Go on. I’ll reduce my anonymity. I was there.
The campsite itself was (IMHO) very well set up. Catering on site (see below for showside) was good and plentiful. Shower/toilet facilities were good, clean (by temporary facility standards), and generally well stocked.
Over the whole event, staff and cadets on the ground (at least, the ones I interacted with) did the best they could to do what was asked of them. I believe RAFCTE were happy with the service provided.
We should probably leave detailed discussion of climatic injuries prevention to the other thread, but (objectively) significant control measures were put in place with easy access to water and juice, plentiful supplies of suncream, the “stargate” (I’m sure there’s a picture somewhere), and access to the bunkers (which stayed pretty cool, even on the 30+ days).
It’s worth saying that the Sunday afternoon was heavily reduced (all cadets not on task were called back at 12:30), and Monday was effectively cancelled at around ~12:00.
The cadets I spoke to (both within my flight, wing, and generally around camp) ultimately had a good time.
While there were injuries (which I feel is to be expected on a camp with this many attendees), I didn’t hear of anything major. I had to visit first aid for a minor issue, which was dealt with quickly and effectively.
I also interacted with the welfare team, who were very helpful.
In general if I asked the right questions of the right DS, I got very helpful responses.
This year has revealed, I think, how dependent on institutional knowledge the camp has been. A lot of staff I spoke to felt that they didn’t know what was expected of them, or exactly what they should be doing for many tasks. I felt thrown in at the deep end, and briefings were lacking detail.
This issue was exacerbated by poor communications. The cadet radio operators got better over camp, but weren’t particularly effective at finding information that was being asked for (e.g. if I asked for clarification on the meeting point for a task, I’d be told the same place that had been given on the briefing screen… which I already know).
Outwith the camp’s control, but there was very poor mobile phone service from Thur-Sun (presumably overloaded). This didn’t help matters.
Cadets had issues charging phones (despite provision of a “charging tent”) and ironing facilities were very limited (I think 4 irons between 1000 personnel). I believe that the incorrect number of generators were supplied, but I may be wrong.
There were definitely command and control issues, with either too many cooks or none. On several occasions I was given conflicting instructions, then being shouted at for following the “wrong” one. Equally, there were times when no-one took charge.
Talking of shouting… there seemed to be a lot of that. Several DS seemed to skip the “suggest” and “request” phases of giving instructions, for no particularly good reason. This was one of the most frequent complaints I heard among staff.
RAFCTE provided packed lunches on show days (Fri-Sun), which were awful. There was a significant logistics issue on the Friday which wasn’t resolved until ~12:30 IIRC. Friday and Saturday meals included items with mould growing on them.
I have heard rumour of theft in cadet tents.
For a number of staff, this will have been their first experience of a RAFAC camp. Indeed, there were several flight commanders who had been staff for < 12 months. I think that showed, a lot, and the DS weren’t really prepared for the level of support that needed to be provided to first time staff.
I had no idea he was at the show, even. I didn’t come across him, and am not aware of anyone that did.
I’ve probably missed bits from all sections, but that’ll do for now.