjoy seeing the marked improvement in the cadets after they’ve been coming along for a while”.  He added “It does take up a lot of time but my wife is very supportive and understanding especially as she is an Army Reservist herself with 150 Recovery Company in Croydon”.   Michael wants to build on his existing skills and is currently doing his Duke of Edinburgh Assessor qualification which will be of great benefit to Surrey ACF.


Cadet Chloe Link, 15, is an ACF Cadet at Yorktown Detachment having joined in October last year.  A pupil at Frogmore Community College, she joined the ACF because she needed to do something with her spare time.  She said “I wanted to make new friends that I have shared interests with and I want to join the Army.  This is my first Annual Camp and I’ve enjoyed the shooting most of all as well as the adventure training days, especially the tunnelling, low ropes, army tanks, mountain biking and the coasteering.  It’s all been great fun”.


Surrey Army Cadets Annual Camp 2016 Part.2


Cadet RSM Shauna Lawless, 18, has been a member of Caterham Detachment ACF for four and a half years.  She said “My arms are killing me – we’ve just done the sea kayaking – it was really good fun.  This camp has been brilliant as there has been so much adventure training and sport.  Sadly it’s my last one as I’ll be leaving soon and hopefully going off to university”.   Shauna, who has been a student at Warlingham Sixth Form, joined the ACF for a different experience.  She said “I wanted to meet new friends and do something different with my time.  I like fitness and so cadets seemed a good idea.  I want to teach sport and so the teaching qualifications you can get really help.  I did the Senior Cadet Instruction Course last year and all the experiences I’ve had at Surrey ACF, including going to Australia on the three week exchange, definitely helped me to stand out on my Personal Statement.  In fact, I’ve been given a reduced grade offer from Bath University on the back of my cadet skills and qualifications. So instead of needing 3A’s I now need ABB.”


Cadet Rowan Hendrie, 15, has been a member of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School Detachment for three years.  He said, “Coasteering was amazing.  I was quite scared to jump into the water because you don’t know what’s beneath you, but I did it!”  Rowan, who joined Surrey ACF to help develop his teamwork skills, discipline and to conquer some of his fears, said that this summer camp was the best so far and the highlight of his cadet career, with the coasteering, sea kayaking and rock hopping being stand out activities.


Cadet Scarlett Millar, 13 has been a member of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School Detachment for almost a year having joined for all the activities, especially the athletics and other sports.  She said “This is my first Summer Camp and it’s been brilliant. I did my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Expedition which was a ten and a half hour hike along the coast in Swanage and Corfe Castle, spread over two days.  I love meeting new people, making new friends and learning new things.  The adventure training days like today have been the most fun.  I do canyoning outside of cadets so I loved the coasteering and sea kayaking.”


Cadet Rose Guy, 14 is a pupil at The Beacon School and has been a cadet with Banstead Detachment for a year and a half.  She said “This is my first Annual Camp and it’s really good.  I’m meeting loads of new people.  The adventure training days are the best and I like the coasteering, climbing and sea kayaking.  I also really enjoyed the shooting.”  Rose is set on a career in the Army and joined the Army Cadets to get an insight into some of the military skills.


Lance Corporal Zara Branco, 14, is a member of Horley Detachment ACF.  A pupil at Oxted School, she joined Army Cadets two and a half years ago because she had lots of free time and she wanted to meet new people.  She said “I love the fact you can say that you’ve done something that other people haven’t and it’s a different community to school friends”.  Zara added “This Annual Camp, I’m seeing friends from previous annual camps that I don’t get to see as well as meeting new people”.  Zara is enjoying her cadet experience and has gone on a trip to Normandy, and has achieved a BTEC in Leadership and Teamwork.  She said “It’s great to get a qualification for doing something that you love”


Surrey Army Cadets Annual Camp 2016 Part.1



ARMY CADETS from across the whole of the county of Surrey have returned home after spending two weeks on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast  (24th July – 5th August) for their Annual Summer Camp.

For the Cadets, aged between 12 and 18 years old, Summer Camp is an exciting and enjoyable two weeks packed with fun and adventure and sees them take part in a huge variety of outdoor activities.  This year’s camp, with “teamwork” as the overriding theme, enabled the cadets to make the most of their coastal location and saw them coasteering, rock hopping, sea kayaking, orienteering, mountain biking and climbing as part of their adventure training activities.  This was undoubtedly the highlight of the camp for the Cadets, many of whom were away from home for the first time.   The adventure training activities took place at several Dorset locations; Lulworth Cove, Wareham and Weymouth and the Isle of Portland.

