10 June 2016
It is one of nature’s greatest magic tricks – when the grey drizzle and chill of winter subsides, giving way to summer’s brilliant sunshine and heat. Summer holidays are on, the children are home from school and everybody can’t wait to get outside. But what to do outside? What are the best outdoor activities that will maximise summer’s brief appearance?
Volunteering with the Army Cadet Force is one of them. By joining over 9,500 other adult volunteers, you’ll have to the opportunity to mentor amazing young people through challenging and fun activities. Most of these activities occur outdoors, and summer is one of our peak seasons, as the cadets are on holidays. Summertime at the ACF is full of great outdoor adventures.
You might think that your summer camp days are over, but at the ACF, you can relive them. One of the most fun activities we do all year is our annual camp during the summer school holidays. Usually held at a MoD-owned camp in the UK, the annual camp takes place over one or two weeks and involves a wide range of outdoor activities. There’s sports ranging from football to rugby, and lots of military-style fieldcraft exercises. Volunteers lead at least one overnight expedition, which is an opportunity for cadets to test the skills they’ve honed throughout the year. If possible, the Army also provides direct support, with access to specialist equipment and experienced training staff. Without a doubt, the annual camp is the highlight of the ACF year.
Summer is also a great time to get into the mountains. It’s warm and (hopefully) sunny, making long days outside enjoyable. Even if you’re relatively new to mountaineering, there’s a lot you can do. Hiking is a great place to start, as you can build up stamina and strength gradually, and it allows you to really appreciate the scenery. For more of an adrenaline rush, try mountain biking, whizzing down winding roads with steep inclines and abrupt bends. Rock climbing is another excellent choice, requiring mental skill as well as physical strength.
White water rafting is another outdoor activity best enjoyed in summer. While you’re battling the roaring river waters and navigating sharp river bends, you’re bound to get soaked or at least splashed. In summer, the sun will dry you right off, especially if you’re wearing synthetic fabrics. Being wet in a boat is much better on a warm sunny day than it is on a cold winter’s day.
To take advantage of the warm weather all over the world, why not travel overseas? You can do the typical city break, or you can try something more adventurous, like an ACF exchange trip to countries like Austria, Italy, Denmark, South Africa and Canada. Exploring a new culture and landscape, meeting local community groups, playing football with schoolchildren – what could be a more productive and fun way to spend time outside in summer? For days when you just can't go outside, there are plenty of fun things to do at home as well!