What’s one thing within the RAFAC that you’re looking forward to in 2021?
Normality or Arms Drill… One of them and I’ll be happy
Being able to get the squadron open for the first time in however many months it’s been. Everything goes from there!
Actually seeing people in person.
It all seems like such a distant memory just now! I can’t wait to get the spark back! Seeing the cadets excited to go away to events, full sign up sheets and maximum participation! It seems as if the idea of VPN’s has lost its novelty!
Being able to open the main gate since March when it closed
Be nice to see actual faces and the whole squadron at once!
Not gonna lie… 2021 feels alot like 2020
Being able to get my Cadets who need it through a proper expedition!
Happy new year everyone!
I think as a collective we need to ignore this comment…
In 2021 we should have a complete redefinition of the Air Cadets, this period is or should be the best chance since 1938, as we aren’t really doing anything much.
But despite ample opportunity HQAC are lacking. They seemed far too hung up on mandatory training, a September return with business as usual hat on, and I’m sure this is what they will expect when we do. We just go back to how it was, but this can’t be the situation. We have moved a long, long way from the first lockdown and period of groups not meeting.
When we restart, numbers will be down and when we do get back I would be surprised if we see much of any cadets in school yr10 and higher. Their education has suffered, which seems to be continuing into the start of 2021, as they prepare for exams this year and next their workloads will increase to make up for lost learning via what seems to be a hotchpotch of in class and online lessons (because they and or their teachers have been off school), which if they are like online meetings and VPNs, not really that effective, given they are subject to variable internet connections / signals if using a phone, for all parties.
Then we have CFAV faced with the prospect of looking for new jobs. I know of 4 CFAV who were furloughed and have since been made redundant. Where are / will their priorities be? Then, as flippantly suggested in another thread, people separating / divorcing, which despite some people’s comments doesn’t mean suddenly becoming free and single again with minimal responsibilities and reverting to a fantasy former adolescent self. I’ve seen too many who act like this and they cut a sad figure. Then there are those CFAV (and cadets) who have just got out of the habit and the idea of 2 nights and various weekends won’t have the same appeal and may have found/developed other interests that aren’t so demanding.
Many will be looking for new committees. Two of our stalwarts have said they won’t be involved anymore.
Like @batfink I’ve been wishing for a ‘purple approach’ at the senior level with a joint management of the 3 cadet organisations, which has the real potential to give a broader range of activity and interest. Would we need 3 different cadet units, who knows? Just have “MoD Cadets” or something similar, utilising all 3 services? Or maybe have “public service cadets” which incorporates the armed forces and emergency services. I feel certain if Cooper had had not taken a self-interest protectionist / isolationist view when DYER came out, we could have had a more vibrant cadet experience, that would have survived better post 2014’s debacle. I think it would be an idea to bring in a proper civilian side to the management (not ex military or civil service) to look for corporate funding and long term move away from the direct military involvement, as this is millstone round the Air Cadets neck, as it’s too inflexible and can’t or doesn’t want to react to situations. I also think the MoD/senior officers despite any rhetoric about cadets, have more important things to be worrying about, than their associated youth organisations.
Do we need to do 2 nights a week? I’ve not been too convinced why we still do this, when given how the world has changed, one night a week, would better suit people’s lives and have the potential for getting more staff. We do it I suspect because of the “we’ve always done it like that” mindset. We have the portal so we don’t really need to tell cadets what’s going on and much of the instruction could be done online. Other youth groups and clubs only do one session a week or less and don’t seem to be adversely affected. I do sense that at times some of the comments on here allude to the 2 nights and weekends are more for staff and the organisation overall than cadets. Especially some activities where doing them within the Air Cadets gives staff a cheap and in some instances paid for excuse to do things.
These past months have been an eye opener for reflection on what we have become, since we effectively lost flying, shooting like much of AT has just turned into an admin fest with no discernible benefit and the RAF shrinking like a wool jumper in a hot wash, means our sponsor cannot offer the support it once did, yet still puts the same demands on the organisation and volunteers. It is safe to say that was it not for the CFAV poking up with the rubbish and lack of central support and still doing the things they can and looking for opportunities over the last 7 years, RAF College Cranwell and various other military establishments could have got some offices and buildings back and Tesco et al some trolley collectors, shelf stackers or security staff.
It would go a long way to improve the organisation if we moved away from the “training for service and civilian life” and just have ‘future life’, without the split reference. The ‘service life’ aspect was only just about relevant in the 70s when I joined, as quite a few cadets wanted to and still joined the Armed Forces (inc reservists), but over the years and now with a smaller and more highly selective armed forces it is even less relevant, yet seems to be a disproportionate part of what we are/do, although I sense this more about CFAV in SNCO uniform building their lives around it, more than anything else. Along with this lose the 12 hours a month as it is completely and utterly meaningless.
If we don’t adapt, evolve or reinvent then we will ebb away as we do not have anything special to offer, anymore. We have become a hybrid of the Army Cadets and Scouts and not doing either particularly well. We are going to need to advertise/recruit and if we don’t have something impactful, fully accessible and attractive to offer at a national level above whatever happens locally, how long can we survive as an organisation? I feel like every intake since late 2014 I have been lying to teenagers and their parents, due to the false hopes emanating from on high. I stopped mentioning flying and gliding in 2017 apart from an over view of opportunities.
It is ironic that the RAF has changed since the first SDR, yet the Air Cadets hasn’t really changed in what it does in 80+ years. Talking to my mates who work in schools, they have seemed to risen to the challenges posed by the last few months, in a really dynamic way, being inventive and adopting new ways of doing things to give the kids the best go at a far from perfect education. We have had to at work as businesses that have kept going or not affected by enforced closures, have had to think quickly from the outset. This way of working is too far away from our leaders who are, fully shackled to the institutionalised, cap doffing, fetlock tugging ‘military way’.
I’m a firm believer (even though its been said it’s not going to happen and having zero insight into what the gods are planning) that we will see the estate review pushed forward whilst the head count is at its probable lowest for many a year so less impact
Yep identical and will remain so for the first 4 months minimum.
Probably come next week with a full corps shut down again.
Anyone thinking they should start planning big exercises, overnights, camps, ATex or similar should see a professional and get some help.
I can see realistically the Corps shrinking in size further. With continued loss of Sqns, CFAVs and cadets.
What am I most looking forward to.
Having the data in approx August 2021 to do a full side by side analysis of the size of the Corps in Feb 2020 vs Aug 2021.
I saw (on SW FA Facebook not seen any actual comms) that HQAC have said to basically not plan any for before the summer
I would be very surprised if we see summer camps. Stations likely still won’t want us.
Getting rid of virtual parade nights… hopefully
Ours stopped a long time ago. Interest died off fairly quickly.
As did ours, but we restarted them in December as we feared we’d return to F2F with 0 cadets
Only so much you can do virtually. I’m really not sure how many cadets we will have when we eventually return F2F. We haven’t had a parade night since before first ceasing of all F2F activities.