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Major Mills the OC of D Company tells us about life at the helm during Lockdown


25 June 2020

  • Essex ACF

Running a Company has never been an easy challenge, it’s something that I have strived for during my CFAV career and I have loved every minute of it. With the introduction of lockdown, this was a new challenge that all CFAV’s had to quickly rise to, to make sure we were still delivering the best cadet experience possible. Since 17th March when the ACF announced that all face to face activities would be suspended, we have all come up against many hurdles. With the support and dedication of the CFAV’s and Cadet NCO’s within D Coy, we have managed to sprint past everyone with only a few stumbles along the way!

Running a company during this time was never going to be easy. Cadets and staff have had their own challenges with their every day lives, and it hasn’t been easy getting everyone together to ‘parade’ weekly, whether this is caused by limited internet access, a lack of equipment or even time with some of our staff working on the frontline. I was very apprehensive when we first began hosting virtual parade nights, as I was not sure what the response from the Company would be. I have been blown away by the hard work and dedication of the CFAV’s within D Coy and the uptake on activities from all the amazing cadets.

Lockdown has helped us all recognise our own strengths and weaknesses, and how we could encourage thinking, overcome and even improve in some areas. Some CFAV’s are not in a position, or confident having a high online presence, but they have been able to plough away in the background and help with striving for team goals by putting together packages which can be delivered. Those that can have been able to deliver the training to such a high and professional standard.

During this lockdown period, I have had the privilege of working with some inspiration cadets and staff which have helped to keep me motivated and on track. I have even had the privilege of seeing D Coy appoint another Cadet RSM (The second one during my tenure!), and I have been able to promote several cadets and staff within the Company. One of the best perks of being an OC is I am able to recognise the achievements and leadership of the CFAV’s and Cadets who I see committing so much to the ACF to provide the best cadet experience we can and who are continually inspiring others to achieve, both before and during lock down.

As a company, we have had to evolve, adapt and overcome barriers to keep the flame alive and become part of the virtual world. This wasn’t just focusing on the training that is being delivered but reaching out to all the cadets and CFAV’s within D Coy. During lock down, we had national mental health awareness week and I feel this could not have come at a more relevant time. Part of being within the ACF is you have a family who will support you, who are there for you and will help you wherever they can. Part of my role as an OC is trying making contact with the CFAV’s and cadets, making sure they are able to deal with their own challenges during these difficult times and knowing they have a family supporting them during it. Although it is hard to get to everybody, it is important that all of us help with this and reach out to others and make sure our team is okay. Some days have been an emotion rollercoaster, and I have been doing my best to stay strong and support my team where I can.

Although training has been a focus and is important, it is more important that we provide a range of activities to meet the needs of all our cadets and staff currently. As a company we have been working hard to put together a package which includes fun activities from quizzes, challenges, open forums and finding new ways to include those who cannot be with us virtually. In the words of Stitch “Ohana means family and family means no one is left behind or forgotten.” We must make sure we do our best to not forget anyone and this is a team effort, and everyone can play a part in this. So, please whilst reading this, think who you can reach out to and let them know you care or just spread joy. A simple phone call can make the world of difference to someone.

Now more than ever the motto I set for the company is at its most importance, “We may be strong as individuals, but as a team we are invincible”