London Beacons 2019

 

Cadets from London Wing RAF Air Cadet squadrons travelled to South Wales for an action packed adventure training camp. The main aims were to complete various sections of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (a nationally recognised award that covers various disciplines and skill based areas) and undertake adventure based activities.

The summer period is always a popular one for many air cadets, as it’s a chance to venture out into the great British countryside and national parks to undertake activities that will challenge themselves and push them out of their comfort zone. Cadets love it!

Expedition London Beacons took cadets from East London to the beautifully scenic hills of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, where they were to spend 7 nights of their summer holidays. Cadets form inner-city squadrons have very few chances to venture out to the various national parks around the UK, with many never travelling past the M25! This was a brilliant opportunity for many.

Most cadets undertook a few days of expedition/hiking across the Beacons/Black Mountains, completing various levels of their Duke of Edinburgh award. This is most certainly a highlight in the cadets calendar as they get to make new friends, make fantastic memories and learn brilliant skills.

The Duke of Edinburgh expeditions can be challenging as cadets trek a considerable amount of miles across arduous terrain in different weather systems. So much is gained form these expeditions, from teamwork and leadership skills, to confidence and self-reliance. A huge benefit to young people.

Following the expeditions, cadets had the opportunity to undertake other adventurous training activities to further boost their confidence and encourage them to go beyond their comfort zone.

Gorge walking is an activity that definitely encourages cadets to push themselves, especially when it comes to jumping at heights. Cadets made their way through challenging rivers and white water to reach the end point, whilst supporting each other through tight crevices and holes in rocks. Many cadets were challenged on this activity as the fast flowing water pushes your adrenaline levels up and can make the individual feel uncomfortable. Cadets really had to support each other through this!

The last day was a unique one, as cadets had the chance to do activities they definitely didn’t think they would do here in the UK – Bodyboarding.

It was an unusually warm summers day and all were at the beach! Cadets were guided through safety precautions and handed their body board. Off to catch some waves..

Cadets absolutely loved this activity as they’d never thought they would be out in the sun at a British beach having lots of fun. Helping each other through the big waves, they guided each other to the right waves, riding the surf back to the beach. Cadets were laughing and smiling when on top of the waves, overtaking their team members racing to reach the coast first.

The benefits to cadets who were on this particular expedition was huge. Its not often inner-city kids get the chance to venture out of the ‘big smoke’, let alone take part in adventurous activities around the UK’s amazing coastline. The sense of achievement and satisfaction when cadets have reached a peak, jumped from a height into a pool of water, catching a wave on a body board, or completing an arduous walk over difficult terrain, when they have never done that activity before is high and so rewarding. All the activities presented various challenges for each individual and all of them overcame the difficulties that were presented.

Overall, the expedition had an impact on the units. They have encouraged young people to take up adventure training courses, given them to willpower to ‘get out there’ and achieve, support each other through adversity, and to encourage each other to do good. In the long-run, the activities undertaken will help boost recruitment and show young people that the RAF Air Cadets is #noordinaryhobby

Cadet Flight Sergeant Nicolas Amakye commented after completing his expedition,

“I always enjoy being in the great outdoors. The week has opened my eyes to whats on offer in our amazing country and what we can achieve as a team. It has been a hard and challenging few days, but teamwork is important and I have made some amazing friends that I will cherish for life.”

The squadrons would like to thank the Ulysses Trust and RAF Charitable Trust for their support on this expedition. Without it, cadets wouldn’t have been able to undertake these activities and gain so many life skills.

The Ulysses Trust also wish to thank the generosity of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust for supporting this expedition. www.rafct.com

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With thanks to:

Ulysses Trust

In partnership with:

RAF Charitable Trust

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