2019 Summer Camp


#1

Hi all, trying to scope the opinion of all in regard to the best possible Summer Camp experiences as the current ACLO at a Northern England base.

We have a strong team, and myself and the DACLO have spent the last month or so putting together a programme that is as far removed from PowerPoint as possible.

Stn Cdr very supportive and we have tailored a few of the ‘visits’ to be much more hands on and I think the camp holds potential to be as rewarding and fun as the ones i remember from 20 years ago.

I can’t change the accommodation, I can’t change the feeding arrangements, but we can deliver fun and interactive stands.

My concern is that the effort we are expending as a Station is knitted with the aspirations of the perspective Training Officers. The last thing we would want is wholesale change to a program at the eleventh hour.

So I’m hoping to hear from all with regard to what stands and what activities are the most rewarding. What visits really become run of the mill and start to grate…

I am going for a 24 hour rat pack field craft day and night ex, a STEM day, an Ops day (complete with marshalling our aircraft!), a Force Protection day including a mini battle fitness test with the Regt and a leadership day … all topped off with a selfie down the main runway on the Friday evening before Camp awards.

Stn Cdr wants us to go for a static vs on the step drill comp, and the SWO will participate to help bring it together.

We can’t support live shooting, but will be supporting synthetic shooting in the dismounted close combat trainer with the in service SA80s.

We are receptive to changing things … or general enthusiasm.

Will keep a listening watch!


#2

Brilliant that you’re asking and keen for input - wish more stations were as proactive (I know lots will be keen to give a good account of themselves, but haven’t seen this kind of approach before).

Can’t speak to what I’d want as camp staff, as I don’t have much experience that end, but speaking as an ex-cadet who had some great camps (Marham, Coltishall, Kinloss), and some dross camps (Sealand, I’m looking at you), I know what I liked seeing there.

I was interested in a career in the RAF and was lucky enough to later do it. What I wanted while on station was to see a ‘day in the life of’. I wanted to know what people in various sections got up to on a day to day basis. And the prospect (however remote!) of a flight in something other than a Tutor always caught the eye.

Best of luck.


#3

Work experience is always a good one along with some AEF if your local one will facilitate, if not and you are on a flying station with access to heavy lift assets then that always goes down a treat.


#4

It’s incredibly difficult to get the guys up in our jets … and the tutors are tasked to the scheduled flying task, so unless we bump up staff numbers (become dual qualified to help the AEF out when we are not flying) we can’t request another Tutor to maximise flying opportunities.

I think the work experience is worth exploring. I know I’ve had a couple of offers, but the sad reality is a 60/40 nowadays of admin churn to a 40% high end output. It’s difficult to capture that in a morning snapshot.

Thanks for the input, keep it coming!


#5

If a jet opportunity is avaliable for the best cadet on the camp is a real competition builder… this was the situation at valley and added that extra level of competitivness to the camp


#6

Most importantly, brilliant job for asking and even more points for asking on a Saturday!

Flying stations in Northern England aren’t that common, so I’ll take a punt - could you have a chat with 5 Regt Royal Artillery at Marne Bks to see if they could provide a section visit/tour? As well as being interesting and worthwhile, the work there is very stem focused…

Again, assuming I’ve got your location correct, could you enable (or do some sniffing about for) live shooting at Catterick - whether on the barracks ranges or, much more interestingly, up on the training area?

Well done for asking, whatever the results, you’ve no idea what it means to Sqn staff…

@OldNewbie - I went to Sealand as well. I feel your dispair…


#7

Arranged activities notwithstanding, we’re all grown up enough and a number been to enough camps to know plans are at best written in sand, despite the best efforts of people beforehand.
Ensure that for off-site visits there is MT, removing the need for what will be a small group of staff to do lots of driving and if it’s minibuses inevitably doing shuttle runs.
Up to date contact lists including changes if people are on leave or elsewhere. Having been TO, having to try and phone people who aren’t there or even better not been there for a year and whoever it is no idea what you are talking about is frustrating.
Don’t promise for any of the ACLO team to be around, I’ve experienced this and it works fine until 0800 Monday.
Try to make sure that Saturday and more so Sunday aren’t dead time and similarly Friday after lunch. There should be a “cultural” day off site, but not Sunday.
I also feel trying to feel every waking hour with something defeats the object of camp. In my day after tea was essentially downtime to do kit, go to the “NAAFI” shop, just d or have a kick around. Too many times over the years the whole day has become filled, which impacts on staff as much as the cadets.
It is quite telling in a bad way that AEF can’t be assured, although this has crept in more and more recently at camp, where AEF is now a bonus activity, like it has become anyway. AEF was always a feature of annual camp that nothing can fill.


#8

Make sure camp photo is first thing monday and sunday is not best blues…or the photo if later in the week will contain food stains!


#9

Just wanted to address a few sentences and see what you think -

plans are at best written in sand, despite the best efforts of people beforehand.

  • shouldn’t stop me having the team come up with as best a plan as they can around their primary duties. I know most of our visits are bespoke for this Summer, deliberately to support a more interactive and inclusive approach. We can’t cater for ilness. But there’s little substitute for early planning and coordination.

Ensure that for off-site visits there is MT, removing the need for what will be a small group of staff to do lots of driving and if it’s minibuses inevitably doing shuttle runs.

