This is a moronic line espoused by HQAC every so often.
I know you’ve said in the ideal world, which says it won’t happen, well not unless making the Air Cadets more niche than it already is, isn’t the plan.
However HQAC don’t understand the volunteer staff or the cadets or more correctly parents.
The question to ask is how far do people travel for their kicks?
When it comes to youngsters how far are parents prepared to drive two evenings a week and weekends? As a parent you would need to be doing something specialist and lots of it to make a drive of more than 4/5 miles worth the effort, as much beyond that there is little point in driving home. Our kids used to get invited to a ‘playcentre’ for parties about 8 miles away for a 2 hour party. But it was a 20 minute drive there and 20 minute drive back, although this was only if the roads played ball, so we never used to drive home, you’d sit indoors for about 40 minutes before setting out again and then there is the fuel cost. Luckily the centre (which still exists) was near a then new retail park, you could skulk around the shops for an hour or so. Contrast to the average cadet hut in the middle of town that has shut by 5pm.
How far are staff really prepared to drive two nights a week and weekends? Having been on a squadron that was c.16 miles one way, no more than a quarter of that is really practical for all circumstances.
@bob is right that there is a massive need in cities to provide a positive non-school experience, however it’s not about numbers. If you are giving10 to 20 youngsters a positive experience this is a good thing and probably better in many ways than a lot, as they are getting more attention and not just part of the middling crowd. But I think the thing the Air Cadets needs to dispel is the nice white, affluent image, which if you move away from areas of deprivation, won’t happen. The town we are based in has the full gamut of ethnicity, but we only get white kids and only white kids from “nice homes”.