In mid-March it was deemed that alongside many other organisations across the UK, face-to-face cadet activities would need to cease in line with social distancing measures in our Covid-19 response. The question that arose was: how do you maintain the spirit, activities and social side of an organisation if you can’t meet face-to-face?
The Cadet Forces are a prime example of organisations who have adapted to meet this changing scenario. Thanks to the effort and commitment of their instructors, volunteers and staff at county HQ level they have creatively altered their methods of delivering parade nights and activities to ensure the safety of all of their staff and cadets.
As a result we have been blown away by the amount of fun, inspiring and thoughtful activities we’ve been seeing cadets across the UK taking part in on social media. In true cadet ethos they’ve absolutely thrown themselves into adapting to the challenge!
So what have the cadets in our region been up to? There’s far too many good things taking place to list individually, but here are a few of the highlights we’ve spotted…
Face-to-face parades and activities at detachments have unfortunately had to stop and will be on hold for the foreseeable future. But that hasn’t stopped many of our cadet detachments from working around this. With parental/guardian permission and safeguarding measures considered, video teleconference software has been used to keep in contact with their cadets, deliver virtual lessons, help cadets work on their vocational qualifications and development goals, take part in quizzes and set challenges. It’s nice to keep a routine.
Usually promotions for the cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAV) to their new ranks takes place surrounded by their fellow cadets and colleagues. It’s a proud moment for everyone. However, some of our cadet detachments have continued to celebrate these successes virtually. Recently we saw CFAV Sergeant Major Turner of Warwickshire & West Midlands Army Cadet Force (ACF) receive his promotion from the Officer Commanding of their company via Zoom and also Cadet Serjeant Cook receive his in Shropshire ACF’s first ever virtual promotion. Well done all!
Photos: Warwickshire ACF and Shropshire ACF
Getting on board with #clapforkeyworkers
Many of the cadets, adult volunteers and county staff have members of their friends and families who are key workers, or are even one themselves. As a nation we’ve been getting on board with the weekly Thursday evening doorstep claps and cheering those who are working hard to keep the country running and keeping us safe and healthy. Each week we’ve seen photos of cadets and volunteers who are joining in from their doorsteps, often in uniform or proudly displaying some of their messages of support. It’s inspiring to see – keep it up!
Photos: Staffordshire ACF and Shropshire ACF
VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations
On the 8th May we celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day. In readiness for the nation to celebrate, the bank holiday was moved so we could all use the day to reflect and celebrate properly. Unfortunately with lockdown this didn’t quite go to plan. But in true form – we adapted! As for the cadets they also got their creative talents flowing. Some turned out on their doorsteps early morning to salute and there was some great photo montages, artworks and VE decorations produced. Kind-hearted cadets from 495 (Sutton Coldfield) Squadron even created some cards for local RAF veterans.
Photos: 495 (Sutton Coldfield) Squadron Air Training Corps, St Paul’s School for Girls CCF, Hereford & Worcester ACF and Staffordshire ACF
Having a good bit of fun and making the most of technology!
During lockdown it’s important that we try and have fun and do things to make us smile (in line with social distancing). We’ve seen some fantastic creative videos online, such as the Stone Detachment from Staffordshire and West Midlands (North Sector) ACF ‘passing along’ an item around their cadets (video here) and The Royal Air Force Air Cadets National Youth Ensembles performing a fantastic virtual rendition of ‘Africa’ (which includes cadets from our region, video here).
Daily/weekly activities and challenges
We really do have to celebrate the efforts of the instructors, volunteers and staff at county HQ level again here. Many of them are taking the time around their own work, childcare and caring commitments to still find the time to continue to keep our cadets inspired, engaged and championing their successes.
A lot of the detachments are setting challenges remotely – whether daily, weekly or monthly. Writing challenges, artwork challenges, building models, building bashas, exercise challenges. You name it, they’ve already thought of it! As a few recent examples Shropshire ACF have been setting weekly Commandant Challenges (this week there’s some great STEM videos on their Facebook page here, including prosthetic making and rocket building) and cadets from 151 (Leominster) ATC have been busy model making and having a ‘camp out’ in their back gardens – similarly Hereford & Worcester ACF and Warwickshire ACF will be taking part in garden camp outs soon.
Photos: 151 (Leominster) Squadron ATC, Shropshire ACF
Raising funds for charity
Even in uncertain times the community spirit that has been induced is heartening to see. We’ve seen a huge support for fundraising challenges. The cadet forces included. Recently we saw that some of the instructors from B Company of Hereford & Worcester ACF are daring to ‘brave the shave’ and raise funds for their local hospice (link here). Second Lieutenant Brady from Staffordshire ACF has also been trekking 50 miles a day to raise funds for the Royal Marines Charity (link here).
Stay safe and keep up the good work!