it is what i enjoy and know.
i’ve been kicking around for 20 years in the organisation, i’ve been doing it longer than I haven’t if that makes sense? (ie more than 50% of my life I’ve been involved with the ATC)
Having started as a teenager i thoroughly enjoyed myself, when it came to aging out i enjoyed it too much to simply walk away as many of my friends did, and had already been deemed medically unfit for any Military service, and so thrilled when i was invited to be a staff member.
in my time i have picked up a few qualifications, some of them (potentially) useful in civilian life (BEL, FAAW, D1) but the biggest draw for me has to be the very many friends I have made along the way, many CFAVs are “colleagues”, but a good number are friends.
I have been to at least 6 weddings of CFAVs, at least 4 stag dos (and invited to many more), attended 2 funerals of CFAVs, i have been to towns and cities i simply wouldn’t otherwise visit to meet up with friends made on camps and courses.
At my own wedding of the 6 tables, two of those were my friends and both had CFAVs seated on them.
why do i stay?
i enjoy it.
i enjoy teaching, instructing and passing on my knowledge and experience to Cadets, some of that knowledge they can’t get so readily elsewhere.
I enjoy seeing that Cadet’s face split in two when something great happens, be it their first flight, when they find out they passed a WHT, or another experience that smile and often “thanks Sir” reminds me I am making a difference.
the Cadets seem to like me and how I get involved; they are not put off by the events i organise and coordinate, be that a day trip to an airshow or aviation museum or a day walk practising map reading skills all typically well attended and often “when are we doing this again sir?”
i enjoying spending my time with those who have a shared interest, and as some of those are Cadets I enjoy the fact that they can learn from me.
to ask the opposite question, why don’t i leave?
I would miss it.
i would have to do something else as i don’t like sitting still. I’d end up joining the scouts or a local gliding club or something to get that same kick.
if i did nothing i would probably end up putting on weight as i sat in front of the idiot box like a couch potato each evening.
critically i wouldn’t see my friends as often, i am sure we all know Staff who have taken a break, stepped back a bit, or left completely who we don’t see anymore and are left with updates on Facebook to find out how they are doing, what their bank holiday plans are (were) and how the kids are getting on.
I attend RIAT year after year and have definitely made friends for life. Some are in the next County/Wing to me, others the opposite ends of the Country, for many Facebook is the way to stay in touch, while the odd few the effort is made to find the excuse to meet up, more often than not most each July we get together again and it is like the last 11 months apart was 11 hours.