Towards the end of April, 18 cadets from 868 (Mirfield) Squadron Air Training Corps enjoyed their first experience of cadet camp at the Squadron’s Basic Training Camp.
The camp was based at Fan Wood Activity Centre in Gomersall, and involved some of the practical elements camping, camp craft, map reading and navigation. Activities on the first day included: indoor caving, a low ropes course, night-line (a blindfold obstacle course), and archery. That evening saw the cadets put the map reading knowledge they had learnt at their Squadron into practice, planning a route for navigation practice the following day, and learning about knots and rope work.
During their planned walk the next morning they were able to demonstrate their map reading skills and 18 cadets qualified for the Bronze level National Navigation Award.
After a lunch break back at Fan Wood the cadets engaged in some team building and leadership group tasks, which called upon their problem solving skills and helped them work together to achieve their goals.
The cadets all reported that they had enjoyed the weekend and overall considered that indoor caving was the most popular activity. This is cadet Laila Robinson’s report of the weekend:
“Basic training camp was absolutely one of the best and worthwhile things I have done with cadets. It has made me really understand what DofE is really going to be like. When we first arrived, we put our bags away and began to put up our tents. They were easy to put up once explained, and my group didn’t have much trouble.
The first activity we did was orienteering. I found myself working with people I normally wouldn’t work with, and I learned a great deal about them.
Following lunch was caving. The caves were a wonderful experience; there were two and they were not as cramped as I originally expected. We had helmets on with torchlights, and in the 4-floor cave there was a ball pit.
Then, we went to the low ropes. They were very hard; however, I had lots of fun attempting not to fall off. The centre challenges were difficult, and very humorous to watch others attempt.
We also did nightline. It was quite interesting to see the difference in time when we couldn’t see vs when we could. The course was quite hard without sight, but once the blindfolds were off, it was simple.
Another activity was archery. I wasn’t too good at the start, but the instructor helped me until I was a lot better. It was very fun!
Tea was delicious, and we set to work creating our walk plan for the next day. It proved to be more difficult than expected, as our results were different, but we managed.
There was a thunderstorm that night, so we all had fun laughing at the yelps from people.
The run before breakfast the next day really refreshed me and set me up for the day ahead. We set off on our planned walk towards Oakwell Hall. A few times we made errors; however, we always managed to get back on track. The walk was fun but a huge learning experience.
After lunch that afternoon we did team building exercises. Solving problems as a team was a memorable experience, and the initiative exercises were easier to work out as a team. We played rounders and then packed up ready to go home. The tents were slightly harder to put down, but we eventually did it.
This trip helped me to get to know people better and I now feel much more confident navigating and working in a team. All in all everyone had a truly great time.”
Squadron Commander Flight Lieutenant Peter Doubell said, “This is such a good opportunity for our younger and less experienced cadets, in a safe environment and close to home. They get to do a whole variety of activities that we can’t easily provide during our regular evening meetings, and of course we get to see a different side of them. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the weekend and they are now looking forward to their next set of challenges when we take them for an Outdoor Activity camp in the Yorkshire Dales in July”.
Report by Flight Lieutenant P Doubell, 868 (Mirfield) Squadron, South & West Yorkshire Wing ATC
Pictured: Cadet Eli Wade on the low ropes course
Mirfield Air Cadets meet at the Air Cadet Centre in Mirfield on Huddersfield Road near the Stocks Bank Road junction, on Tuesday and Friday evenings. For more information please contact Flt Lt Peter Doubell on 01924 498 896 (parade evenings only). To learn more about the air cadets click here