It’s a fair question, but ask anyone who has taken part as a cadet, adult volunteer or parent and you’ll know how special the organisation is. It offers young people from all walks of life a chance to get active, learn new skills and make new friends in an inspirational and safe environment.
It doesn’t interfere with their school responsibilities and cadets take an invaluable set of experiences and strong personal ethics with them when they leave that they can put to good use at university or in the career of their choosing. It’s true that some cadets do take up a career within the Services, but there is no liability for them to join up after leaving the organisation. Their personal development as confident and spirited young people is our main aim.
Under the guidance of our fully qualified volunteer staff we’ll offer your son or daughter many activities to take part in and every opportunity to build their strengths and improve their confidence. We hope that they stay with us for several years and thoroughly enjoy their membership – our volunteer staff are always on hand to assist parents with any questions or concerns.
We ask parents for as little as possible. We provide most of the kit and encourage cadets to be self-sufficient and keep their uniform in good order themselves. Don’t be upset if they ask you not to iron their shirt as there is a certain way of doing it and they are encouraged to handle it themselves! However, you are responsible for their uniform, which is valued at around £200 and is issued on loan – it should only be used for air cadet activities and must be returned at the end of their time with us.
Footwear is not included, so shoes or boots will need to be provided. Beyond this, your responsibility is mainly for getting your son or daughter to the squadron promptly for meetings and supporting them as they progress. However, any further involvement is always gratefully received.
All organisations need funding. We are luckier than most as the RAF and public funds provide the money for uniforms, premises, flying and several other activities. Each cadet provides a small subscription of approximately £13 a month, which goes towards funding the many activities that they undertake. National and international camps and expeditions may lead to extra costs – but we will always keep these to a minimum. We want the organisation to be available to everyone and staff are happy to discuss cost-related issues with parents at any time.
The squadron must provide the rest of the required funding, primarily through the fundraising efforts of the Civilian Committee that each has. We’re always looking for parents who are keen to get involved with their squadron’s Committee or would like to become a volunteer!