Virtual Annual Camp - the beginning of the end

As we prepare for the final parade of virtual Annual Camp which is just an hour away, lets take a look back at yesterday’s lessons.

5 August 2020

Our last day of lessons began with an informative session from Cadet SSgt Chamber for the basic cadets on Map Care. He went through all of the options available for waterproofing a map. He then covered the best practices for opening a map in harsh weather conditions, as well as how to dry and store a map. Finally the cadets were able to practice how to fold a map on a piece of paper in a concertina fan style.

The concurrent lesson was Values and Standards for the star two cadets with the RSMI. He went into depth on the values and standards which are at the very core of what we do in the ACF. Respect, Courage, Loyalty, Discipline, Integrity and Selfless Commitment are the main values of the ACF and what we teach our cadets as morals to live by. The cadets then has the chance to take control of the screen writing on the presentation themselves more about the core values, based on their experiences.

The senior cadets had their final fieldcraft lesson in the block of 5 lessons with the TSA. They learned the 'attack', which is an important part of the section battle drills. The cadets went on to practice their tactical appreciation by forming “battle winning solutions” to a number of hypothetical enemy contacts. An instructor in the county who is known for being a bit of a “fieldcraft guru”, watched on impressed as Cpl Etches of Wickford gave the same solution that he suggested for every scenario posed.

For the first STEM lesson of the day Major Girvan taught the star one cadets about the CREST award. He asked the cadets to think of the future careers they aspire to have once they lead school, and how a STEM qualification may help them in the pursuit of their ideal career.

After lunch the star one cadets went on to have a lesson on what makes a great NCO with SSI Loughran and SSI Hetzel. They posed serious fictions scenarios to the cadets and asked them to assess the behaviour on the cadet NCO in that scenario, was it good or bad? And what could have been done better? There was then a chance for the adult instructors in the lesson to give some of their own similar experiences, even from when they were cadets. Whilst this lesson was taking place , the senior NCO’s were having an exclusive session with the Commandant and senior members of county staff, to talk about how camp has gone from their perspective. Knowing that this was happening at the same time gave the cadets in the what makes an NCO lesson something to aspire towards.

In the last basic cadre lesson of camp Cdt Cpl Loveard gave a very informative lesson on cooking in the field. He began with what the contents of a ration pack looks like and how to prepare the items inside. It may seem something very simple but because of Covid-19 its something that most of these cadets haven’t had chance to experience, especially for the ones who joined just weeks before lockdown began. He went on to briefly speak of tactical cooking which includes the more advanced things, like only cooking during daylight hours and covering any traces of scorch marks from the ground.

The very last lesson of Virtual Annual Camp was another STEM one with Major Girvan, this time with the star two cadets. They were following on from their theory lesson earlier during camp, this time with a fun practical task. The task was to build a bridge using a stack of books, pieces of paper and tape that could hold the weight of at least one can of drink. Take a look in the gallery to see some of there creations.

With the lessons all finished there was one final guest presentation in the evening. This one was a little different from what the cadets had been used to throughout camp, there was no glossy slideshow, instead the camera was angled over a kitchen. The guest speaker was the “The Commando Chef”. He began with an enthusiastic greeting where he introduced his dog Marty in a manner resembling Rafiki presenting Simba in The Lion King, very fitting given that Essex ACF has had a lot of input from our canine companions during camp. He had a very vibrant style, as he showed the cadets how to make a Mexican dish. There was impromptu quiz of pop culture questions and he worked punctuated with his dynamic catch phrase of “Boom, Rock and Roll!”. The cadets loved him and it was a fun and energetic way to finish off the last day of lessons.

All of the camp competitions closed at 18:00 hours yesterday to give the chance for winners to be selected in time for tonight’s final presentation parade. One of the competitions was boot cleaning, which is perfect for tonight as we prepare for our final parade.