Here are a few testimonials from Cadets and Parents about their experiences in Dorset ACF

  • John Long - 2019

    Role: Member of the Public

    My wife and I attended the Royal Marines Christmas Concert at the Pavilion this week and were pleased and surprised to see Cadets from Christchurch Detachment selling Programmes, and Collecting for an Autism Charity. I have to say they were a credit to their Detachment, their parents, and County. My wife and I told them so.

  • Sturminster Newton High School - 2019

    Role: School

    We’ve had this sent to us by a parent of a Cadet who received it from her Head of Year - a fantastic endorsement of the Cadets who took the time to pay their respects on Remembrance Day. One of several letters sent out we believe.

  • Mr & Mrs HITCHCOCK - 2019

    Role: PARENTS

    ADDRESSED TO SMI Kevin Luckham: "Can I just say a big THANK YOU to you personally - we never get a chance to talk to you properly, but I just wanted to let you know how grateful we are for all you have done for Toby over the years. He's was such a soft, shy, timid boy when he started cadets, so keen, and desperate to be part of things and yet never really feeling he was brave enough or good enough. The transformation to now is astonishing; he's really showing all the potential we always saw buried in him, we're incredibly proud of him. And a large part of that is down to you and your patience, encouragement & persistence (and kicks up the..... !). I'm sure you don't get told often enough - so thank you, from both of us. I just wanted to let you know that we have always noticed, and are very grateful."

  • Allan Fitzgerald - 2019

    Role: PARENT

    I am writing this post as a parent of a young shy lady that started Christchurch Army Cadets and her journey so far. A little bit of a background for Cadet Fitzgerald, she is was a shy and anxious girl that was bullied all through her younger years at school and outside of school. The decision was made to home school her to support her well-being. The important thing for us was that we wanted to ensure that she was able to socialise with her peers and have aspirations and a sense of belonging in a community. During the summer we went to the Bournemouth Air Show and whilst there Orla was drawn into a stand with Christchurch Army Cadets, there we were talking to Lt Elsson and Sgt Elsson along with the cadets. Orla was immediately inspired by them all and eagerly ticking the days off the calendar to begin her first night in Sept. This was huge for Orla as she is generally very shy and gets anxious about new things, especially in group situations. The first night arrived and of course, Orla was anxious about starting but bravely walked through the doors, her anxiety was relieved when she was greeted by cadets that had welcomed her in and introduced themselves to her. The instructors were amazing and assured her that she would be fine and would have an amazing time with them. After that first night, she was keen to go again and came out with the biggest smile. She felt part of the detachment and a team. 9 weeks on I have seen a huge improvement with Orla's confidence and anxiety. For this, I am grateful to the instructors and the cadets that she is with for giving her the confidence to do this. She has attended events with cadets without hesitation as she knows that she will be ok and have a great time. She can be herself at cadets with no fear of bullying and one day aspires to be like her peers. Thank you so much Christchurch Army Cadets

  • DALIA WEBSTER - 2019

    Role: PARENT

    "An organisation run by dedicated staff who give young people a chance to succeed in life, doing fun and challenging tasks, helping them to become more confident and to believe in themselves."

  • LEILA MILES 2019

    Role: PARENT

    "My son joined in March when he turned 13 and absolutely loves it, he just went away for his first camp for 9 days in Kent. He did things other kids can only imagine doing on holiday he went kayaking and abseiling camping - making his own tent, mountain biking, shooting training, axe throwing and so much more. He got a real look at what training gonna be like when he joins the army and it's not deterred him adding experience that is priceless. I would recommend joining for any kid channel bad behaviour into something good and have once in s lifetime opportunities."


    Role: PARENT

    "I have twins that joined over a yr ago. It’s fun, educational, affordable, creates great friendships, skills and a steady grounding for the future! They love it. It’s like another family to them. I highly recommend the ACF."