In between these outdoor activities, the Cadets practiced their first aid skills, drill, map & compass reading on orienteering courses, their military knowledge, tent building and safe weapon handling. A group of Two Star Cadets also took part in a field training exercise and dismounted close combat training, swimming and obstacle course at Bovington Camp, as well as undertaking their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Expedition.  The most senior cadets spent four nights in the field, and had the opportunity to practice long range shooting and navigation.

Throughout the fortnight, the 215 Cadets were looked after by 64 Adult Instructors all of whom are volunteers and manage a broad programme of military and adventurous training activities designed to develop character and leadership.  Surrey ACF were also joined by 18 cadets from Western Australia Army Cadet Force and their five adult volunteers as part of their ongoing exchange programme.

Air Cadets paddle to success on Exercise Golden Tarn

Written by Alex Pye (211 (Newbury) Squadron 

We can’t lie – the last week has been fantastic! A culmination of 6 months of hard training for the cadets, and 2 years of planning & training for the staff team involved in delivering Exercise Golden Tarn.

In celebration of 75 years of the Air Training Corps, Thames Valley Wing decided to embark on an ambitious overseas adventure training expedition – the first within the Wing for some years – and the very first mounted overseas by canoe. The Exercise, Golden Tarn, saw 6 cadets undertake their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition, paddling unsupported over a 100km descent of the Tarn River in the Aveyron region of France. Starting in Montbrun – the highest point to paddle due to the low water levels – the cadets paddled through Grade 1 & 2 rapids, dynamically assessed a Grade 3 rapid (and portaged it), then continued through some amazing scenery, under the magnificent Millau Viaduct to their end point at St Rome Du Tarn.
Preparation for the expedition began 2 years ago with some ideas bounced around in the Mess, from which it grew into a reconnaissance and feasibility expedition in 2015. Here the staff team not only tested the feasibility of a number of venues, they also identified training requirements specific to the environment and built around the needs of the various routes under consideration. Additionally, the staff looked at transport, logistics, accommodation, catering, campsites and everything else which could help or hinder the expedition.
In November 2015 a calling notice was issued to which 14 cadets responded. Eight cadets attended the initial training sessions on a bitterly cold Saturday on the Kennet & Avon Canal in Berkshire. The training escalated over the next 3 months from initial flat water skills through to basic moving water skills. In March the team attended a 5 day paddlesport camp at Halton Training Camp involving their first paddlesport expedition on Coniston Water, followed by 3 days of Moving Water Training at a variety of venues across the Lake District National Park under the expert guidance of Sgt (ATC) Alice Pye and Nick Howard from Epic Outdoors. The cadets went on to complete further training, a practice expedition on the River Severn, further White Water training on the River Wye, a Rescue Skills course as well as an Expedition First Aid course. After one of the slightly more challenging training sessions, one of the team was overheard saying “I’ve got 99 problems – and they’re all canoeing related”.
The cadets from Newbury, Aldermaston, Woodley & Chipping Norton, additionally undertook evening paddlesport courses to help mitigate skills fade and keep everything fresh in their minds. The intensive training regime proved challenging for the cadets in its own right; many of which were studying at Sixth Form & College, as well as keeping their own ATC commitments and personal lives in order!
In mid-July the team departed for France via Newhaven and following a 16 hour minibus journey, finally arrived at their expedition headquarters, a Gite just outside Aguessac near Millau. Following a day’s acclimatisation and skills refresh near Florac, the cadets began their 4 day expedition in sweltering 36 degree temperatures; paddling from Montbrun to La Malene through the heart of the 400m deep Gorge Du Tarn. Initial water levels proved very low in places, requiring lining the boats down some rapids and riffles, but in the main, the paddling was excellent.
Day 2 saw the team, aged 16-17, move on to the Gorge from La Malene to Le Rozier; a stretch which took them through the Pas De Souci, a huge rockfall and boulder field which includes a siphon. The team successfully portaged this area, before paddling on to the canoe shoot at Les Vignes down the River’s 16ft barrage.
The penultimate day of the expedition saw the cadets leave the Gorge proper and start exploring the smaller villages as the meandering River Tarn wound from Le Rozier, through Aguessac to a campsite just outside Millau. The paddling was, again, hot – peaking at 38 degrees – but the River levels were falling. Despite this, the River continued to offer plenty of surprises with sufficient challenge – several lengthily stretches of rapids, several weirs and an epic canoe shoot which got the better of one of the canoes, leaving them high and dry beached on a rock.
The final days paddling saw the group descend from the Millau valley and move into the amazing foothills, capturing the beautiful villages of Peyre, Compregnac & Candas before moving to St Rome Du Tarn itself. On the way the team paddled under the Millau Viaduct – Europe’s tallest bridge – some 270m above the River. The group reflected on this as their favourite day of the expedition – not just because they were on the home straight, but because, despite the lack of high Grade white water, there were still plenty of features and spots along the way to keep the paddling challenging, passing under the magnificent engineering feat of the viaduct and seeing the beautiful village of Peyre built into the cliff – not to mention countless Kingfishers, Herons and many fish along the route.
All cadets using this for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award successfully completed the expedition in accordance with the required conditions – and all had an amazing time in the process – producing some high quality photography and video which will be used to promote Adventurous Training opportunities and the Duke of Edinburgh Award within the Thames Valley Wing and beyond.


