Every week thousands of young people in London turn up full of anticipation for the evenings events at their cadet unit, learning new skills and, most importantly, self-discipline and self-belief.
They attend more than 200 Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Detachments, and RAF Cadet Squadrons based right across the capital, each one dependent on the volunteers who supervise and train the cadets.
From Civilian Instructors to uniformed officers and senior staff at the various Headquarters, these people dedicate their time, effort and skill to help develop tomorrow’s leaders and achievers.
While they work within a military style structure and are supported by the Armed Forces, becoming a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV) doesn’t mean joining the military - CFAVs can’t be called up for service, they are there solely to support young people.
To encourage more people to become adult volunteers in one of the cadet organisations Greater London and South East RFCAs have developed a new website highlighting the opportunities available across London and the South East of England.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer visit http://www.adultvolunteer.org/ Or for a taste of what becoming a CFAV is like read Maggie Czerwinska’s account of her journey from Cadet Mum to a Sergeant in the RAF Cadets:
“I became interested in air cadets after my two teenagers joined 282 (East Ham) Squadron. I would see them looking proud in their uniforms, marching on parade or going away for a weekend exercise, it looked like something I would very much enjoy myself so I decided to get involved.
The longer I spent as a part of the squadron, the more I wanted to become a member of uniformed staff so I decided to apply for a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) position.
As I had no background air cadet experience, I had to learn everything from scratch, including drill, RAF history, current affairs, overall RAF Cadet Structure and of the RAF itself.
My first interview with our senior sector officer was not successful, as my knowledge was not up to scratch. It allowed me to find out what the process was like so my second attempt was much easier and slightly less nerve wrecking.
I am very lucky to have great staff and cadets on the squadron. They helped me learn and practice my drill, trying not to burst out laughing when I did something wrong or forgot the correct command. I had to get over the fear of stepping out in front of cadets who knew drill much better than me, and getting things wrong before I learned to do them properly.
On the day of the drill test I was very nervous, our squadron Warrant Officer accompanied me and I think both of us breathed a sigh of relief when I passed.
More practice and studying followed, with support from a great team of people at 282, I could not do it by myself.
All too quickly the date of my Wing Board interview arrived, I don’t think I was ever as nervous for any job interview.
The 40 minute interview went past very quickly, the 15 minute wait to find out the outcome seemed much longer. Rather than telling me the outcome I was handed an envelope. For couple of seconds I just stared at it, thinking what this actually meant. I looked inside to find my rank slides and realised I was successful.