Parade nights - number of


Probably more paperwork and exams than the rest.


I was an air cadet on a squadron that paraded only once a week (Wednesday’s). The rest of the wing paraded twice a week, we knew that, maybe we were jealous, but that never prevented me progressing to staff cadet or up the cadet ranks, taking part in all the flying, gliding, shooting, camps and other activities on (during the nineties)!

We met some Fridays if the staff had a purpose and we did a lot of weekend camps as a squadron.

As a member of staff I went on to a squadron that met twice a week. I think it was very much, “that’s the way it’s done here” and in hindsight wonder why I didn’t carry across my previous squadrons mantra, except I was probably much younger and keener and glad to do it twice a week.

But I’m pretty sure that squadron that met once a week still won Wing field weekend every year in spite of cadets on the new squadron meeting twice a week and training twice as hard!!

I think with the right focus and structure it didn’t matter particularly to the cadets how often we met. Where we met once a week it in no way hindered our motivation, it didn’t stunt our progress or stifle the activities programme in anyway. As far as I know they still parade weekly and continue to be a strong squadron.

If I returned to command a unit now, it would only be to parade once a week and have greater focus on weekend camps each term.


There is a sqn in my wing that only parades one night a week but they parade for over 3 hours. They are in a very rural location and many for the cadet travel a considerable distance to parade. There is a significant majority where the round trip for parents is an hour. How many parents can do that 4 times a week.

I think it is all about horse for courses, if you live in a large city and the several sqns within a few miles. twice a week is fine. If nearest sqn is 35 miles in one direction and 25 in another then your catchment area will be pretty large.


It’s certainly sufficient for our Sqn, who seem to excel in most of what they do at Wing Level.


I think that’s probably us :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Alright fella, we have all done stuff.


[quote=“RearAdmiralScrinson, post:19, topic:3335, full:true”]
Once a week is a token effort. And is not sufficient. Especially if you want to take it seriously.

Back on topic but one night a week limits activites, and if the kids can’t make one, they can make the other.[/quote]
So how do you account for the Scouting movement which has been going for a while longer than the ATC (which only came into being to gap fill training for recruits in wartime) where groups only meet once a week? You don’t see evidence of a lack of opportunity or success.
WRT to youth sports, it’s only when they get a sniff at glory might they do more.

As for one night a week limiting activities and make one or the other night, if you only did one night a week they’d either join or not, dependent on their availability. The ATC tries to do too much in some ways and even on the most organised / staffed sqns it goes awry.

Successful sporty youngsters will only train more as they ascend the rankings. Our youngest daughter was a county runner and trained more often, our son wasn’t and didn’t do extra. I had 3 mates at school who were county and regional swimmers and were at the pool 3 times a week at 5.30am and 2 nights at 8pm. But these are unlikely to be in the ATC or other things which puts demands on their time.


My local ACF det tried 1 night of cadet training, and one night of staff admin.

An interesting idea, but I’ve no idea what the result was!


I dare say but you’re suggesting that 1 parade is not sufficient which is clearly not the case with us.


I suggested that 1 night a week for martial arts was not sufficient.

Parade nights, have as many as you want. I see benefits for both.


When I was a cadet the Squadron was open 4 days a week, 2 normal parade nights, Rifle Drill team and Band on seperate extra nights.

Almost all the NCO’s did 3 nights a week.


Thousand apologies - we were at cross purposes


Most squadrons with bands do extra for band practice and we used to do extra nights for rifle drill squad training, mainly in the run up to competitions and displays.

Parading two nights a week

Interesting that this question is being raised elsewhere.

The only reason I can see for two nights is “we’ve always done it like that”. This however is a recipe for disaster. Keep on doing things just because you’ve always done it that way is not really a reason.

I never really understood or had it explained where the 12 hours/month came from, as we are not employed, not salaried and have no contract to enforce the 12 hours rule. Also the 12 hours rule only applies to uniformed staff. Like so many things it seems it’s a club rule and we just blindingly just go along with it and not question it.

