How To Change Your Life For The Better With The ACF

17 October 2016

If you’re wondering how to change your life for the better, look no further than the Army Cadet Force. You might think that the ACF is only for teenagers, or that it’s only about military exercises. In fact, the ACF is much more diverse.

We have thousands of adult volunteers who mentor, teach and support our young cadets. We do military activities, but we also play sports, learn instruments, travel, volunteer in our communities and make lifelong friends. If you’re stuck in a bit of a rut, there are lots of ways the ACF can change your life for the better.

Make new friends

Making friends as an adult can be difficult. After university and outside of work, there are not many places where you can meet like-minded people and see them often enough to build a friendship. The ACF is one of those rare places. With over 9,000 adult volunteers spread across 1,600 locations throughout the UK, you’re bound to meet people you like.

Our volunteers are a diverse bunch. They’re from different backgrounds and careers, but they all share a passion for the outdoors and young people’s development. Once you join, you’ll see your fellow volunteers regularly; the minimum time commitment is two nights a week with occasional weekends. Many people choose to participate more. Whatever your level of involvement, there are lots of opportunities to make friends. Some adult volunteers have even met their spouses at the ACF!

Learn new skills

One of the best ways to change your life is by learning new skills. And one of the best places to do that is the ACF. Our adult volunteers develop some military-specific skills, but many of the skills you’ll learn are applicable to everyday life. Navigation is a great example – improving your sense of direction and learning how to use a map will help you to rely on yourself more than Google Maps. Some ACF adult volunteers have also used their first aid training to save lives in their communities (read more here and here).

If you’ve always wanted to try shooting, the ACF is a safe and expert environment in which to learn. We’ll make sure you can use a gun safely before we start working on your aim. If you’re musically inclined, you can take up piping and drumming or join one of the ACF bands and Corps of Drums. The ACF musicians train weekly with their local groups, and have several longer national courses throughout the year.

You can also learn important career skills at the ACF. In a survey, 84% of adult volunteers said working with the ACF has given them better job prospects. Adult volunteers can gain free or subsidised vocational qualifications, such as outdoor expedition leadership or sports leadership. If you have an interest in marketing or public relations, the ACF PR Training Team offers specialised courses, such as digital photography and writing for the web. Depending on your career, these qualifications can be very valuable.

Volunteering with the ACF also develops the so-called ‘soft skills’ that employers require, such as teamwork, confidence, organisation and public speaking. In fact, 87% of ACF adult volunteers say that volunteering developed their leadership, organisational and interpersonal skills, which are all useful in the workplace.

Have new experiences

Have you ever trekked through an icy mountain range? Or rafted down a river while managing a group of cadets? Or practised escape tactics during a mock ambush in a forest? These are the kinds of experiences you can have with the ACF. Regular weekday evening sessions are the foundation of the ACF experience, but we also run weekend trips, overseas trips, week-long training sessions and an annual summer camp.

If you’ve always been curious about the military, the ACF is your chance to learn more. Lots of military experiences are unique to the ACF, like drills and fieldcraft. If you want to travel, we have opportunities for international outdoors expeditions. You can go skiing in France, ice climbing in Norway, kayaking in Canada, rock climbing in Spain and much more.

If you’re looking for ways to change your life, consider joining the ACF today. New people, new skills and new experiences await you. Learn more about volunteering with us.