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With camp having been running for a few days, everyone is getting used to the format of the lesson and are now Zoom pros. It's been a day of fun silliness, mixed in with the lessons at Virtual Annual Camp.


31 July 2020

  • Essex ACF

For the first lesson of the day, the basic cadets had an introduction to shooting lesson with 2Lt Boslem, the County Shooting Officer. He began with running through all of the weapons the cadets will have the opportunity to use throughout their cadet career. He then went on to explain the various different shooting competitions available to cadets. Also the additional benefits of shooting, of how it teaches control and discipline and can be used as a D of E skill. The lesson included a quiz on what they learned about the weapons they will be likely to use and the order they will use them.

Running concurrently to the basic shooting lesson was star two PT, from County Sports Officer SMI Freeman. The 16 cadets were joined by the PRO and an additional guest who also took part in the test. Cadet Sgt carter did demos for all of the activities, which included trunk curls, Bailey bridges and press ups. The County Sports Officer's critiqued the cadets from the video feed and the cadets announced their scores to the events. Some very impressive scores were achieved and there was an opportunity for second attempts in which everyone improved. Due to the lovely warm weather most cadets were taking part from their gardens, making sure to have extra water on hand because of the heat. Remember that special guest that was mentioned? The PRO was also taking part from his garden doing the activities whilst the Newshound was enjoy some sunshine in the garden. When it came time for the Bailey bridges, the only thing on hand for the PRO to use was a dog toy. Obviously the Newshound took this as an invitation to play which meant it became part Bailey bridge and part tug of war which made it an even more intense workout for the PRO. The Newshound continued to participate in the lessons much to the amusement of all involved. Afterward the County Training Officer suggested that the Newshound should be allowed to pass the star two PT test.

Straight after that lesson, the County Sports Officer did it all again. This time with a star one PT test, but without the entertainment of the PRO and Newshound.

The next lesson with a Junior Cadet Instructor Cadre with Major Girvan the County Chief Instructor. However, news travels fast, and before the lesson began Major Girvan shared his screen with his dog which then prompted the other cadet’s dogs in the rooms to say hello. Down to the serious part and when the lesson began in earnest the cadets learned how to teach a lesson themselves to other cadets. The afternoon session was to be a practical demonstration, where each of the cadets were to give a 3 minute lesson on a subject chosen from the list. The recent pineapple on pizza debate across our social media steams, sparked by the cadet cooking competition has become a hot topic. With our Colonel leading the no camp and RSM Lightfoot of CTC Frimley Park heading up the yes camp. With all of the hype surrounding the jovial debate “should pineapple be on pizza?” Was one of the topics the cadets could choose for their presentation.

In the afternoon, with very little preparation time over lunch the cadets came back to give their lessons. Despite how popular the pineapple debate has been over the social media streams, the most popular subject was a different one. Three cadets all gave interesting and detailed presentations on why you shouldn’t use your phone directly before going to bed. Clearly all well researched during the short time frame, with information on the harmful side effects of blue light on mobile phones and tips on how to counteract this. Despite the popularity of the mobile phone topic, of course someone had to do the pineapple on pizza. L/Cpl Howe gave a brief but succinct speech on why he believes pineapple shouldn’t be on pizza. His main point is that being a fruit, it didn’t belong on a savoury food which made it a strange combination. Speaking of other strange combination he said “you wouldn’t put marmite on a burger or apple, strawberries or banana on pizza, so why pineapple?”. When he opened the discussion up to the other participants the Padre said “you wouldn’t put tomato in a fruit salad, but it is technically a fruit”. SSI Carter, one of the main advocates in the social media backed up her stance, reminiscing about cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks at parties. After all of the talk of pizza, it enticed SSI Carter to have a Hawaiian pizza for her dinner.

A military knowledge lesson was led by Cdt Sgt Allen. The theme of the lesson was the County Orbat, or Order of Battle (The military way of saying who's who). The presentation spoke about the senior leadership team. The lesson was well attended despite the blistering heat and it was refreshing to see how good at instructing our Cadet NCO's are, something for the cadets of the previous JCIC lesson to aspire to become.

The Introduction to Signals lesson with SMI Cheeseman was a very exclusive affair attended by only 3 cadets. This was most likely due to the weather making sitting inside at a computer unappealing, despite the interesting content that had been prepared for them. However, for the 3 cadets that did attend, they got a very valuable and insightful lesson. They were able to get a far more in depth experience than is usual for an Introductory session. Learning personally from the vast experience and knowledge of the County Signals Officer.

The final lesson of the day was the star two Fieldcraft quiz. The quiz was comprised of questions based on the fieldcraft syllabus, mixed with some general knowledge. The was also a bonus double points round to get the cadets up and moving, in which they had 30 seconds to gather items from around the house such as a potato masher and wooden spoon. The when score were counted the results were:

1st place Cdt Barney C Coy

2nd place SI Gorin D Coy

3rd place joint Cdt Renshaw D Coy & SSI Freeman C Coy

Elsewhere the competitions are gaining many entries. Particularly the cooking challenge which sparked the pineapple pizza debate. DC HR challenged the cadets to cook a meal for their family by themselves with no help, to be verified with pictures by their parents. There’s been some outstanding entries, some of which can be found in the gallery.

Inspired by the prolific dog involvement today the PR team created a fun competition. Open to the adult instructors as well as the cadets, so everyone could be involved the simple but fun challenge was to take a picture of your dog involved in camp. The prize on offer is an on theme package of a newspaper styled dog toy, treats as approved by the Newshound and dog mug for the owner. There’s already been some outstanding entries including Kylo playing battleships during The Royal Navy presentation, Pepper the bergen stowaway, Cdt Roxy and even Field Marshall Montgomery the cat joined in for good measure. A nice bit of light hearted fun to break up a full day of zoom lessons.

There will be more in our daily round ups from the other competitions as the camp goes on.

The day ended with the planned Royal Air Force guest session, which didn’t go as planned. Unfortunately due to an issue with the local telephone cable being damaged, our booked speak had no internet connection. With 5 minutes to go before the allotted start time Squadron Leader Holland, the son-in-law of one of our instructors stepped in. With no preparation or slideshow, as he was on a borrowed laptop Sqd Ldr Hooland gave an inspiring talk. He spoke of his career and what attracted him to the RAF, whilst the whole way through pausing to answer any and every question that came through from our cadets on the written chat. There was everything from best experience in the RAF to favourite type of aircraft. A massive thanks to Sqd Ldr Holland for saving the day with an engaging and interactive session.

It’s another action packed day at virtual annual camp. Tomorrow we look forward to Church Parade with the Padre and a virtual modified version of the Commandant’s Day.