Back in the early days ADCC/ATC IIRC my uncle (member when the ADCC changed to ATC) said they used to meet once a week and spend every other weekend at the local RAF airfield. They couldn’t do more than one night as there were 140 of them on the squadron and were split into 3 flights. They did all the training they had to and he said the staff used to be assigned to a flight, apart from the CO.

The organisation seems to do far more things at the weekend than I remember as a cadet and I did a lot of sport for the Corps, which meant doing things at the weekend. But there wasn’t all the training/courses that staff do or training/courses for cadets. We did the occasional AT thing at the weekend and in the football season a crowd of us would meet up for a kick around on a Sunday morning.

When I posed this a few weeks ago, the main message seemed to be “we’ve always done it like that”, so only a historic precedent and there’s so much to get done, which begs the question why do we (or more correctly HQAC) seem to think we need to do so much?

There is a lot of white noise emanating from the top about valuing volunteers, maybe the one way to value them is to reduce the time burden. Make it so there is only the need to do one night a week. Today there are so many shared buildings, doing one night would make those arrangements far, far easier.

Adults seem to have much busier lives now and the cadets seem to be under constant pressure from school, that maybe one night a week, would make the organisation more attractive generally to adults and parents. Although probably not wanted when they are looking to cut costs.


[quote=“Teflon, post:34, topic:3335”]
Like so many things it seems it’s a club rule and we just blindingly just go along with it and not question it.[/quote]

Although we do “blindly go along with it” it is also accepted it is not difficult to achieve.
Most uniformed CFAVs will either have been a Cadet or CI prior to Uniform commitment.
As a Cadet turning up twice a week and the odd weekend is not unusual to continue doing as Staff.
As there is an expectation that a period as a CI is the norm (in most cases) prior to uniform then committing twice a week and the odd weekend is also not difficult to accept – and as those CIs looking for a uniform position wish to appear “keen” then they are likely to approach with a “maximum involvement”.

Completing 12 hours is not difficult. On the assumption the evening is 1900-2130 it only takes 5 evenings to complete, one night over 50% attendance which does not seem unreasonable.

However break this down: if ~50% attendance gets the 12 hours done – why have double that number by parading twice a week?
On the one hand this gives reason to cut down to one evening a week > if we can achieve the HQAC expected minimum with one evening a week why bust a gut to attend/run a parade night twice a week?
On the other hand it is seen as a minimum which is easily achievable, and done so purposely. The line in the sand set so “low” that the majority of Staff can achieve this without noticing it and only those who are showing very little commitment can be deemed as “not achieving”


If you are running a full and diverse training programme I just don’t see how you fit it all in to 1 night a week. We struggle with 2 and are looking at opening up an extra night per fortnight just to run the range for those who want to shoot of an evening. If we went down to 1 night a week the syllabus training would either have to be run every night for months or would go on all year round, not sure that would help with retention!


Just because there is 2 nights. Doesn’t mean the kids need to go to both.

It’s not a big deal. Some sqns do 2 nights. Some do 1.

If you can see the benefit of adding a night, go for it. If you can see the benefit of decreasing a night, go for it.

It’s not rocket science.


I have cadets who can only do 1 night a week, if I cut the unit to 1 night a week I’d end up losing them completely. It’s a nuisance Babi g cadets who aren’t about every night but inevitably one of the 2 commitments will “win” and traditionally it will be the ATC in my experience.


Our unit will be moving to 1 parade night a week during the Summer holidays for 2018 due to traditionally low cadet attendance and to give the staff a break but an expansion of that idea was entertained. I can see pros and cons for both arguments but my concern has been staff burnout which makes the proposal more attractive.

Yes, we’re here for the cadets first and foremost, but if we haven’t the staff to provide the opportunities then the overall cadet experience suffers as a result.


As mentioned already, we manage it fine.