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NORTHERN LIGHTS TURN NAV & EXPED WEEKEND PINK

With the overlap between the ACF syllabus and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, such weekends show just how much can be achieved in a short space of time – and how amazing the natural world is!

NORTHERN LIGHTS TURN NAV & EXPED WEEKEND PINK

15 May 2024

  • Hereford And Worcester ACF

When you venture out into the wild you never know what you're going to see!

On the weekend of 10-12 May, Hereford & Worcester ACF held a navigation and expedition extravaganza at our training centre at Tiddesley Wood, Besford, near Pershore.

Taking part were 40 cadets from across our three companies – Alamein, Gheluvelt and Inkerman – with expeditionary activities and training across the Two- and Three-Star navigation and expedition syllabuses. But the weekend also included a DofE drop-in session run by County DofE Officer Captain Jules Johnson for any cadets who needed specific pieces of training to progress them in their DofE journeys.

As the pictures below display, there was plenty of fun to be had, but that wasn’t all!

Our cadets also had the unique experience of witnessing the Northern Lights while out on the ground. The result of “excited” oxygen atoms in high-latitude regions, this so-called aurora borealis results in a rosy pink and luminous green sky that has captivated explorers, scientists, and photographers for decades. As the pictures taken by County First Aid Training Officer Lieutenant Geraldine Miller show, this was an incredible way to see the great outdoors.

Commenting, Captain Jo Huck, Hereford & Worcester ACF navigation and expedition officer, said the weekend had been a great experience:

"This was a fantastic weekend, and I'm pleased to report that all the participating cadets achieved their respective Navigation ACS star levels," she said.

"It was good to see the sun, as that definitely kept the cadets' sprits up as they navigated Bredon Hill and the Malvern Hills. In the case of our 3-Stars, they did this at night, so had the opportunity to practice finding their bearings in the dark! Thankfully, the thunderstorms held off until after final Parade!

"Well done to all the cadets, and a massive thank you to all the CFAVS who gave up their time to ensure the event was a success and the cadets were safe. They too enjoyed the sun and the opportunity to stretch their legs!"

WHAT IS THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD?

Set up in 1952 by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth programme for children and young adults aged 14 to 24.

Today it is widely recognised by employers as an instant character reference: young people undertaking one of the scheme’s Awards are widely regarded as dedicated, public-spirited, and resilient – something every career requires.

But DofE isn’t just about job prospects, though it certainly helps.

Whatever they do in life, it’s there to help young people discover the impact that an open mind, an enterprising spirit, and a selfless outlook, can have not only on themselves, but on others too. Those founding principles make it one of the most successful – if not the most successful – youth programme in the world.

There are three DofE Awards: Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and each has specific requirements for a physical activity, a new skill, volunteering in the community, and an expedition.

Luckily for our cadets, there is a huge overlap between the ACF's own syllabus and the DofE's Award requirement. The ACF Two-Star expedition, for instance, can be used as part of the Bronze Award, while the Three-Star expedition can be used as the practice expedition in the Silver Award.

If you or your child is interested in getting involved, speak to the staff at their detachment. Several of our most experienced instructors are also accredited DofE champions, and many more have undergone the necessary training to make them DofE leaders. This means they are trained to record and submit evidence of activity completions to the central DofE hub.

DofE AND THE ACF: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

My child has been offered DofE at school. Which should I choose?

Regardless of the entry point, signing up to participate in DofE is a great undertaking. But we believe doing an Award through the ACF also comes with some specific advantages:

  1. Cost: as many DofE activities already fall under the perimeter of the MOD-approved ACF syllabus, we are able to offer the scheme to cadets at a discount – and often a substantial one;
  2. Kit: while you may need to provide your child with some items, lots of the equipment they will need is already in our stores waiting to be issued to them!
  3. Expertise: the ACF’s instructors are already trained in navigation and expedition, and many have experience of running outdoor and community events for the ACF;

Is DofE a "military" activity?

No. As a civilian scheme offered within the ACF, military uniform is not required. But safety is also paramount. We ask cadets to wear durable outdoor civilian clothing so they can be seen from a distance by supervising staff. Your child will also be issued with a hi-viz vest.

How can I support my child through DofE?

Your support and encouragement is hugely appreciated. Don’t forget, though, that DofE encourages young people to discover their independence and inner motivation. It’s up to them to demonstrate what they can do! If you or your child have any questions or concerns get in touch with their detachment staff, who will be happy to assist.

It was good to see the sun, as that definitely kept the cadets' sprits up as they navigated Breadon Hill and the Malvern Hills. In the case of our 3-Stars, they did this at night, so had the opportunity to practice finding their bearings in the dark!

Capt Jo Huck, County Navigation & Expedition Officer, Hereford & Worcester ACF
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    Handrailing the road...

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    Having a rest...

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    Happy faces...

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    Bridging the gap...

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    Lunchtime!

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    Trekking in the sunshine...

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    Trekking in the sunshine...

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    Thumbs up...

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    Sgt Banks leads by example...

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    Yellow and green!

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    Trekking in the sunshine...

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    "The map definitely said it was this way..."

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    Time for a quick rest...

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    Happy faces...

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    Happy faces...

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    Time for a quick rest...

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    A bit of teamwork...

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    Capt Johnson's DofE drop-in...

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    Night nav!

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    Night nav!

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    Red and green...

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    The crowning picture of a great weekend

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    The Northern Lights

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    The Northern Lights

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    The Northern Lights

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    The Northern Lights

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