  • LUKE MANSTON - 2019

    Role: CADET

    "This place will help you to get your self started in the army or if you just want to have some fun and learn more about what army soldiers do or a day to day basis join in September and show all your friends that you can become a good soldier and climb the ranks with your own uniform fit for you"

  • HELENE HARDY - 2019

    Role: PARENT

    "My son has been attending the Army Cadets for nearly 6 months now & he has finally found his passion! He absolutely loves going to the Detachment twice a week & the extra activities and camps they have on as well. Sgt Fudge & the staff at the Detachment work so hard to teach the kids, everything from fieldcraft, first aid to drills & navigation. It is nothing better than to have a 13-year-old who thrives with what he does. It has given him more confidence & he is very proud of what he does & what he gets to experience."

  • KELLY STOKES - 2018

    Role: PARENT

    "My child started on 10th September this year she has been every night it's on. She never stops talking about what she's been doing while there and is always practising her drill, polishing her boots and really can't wait for her uniform to come. She also can't wait to attend Easter camp next year. this is a big thing for us as a family as she struggles with commitment and organisation skill due to her autism/ ADHD. Thank so much"


    Role: CADET

    Forgive me for the massive review you're about to read but it is about something I really strongly believe in and I want to express how amazing Dorset ACF was for me. I first joined when I was 14 with much persuasion from my brothers, who joined Dorset ACF not long before I did myself. At first, I didn't really think it was for me, my knowledge of the British army was so small that I assumed it was all about 'guns' and shooting things in order to survive, like you see in the military films, but cadets is so much more than just the military stuff. Dorset ACF is something that caters for everyone and anyone, no matter your ability, knowledge, fitness, confidence. Not only does it provide improvement in all of these areas but allows you "to inspire to achieve" just as the motto says. No matter what career path you choose to go down, let it be the army, military, university, full-time work, the ACF provides teenagers with the skills that are deemed invaluable for the future. It gives young people the ability to strive to the best they can without pressure and with endless support from the adult volunteers. The friendships, bonds and contacts a cadet can make with friends and even the adult volunteers in their county are astonishing and can really bring out the confidence in a person. Army cadets provide the simplest discipline skills by teaching teenagers the importance of keeping tidy, smart, neat and even taking responsibility to look after your own personal belongings such as looking after a weapon system responsibly. Whilst it may not seem like actively teaching someone, over a cadet career, skills like this are developed so well that it should become natural to do this. The self-discipline skill is one of an infinite number of invaluable skills a person can learn both actively and passively during cadet training. If I could review Dorset ACF with well above 5 stars I would because to me it wasn't just a youth group I attended two days a week, it was something that will remain part of me forever, and I never felt I would be so passionate about something I felt wasn't for me. Personally, it provided me with the confidence to achieve the best I could, it gave me opportunities I would have never received if I didn't join. For example, in my first annual camp, I flew in a helicopter. I earned endless qualifications through BTEC (which cost me nothing), DofE (which is a reduced price within cadets) as well as the opportunity to visit ranges around the county to fire a various amount of weapons. I have had friends travel to Canada, parachute out of a plane and become recognised nationally for their work. Army cadets is an affordable way of putting your child out there, giving them the opportunity to do amazing things and letting them do something they will enjoy. It is not for everyone, but it was definitely for me when I never thought it would be, I haven't pursued a career in the Army nor will I ever do so. A key advantage to joining cadets is that it gives you the insight to what military life is like before you actually sign up to the army, and it helps a person to identify what they want to do in life. So if you are debating joining or persuading your child to sign up, I very highly recommend doing so because it was by the far the best thing I have ever done, and the only thing I regret is not joining earlier! 4 years was never enough time for me in cadets and after university, I will for sure being volunteering with Dorset. I really do want to personally thank all the staff who supported me, and yes this may be 'cringe' to anyone who reads this but it is something that really comes from the heart and I want everyone considering joining to be persuaded by this because it is the best thing I ever did.