In celebration of Armed Forces Week today we’re introducing you to some of our Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.
There is an army of 1,200 adult volunteers from across Wales who spend their spare time inspiring some 4,400 young cadets to achieve in the classroom and their future careers.
Meet Captain Hayley Davies from Mold who is the Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force CVQO officer and Albuhera Company Second in Command (2IC), who has loved every minute since joining ten years ago.
“I have made so many brilliant friends and made so many amazing memories that will last a lifetime. The ACF has rewarded me with confidence and I’m so proud of all the cadets that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. If anyone ever has any doubts about joining, jump in with both feet, you won’t regret it!” she said.
One highlight was volunteering at a night-time running race at Moel Famau in the snow!
“The cadets were so enthusiastic and eager to help despite the fact it was March with howling wind and snow. The cadets couldn’t wait to receive their volunteering t-shirts and a hot chocolate.
Another highlight was planting trees with a small group of cadets at an estate in Corwen alongside the Woodland Trust to mark the Golden Jubilee.”
Another adult volunteer from Clywd and Gwynedd ACF is detachment instructor Ieuan Jones, from Penmaenmawr, who says some of his best memories growing up were when he was a cadet himself.
“I regularly get asked why I spend time volunteering with the ACF and all I can say is once you have seen what these cadets get from it you are hooked. Seeing cadets enjoying themselves whilst getting to do things they probably never thought they would get the opportunity to do is priceless,” said Ieuan.
“Some of my best times as an instructor have been on our annual summer and Easter camps, where we go away for a week at a time and spend time developing the cadet’s skills in shooting, drill and turnout and fieldcraft etc.
“I really enjoy developing cadets from the day they walk in to the day they have to leave. We go away on weekends and take part in activities ranging from mountain biking and canoeing, to skill at arms and shooting weekends,” said Ieuan, who has also taken thirty cadets from the across the Llandudno area to France for a Remembrance event.
While in West Wales Lieutenant Chris Peake, Commanding Officer of Fishguard Sea Cadets, who started his sea cadet journey back in 1981 at the age of 11, says he’s in no doubt that it helped shape his life.
“I had an amazing time as a sea cadet – going away on courses, gaining good qualifications as well as having lots of fun! So when I turned 18, I decided I wanted to give something back and help support my unit as it had certainly shaped my life for the better.
“For me it’s about seeing how much cadets grow from when they first join – growing in confidence and delight when they achieve. It’s also about working together as a team and helping shape these young people’s lives. Seeing a cadet achieve their next promotion, or a boating qualification and how happy that makes them, just inspires me even more, and drives me to keep doing as much as we can for them.
“The cadets today have far more opportunities than I did as a cadet, and this motivates me to keep pushing them, so that they can get a real head start in life, giving them skills that will stay with them throughout their adult life.
“During my time as a cadet and adult volunteer I have met some great people, made friends for life and sea cadets has taught me personally lots of skills and qualifications, which I now use to give something back.
“I would say to anyone reading this that if you haven’t volunteered then you really are missing out, it is so rewarding and really does make such a difference.”