Focus on our Volunteers Part 2

SSI Champkins talks about how looking after his children and home-schooling helped inspire his cadets to partake in some brilliant virtual training.

3 June 2020

The Cadets of Saffron Walden Detachment B(EY) Coy, Essex ACF, have been involved in a number of incredible activities you may have seen some of the videos on our social media streams! But how did these come about? We spoke to SSI Champkins who is a truly inspirational volunteer about how he came up with his lock-down ideas, It seems the secret was his own family:

“As a parent, trying to keep my children occupied and maintain the educational challenges during lockdown was somewhat of an obstacle in the beginning. By giving them a structured challenge with an objective to achieve, they began planning, building and running experiments to test their theories in order to complete the tasks I had set them.

This had such a positive impact on my own children; I decided to replicate this with cadets from B(EY)Coy.

The first competition challenge I set out to the cadets was;

“To build a device that can move an egg from point A, to point B, over a one-metre gap/void without any breakages, and without any further human interaction once the device was set in motion”

It was great to see some of the whacky designs the cadets came up with to complete the task. But in speaking with the cadets, they all had mentioned that they had so much fun spending several days’ trialling different designs, testing out various methods and theories which pushed their engineering and logic skills to the extreme.

Another competition task I set the cadets was, the “Chameleon challenge” Where they had to camouflage themselves into their environment, no matter what or where that may be. The cadet is to maintain their position for a few moments then reveal their whereabouts. Once again these entries had to be submitted to our Facebook pages via video.

The cadets were instantly all over it, as it was another chance to design, prepare, build and compete against their peers, with one cadet constructing a full Ghillie-suit purposefully for this challenge.

Another fantastic positive from these detachment challenges was seeing Cadet’s parents/guardians brothers & sisters (even a dog) all getting involved with the video entries, bringing people closer together through a common goal.

By designing and setting these competitions in the format I have, and by running inter-section challenges each week. I’ve managed to keep the cadets switched on, fully engaged and hungry for more.

This has helped maintain the commitment level of the virtual parade nights we hold each week, in order to effectively still deliver APC training.

The global situation may be a little bleak, but the morale and team spirit in B(EY)Coy, Essex ACF, is soaring high!”