Whether it be sky diving 4,000ft, skiing in Europe or UK expeditions, the Lancashire Army Cadet Force puts together a packed programme of activities for 800 plus members all year round.
The cadet’s activities have been described as one of the county’s best kept secrets but organiser and spokesperson for the Lancashire ACF Des Eccles says nobody in the organisation is trying to keep it that way.
They are currently seeking new youngsters from the age of 12 upwards to join their twice weekly meets, as well as adult volunteers to help.
Des says: “There might be some who see us as a recruitment arm for the army but we are really not.
“We do have members who perhaps consider it an advantage on the path for an army career but we also have a number of youths, from all walks of life and different skill sets, who get so much out of the activities we have to offer.”
The organisation’s headquarters are based in Fulwood, Preston, but the ACF has 33 detachments across the county run by more than 175 adult volunteers.
Detachments run from Preston, Blackpool, Chorley and Lancaster to Barnoldswick, Carnforth and Ormskirk.
This year, the cadets have participated in sea kayaking in Cornwall, skiing in Bavaria, a coast to coast Hadrian’s Wall expedition, two weeks annual camp in Otterburn, Northumbria and in a few weeks will again venture to Bavaria for a week.
Apart from military training, the ACF gives young people opportunities not only for adventure, training, sport, overseas exchanges and competition rifle shooting, but also to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and to study for BTECs
Stephanie Murray, a Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major for Lancs ACF, says she has achieved so much since joining five years ago.
She adds: “The adventurous training activities that Lancashire ACF offers to its members is also mind-blowing. I have been lucky enough to complete a static line parachute jump at almost 4,000ft as well as spend a whole week in the Lake District pursuing my favourite sport – rock climbing.
“I was shy, quiet and had fairly rubbish social skills, but over the years this organisation has helped me to develop into the person I am today. Thanks to cadets I am now confident, motivated and will take up any challenge that is put before me. I have also gained so many qualifications through cadets, such as a BTEC Level 2, and vital skills that will help me later on life, such as First Aid.”
Sergeant Major Georgia Gunn echoes the sentiments, she says: “If I asked my 12-year-old self, ‘what do you think you will do with your cadet career?’ I would have never have said jumping out of an aeroplane static line at 3500ft
“Jumping was the best feeling ever, it was so much fun. I loved every minute, despite the rough landing. Parachuting is one of the best experiences I’ve had with cadets and I’d advise anyone to have a go.”
Des adds: “Our cadets are offered the chance to learn really good life skills, learning to look after themselves, building confidence and independence, which will stand them in good stead later on.
“It costs just £15 to join one of our Detachments. This pays for the insurance for all activities and we will also loan uniform. The only thing we don’t provide is boots. The only time Cadets have to pay anything is if they go away on weekends with the average cost being £10 all-inclusive.”
The Lancashire ACF’s activities are regularly posted on the group’s Facebook and Twitter pages www.facebook.com/Lancashire-ACF-299407066869745/?fref=ts
For more details call on 01772 717078.