1 October 2012
Almost 700 members of the ACF and CCF (Combined Cadet Force) (Army) took part in a special pilot scheme this year that matches their cadet activities to the Government’s flagship programme for young people in England, National Citizen Service (NCS). NCS is the Prime Minister’s personal initiative and seeks to foster social cohesion, community action and personal and social development for young people. NCS was piloted in 2011 with 8,000 participants. This year 30,000 youngsters are expected to take part.
The ACF and CCF are the first youth organisations to have their own training and activity programmes recognised in this way. During their usual residential camps this summer, the cadets participated in a minimum of three thought-provoking and topical guided reflection sessions, led by a senior adult volunteer. Then in December, the plan is that they will take part in a challenging team test weekend with other NCS participants, where they will work together on a series of tasks and challenges designed to showcase their leadership and teamwork skills.
Following another guided discussion where they reflect on what they have learned through NCS, cadets will be presented with their NCS certificate, signed by the Prime Minister, and a special NCS badge, at a celebratory event in their own area, early in 2013.
Humberside and South Yorkshire ACF had 65 cadets participating in NCS at camp this summer. 17-year-old Sgt Cdt Joe Bond said: “At first I was a bit sceptical but it’s been a real eye-opener. It’s really bonded us as a county as the guided reflection sessions have shown a different side to people we’re around all the time. It shows how diverse the ACF really is.” Seventeen-year-old L/Cpl Cdt Ashton Cummings added: “It was a bit like diving into the unknown but it’s been excellent. Great for team building.” Commandant Col David Fuller OBE agreed: “The NCS guided reflection sessions have been embraced wholeheartedly by our cadets. They have loved it. It’s definitely worth keeping for the future.”