Flt Lt Martin Christlieb RAFVR(T), Officer In Charge of the Expedition said “we’d like to thank our Sponsors and Supporters for their help in making the expedition feasible. Supporters have included Ulysses Trust, RAF Charitable Trust, AWE and Hobkey – all of which have proven invaluable for us.”


The expedition team, Sgt Jemima Croggon (17), Cpl Jake Agar (16), Cdt Rebecca Palmer (16), Cdt Leila Whiteman (17), Cpl Rowan Hayball (17) and Cpl Drew Harding (16) would also like to extend their thanks to their Air Cadet staff for their support, advice and commitment to the expedition and putting their lives on hold to make it happen. They would also like to thank their parents for their early morning drops offs, late evening picks ups, ferrying them the occasional things we’d forgotten and their overwhelming patience when we come back from a weekend away cold, wet & smelling of river!

You can view further information about the expedition including our expedition video here: http://www.facebook.com/GoldenTarn2016.

Find out more about what the Air Cadets can offer you here: www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets or contact Newbury Squadron directly on 211@aircadets.org or Aldermaston Squadron on 2403@aircadets.org.


Additional quotes from participants:

  • I’ve got 99 problems – and they’re all canoeing related – Cdt Rebecca Palmer
  • A fantastic and unique opportunity – definitely the best thing I’ve done in cadets – Cdt Leila Whiteman
  • There are pros and cons to every situation even pinning a boat – Cpl Jake Agar
  • I loved the feeling of independence we were given – trusted to make our own decisions, find our own way, cut our own path and make the expedition what we wanted – Sgt Jemima Croggon
  • I expected to spend more time swimming the rapids than paddling them – I was surprised at how far our training had pushed us – and how prepared we were. The heat did make the swim feel quite inviting though! – Cpl Rowan Hayball
  • The expedition made all the training worth it – Cdt Drew Harding
  • We could’ve done this in Wales or Scotland or the Lake District – but doing it somewhere different set it apart and made some amazing memories – Sgt Jemima Croggon

Lord Lieutenant of Kent’s Inter-Schools Challenge

This year’s Lord Lieutenant’s Inter-Schools Challenge has been won by a team from Rainham Mark Grammar, which defeated teams representing seven other schools from throughout Medway on Tuesday, 12th July in a gruelling day of challenging activities designed to develop team spirit, test courage and stamina, build communication and teamwork skills.


Lead organiser Challenger Troop CIC, along with the Royal School of Military Engineers (1 RSME Regiment), facilitated a range of command and communication-based activities for 10 teams of 10 KS4 students from the eight participating schools at the event, the fourth of its kind, which took place at Brompton Barracks, Gillingham ME7 5DQ.  Each team had 10 challenges to complete in a set time and were scored on the result. Assessment was based on overall team performance; effort, participation, team-member engagement, leadership, communication, teamwork and completion of the task in the time allocated were all taken into consideration.

Dr Bhargawa Vasudaven, representing Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle, presented a trophy to the winning team from the Rainham Mark Grammar School. Mayor of Medway, Cllr Stuart Tranter presented awards for the runner-up, Team One from Gravesend Grammar School. In addition, a ceremonial plaque was presented by 1 RSME to Team Two from the Howard School for completing their Tower of Hanoi Challenge in the fastest time and awards for the Most Outstanding Individual Team-Member’s Contribution to the Team and Task were presented by The High Sheriff of Kent, Mrs Kathrin Smallwood.

Jo Blackwell, Director of Operations for Challenger Troop, said “This event is very much in the spirit of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, where local communities come together to support the Armed Forces community and encourage activities which help to integrate this into local life. As a provider of uniformed youth leadership and engagement programmes, we see on a daily basis how the values and standards of the Armed Forces can help and support disengaged young people in our community. Today we have seen some outstanding examples of leadership, camaraderie and teamwork.”

The event will take place next year around the second week in July and anyone who would like to support the event or would like more information should contact simon.dean@challengertroop.org