31 March 2017
Is there a better time to be outside than spring? Frost melting, flowers blooming, fruit ripening, and breeze blowing. It’s a glorious time of year, and the warmth is a relief after the chilly winter months. Enjoying time outdoors is the perfect way to appreciate this burst of good weather.
If you’re struggling to think of fun things to do outside in spring, consider volunteering with the Army Cadet Force. With a minimum commitment of two evenings a week, you can join an enthusiastic and diverse community of more than 9,000 adult volunteers who mentor cadets across the UK. Outdoor activities are at the core of the ACF. Our adult volunteers lead the cadets’ adventurous training, tackling activities like hiking, climbing, skiing and kayaking. We train throughout the year, so there’s always a lot going on during spring.
Fieldcraft is part of the Army Proficiency Certificate, the syllabus that cadets follow throughout their time at the ACF. Unless you have a military background, it will probably be unfamiliar to you. It typically involves elements of personal camouflage, moving as a unit through the field and navigating correctly during day and night. More advanced exercises can include shooting in the field, surviving a mock ambush or crossing an obstacle course. It’s one of our cadets’ favourite parts of the ACF, and we’re sure it’ll be one of yours too. Practicing your skills in spring prepares you for our annual summer camp, where you’ll spend a few days on a fieldcraft exercise.
Shooting is one of the ACF’s distinctive activities. Handling a gun can be daunting for first-timers, but with expert instruction, clear safety measures and lots of practice, you’ll find it fun and rewarding. You’ll start from the beginning – all adult volunteers must be trained in rifle and shotgun safety procedures before handling a gun. Once you’ve gained enough experience, you can become qualified to train cadets in shooting. Other than being a great way to spend time outside, shooting also improves your discipline, precision and aim.
Building a playground, planting trees, clearing rubbish from rivers – these are all great community activities that get you outside in spring. Community work fosters essential ACF values in our cadets, like good citizenship and volunteerism. Spring is the perfect time to do some planting at a community garden, organise a fundraising drive or represent the ACF in a charity race.
Caving takes you into a completely different world. Using basic kit – helmet, flashlight, ropes – it allows you to explore some of the world’s most fascinating landscapes. You’ll learn lots about caves, from geology and conservation to navigation and potential hazards. Caving can be scary, as you encounter complete darkness, insects, heights and claustrophobic spaces, but it delivers unbeatable adventures. Caves have varied topographies, so at different points you might be climbing, crawling, swimming, walking or squeezing. No two caving experiences will be the same.
Summer’s just around the corner, so get ready to take advantage of all that sunshine. Read our guide for suggestions of summer outdoor activities.