  • this is barely possible for regular staff, I often have to self drive to the sim in North Wales, or drive a one way hire to pick up stranded fellow aircrew stuck down route. There aren’t the available drivers to dedicate them. The compromise is that we strive to provide MT and a plus is being able to go off base, even that is an ongoing battle!

Up to date contact lists including changes if people are on leave or elsewhere. Having been TO, having to try and phone people who aren’t there or even better not been there for a year and whoever it is no idea what you are talking about is frustrating.

  • I can empathise with this. In the Admin Order will be that the full ACLO team are in the leadership what’s app group, and I have 4 sections primed, but not allocated, to step in to deliver something as a backup.

Don’t promise for any of the ACLO team to be around, I’ve experienced this and it works fine until 0800 Monday.

  • I think this opinion/observation is likely borne of a bad experience. But the job of the ACLO is to recruit a team as the Summer approaches, in order that when we are pulled by primary duty, a representative of the team is always on hand. To have no one isn’t acceptable, but always having the ACLO rather than one of his/her team is quite a level of expectation that would be very difficult to meet.

Try to make sure that Saturday and more so Sunday aren’t dead time and similarly Friday after lunch. There should be a “cultural” day off site, but not Sunday.

  • camp arrivals for us will be Sunday, camp com Saturday for accommodation handover and takeover. This will talk to your point I think. The base, much like 95% of other bases, becomes a sleepy hollow on most non exercise or non contingent support/readiness weekends.

I also feel trying to feel every waking hour with something defeats the object of camp. In my day after tea was essentially downtime to do kit, go to the “NAAFI” shop, just d or have a kick around. Too many times over the years the whole day has become filled, which impacts on staff as much as the cadets.

  • I have worked closely with the Stn Cdr and the Community team on a program that promotes inclusion and interaction… deliberately keeping the Cadets moving and seeing a vibrant, busy, diverse Station. I provide a social room for post evening meal and over lunchtime, so what the com chooses to do with that period is up to him, but whilst it is working hours I would like to show off the base and involve the Cadets on Camp with what is being delivered on a daily basis.

It is quite telling in a bad way that AEF can’t be assured, although this has crept in more and more recently at camp, where AEF is now a bonus activity, like it has become anyway. AEF was always a feature of annual camp that nothing can fill.

  • out of my hands, as the ACLO I have minimal oversight on the AEF allocations. But as I mentioned … I am offering to fly a second type along with a colleague on the Sqn to try and get this on the program for the Cadets. I can’t do much more than that I don’t think.

Really appreciate your message thank you


#10

Absolutely! 0930 shutter snap by the Photog on Monday morning!


#11

Shooting is such a difficult thing for us to plan into the serials week to week as a Stn. Approaching Catterick is an option if something falls out, much like swimming competencies … I know how much the opportunity means, but I’m hoping to bridge the high tariff resource expenditure by giving the DCCT over for Cadets to shoot in a controlled scenario under the watch of the Regt.


#12

Jet opportunities are very difficult now, even more so after pax flying was looked at in 1 Group early last year. Certainly will be trying but it’s a very difficult one I’m afraid. Times have changed from when I was a cadet and got up in a Jaguar at Coltishall!


#13

i crashed at Coltishall once. shows you how much more exciting the ATC used to be!


#14

I remember cadets at Colishall spraying aircraft for GW1 in pink as the riggers taped the aircraft up.


#15

Having experienced annual camps as both a cadet and staff member, and also seeing a few run while I was in the Army, I’ve always considered anything “hands on” is better than standing around being talked at or shown something you cant touch.

Another idea would be to get hold of the Wings that are visiting to see if they’ve selected their Camp Comdt yet and speak with them, I know I’d appreciate a heads up well in advance of what’s on offer.

I agree completely with a previous post about not doing activities after evening meal, you definitely need the time to allow the cadets and staff to sort kit and wind down.


#16

I have an arrival day quiz in the evening… something of an ice breaker hosted by a regular.

And bowling on another evening. Other than that it’s time is your own after evening meal. I will provide a sports pack up and a room to relax in away from accn but I won’t be putting formal serials on for it.

I will proceed with the Wings direct yes, thanks.

I know 5 (L&SE) of the 6 wings but waiting for confirmation of the last one.


#17

Another item we did on our last camp was to devise a familiarisation exercise to allow cadets to find out where specific locations are and areas they couldn’t go near. This of course depends upon the Station and what’s on it, works well on small stations such as St Mawgan but wouldn’t on a busier, larger station such as Northolt where staff are better marching the cadets about to show them places.


#18

FAMEX on the saturday evening/sundays morning are good. Mainly as normally there arent too many people about that you can upset.

Again location is key. Wouldnt leave cadets to wonder around high wycombe by themselves due to the fact theres more scrambled egg on peaks than there is in the mess


#19

The FAMEX used to be standard practice when arriving at the camp either the first night or Sunday morning

I remember being at your station and going to dish forth for visits to the AAC or chinooks were being used at catterick a flight was arranged for the camp.


#20

my thoughts exactly.

issue rooms to the Cadets, split them into their flights and set them off on their FAMEX - gives Staff an hour or so to do their own famex for the week.