I am taking the opportunity to try to achieve several goals in this letter intended to be posted on our Squadron’s website and Facebook page.
Firstly it is a quick explanation as to why no news updates have been posted for a whole year. The Squadron has had a fantastic year achieving many of its goals, attending great events and continuing to deliver the “Air Cadet Experience” for its members. Why no news updates then?
Secondly it’s a thank you to the staff, cadets, parents and civilian Committee who work so hard for the young people who are part of the Squadron.
Finally it’s an invite for anyone who may find themselves wanting to get involved!
The reason for the lack of news is simple. In March 2016 I suffered a serious medical and health issue. I am not an unfit person and the issue was not self-induced (not looking for sympathy here) but it did mean I was away from the Squadron for over a month and then underwent a long road of recovery. Even now (March 2017) I still have a mental block on achieving various things that should be happening, including updating our media reports! Like the very vast majority of staff within all cadet forces I am a volunteer. Like my comrades I spent countless hours working to ensure the young teenagers in the Air Cadets have a great time, enjoying, self-improving and learning. I get my rewards for this volunteering effort in the satisfaction of seeing the positive it does. Being part of a thriving youth organisation is an incredible thrill. I have learned many skills including marksmanship skills, First Aid (I now tutor first aid), I have become an expedition leader, a risk assessor, qualified for a nationally recognised award in leadership and management to name just some of the tangible benefits. If I was inclined to I could also add sports qualifications such as coaching and refereeing, canoeing and kayaking qualifications, archery, climbing, plus many others. All provided and usually paid for by the Air Cadets funds. Hey, I am still young! Plenty of time yet! A year after the issue I am still learning new tricks and still as committed to the Air Cadets as ever.
I really need to thank the two volunteer staff on the Squadron who immediately after my issue stepped up and seamlessly took over the running of the Squadron. We make a good team. They continued doing what they do always, offering support, training and arranging rewarding and fun activities for the cadets but also took over my duties ensuring all the paperwork, responsibilities and governance were still in place. The parents were also very supportive, understanding the issues and encouraging their children to participate in all the opportunities, offering lifts when needed and attending fund raising events ensuring our Squadron was kept up to date with what it needed to maintain its goals. The cadets were brilliant. They kept up attendance even though some of the activities the Squadron usually took part in were not available whilst I recovered. We maintain our numbers constantly ensuring our Squadron has “busy” Parade Nights where cadets can socially mix and make friends with many other young people. Finally our Civilian Committee were always on hand to advise, support and help where ever possible. The committee is made up of parents and other interested people who meet usually monthly to discuss the Squadrons needs and welfare of the cadets and staff. They constantly monitor the non-public money the Squadron needs and help decide on what the Squadron should have, committing effort themselves to fund raise to those goals. All of the committee volunteer!
Excuses made, thanks offered. My final motive. Our Squadron at time of writing has three members of staff which is a barest minimum we should have for a Squadron our size. We would love to have more people involved in our team. There are pages of reasons why people should volunteer and the rewards. I am an Officer with a real Queens’s commission. It’s one route. It’s always a privilege and a thrill to put on the uniform. You may prefer to consider the Adult NCO (non commissioned officer, i.e. sergeants and corporals) route. There are differences within the roles of Officer and NCO, and most people see themselves as one or the other if they are considering a uniformed role. We can help you decide which one is right for you or advise you on a progression path to achieve your goals at least! However the vast majority of staff who volunteer to play a part in the Air Cadets are Civilian Instructors. Some have just one skill they want to offer. It might be as a band leader (we are trying to start a band). Might be as a radio enthusiast, (some of our academic syllabus is radio communications). A lot offer their vocational expertise as much of our academic syllabus we offer cadets is technical based like engines, airframes etc. Many staff are ex forces who still want to offer their services and skills.
However we usually find something for everyone to help with. It’s amazing what you can discover about yourself when you join! We can offer tuition in skills you need and support to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed or lost on the path you see yourself following. Any age, (over 20), either sex, and of course we have a diversity policy ensuring whoever you are we will welcome your involvement. Safety of the cadets and staff is our priority so all adult volunteers have to have DBS clearance (the new CRB checks). Some activities and uniformed service also need security clearance which, like the DBS check, is simple and free of course. If you don’t have the time or inclination to join as a staff member you can still help us by considering being part of our civilian Committee.
Make a move. Contact me using the Contact Us form on our website.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Brian Keerie, Officer Commanding Cromer Air Cadets.
(This post will be back dated to March 2016 so it appears in the right order with the news posts for 2016 which are being posted shortly.. It was written in March 2017)