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Air Training Corps (ATC)

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      19.11.2009 22:39
      Very helpful



      I love the ATC

      Best thing I ever joined!

      My mates tried to get me to join the ATC for ages, fearful of push ups and marathons I strongly refused. However when they started nabbing days off school to go flying, I immediately went down and joined the ATC, it was the best decision of my life.

      The best thing about the ATC in my eyes is the amout to be achieved. The list is seemingly endless: Duke of Edinburghs award, BTEC qualifications in aviation studies, swimming awards, learned to play a new instrument, flying an RAF aircraft 6 times, 3 week long camps on RAF stations, promotion to a position with some responsability and most of all, hundreds (Yes, Hundreds!) of new friends! That was all within my first year in the Corps! I could extend that list for ages with the rest of it, but I wont bore you.

      The corps offers many activities, such as exams in aviation related subjects, fieldcraft (Running around a field in combats!), flying, gliding, adventure training, sports and many more. There is so much to be had from simply joining up.

      The cost is only around about £10 per month, which is nothing compared to what you get out of it. Week long camps are around £40 - you could pay that for one night in a hotel, never mind a week with all your food, accomodation and activities!

      There is also a social aspect to joining. I've made hundreds of friends since joining, some of whom I'm quite close to.

      All members of staff are volunteers and are checked before being allowed anywhere near the kids.

      If you want to keep your kids off the streets, and get them doing something they'll love, and it's cheap! The ATC is for them!

      If you've got any questions about the ATC feel free to drop me a message or and e-mail!


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      17.07.2009 22:34
      Very helpful



      join if your are of the right age deffinatley worth it

      ==What is the ATC?==
      The Air Training Corps is A youth organistation which allow people of 13-20 to get the experience of discipline and the chance to make friends.
      It is a great way to build confidence. There are over 1,000 squadrons in britain. mine is 1123 hooton park Sqn.
      You have the ability to earn ranks at you cadets (Corpral, Sergeant and Flight Sergeant) when you reach 20 you are able to apply to be an adult instuctor.

      ==Ranks NCO's and WO==
      Flight Sergeant=Flt Sgt
      Warrant Officer=WO

      ==Adult Staff==
      Officer Cadet=Off Cdt
      Pilot Officer=Plt Off
      Flying Officer=Fg off
      Flight Lieutenant =Flt Lt
      Squadron Leader=Sqn Ldr
      Wing Commander= Wg Cdr
      Civilian Instructor=CI

      ==My knowledge==

      Now as most of you probably heard about tow months ago I joined the Air Cadets...I have benefited from it so much!

      Air Cadets are respected I have noticed and always earn money for their squadron or Various Charities...I recently spent a weekend at the Wirral Dog Show Picking up poles that the dogs knocked over, setting up tents and taking them down, walking dogs and all of that lark with a few other cadets from my Squadron....All of us had such an amazing time and we raised roughly £350 for the sqaudron. That'll buy us a new minibus!! wahoo!

      This opens many doors for you (Or your child) You take B-Techs which are equvalent to so many GCSE's You can learn to Fly and Shoot Rounds. You can get your Duke of Edinburugh (Bronze, Silver and Gold) you can do so many things and even if you dont want to koin the RAF it still goes on your CV and shows you are capable of commitment.

      There are many places you can go too! My first camp which is coming up at the end of August is to nescliff and i have been convinced to go because it is 'so much fun'. From what i heard they go out at midnight and play hide and seek in the fields...in the dark...Im thinking i would rather stay in bed other wise i might fall asleep in a puddle of mud But no it really does sound fun.

      The great thing about this is there are no bullies and the Squadron is like one big happy family. Everyone accepts you for who you are and do not judge you. I made friends easily there and now im very confident around them because at first i was quiet and just went and sat talking to a lad that goes to my school (His mom my support teacher is flight lutenant and his Step-dad is the boss dude cant remember is rank oh dear! :O] But now i am very confident and i talk to Every one...even staff that walk in and out...they cant shut me up so they tell me off.

      There are competitions held between squadrons, the latest being who can make the best catapult...we named ours after roman and greek gods cus we're cool like that. I am in the Project team where we desgin our catapult and make the journal and all that stuff but there is the modeling team and Air reccie which they do somethin totally different.

      They do athletics and all different sports, its girls team and boys team and the ocasional mix...we go against different squadrons in our wing and nobody ever plays to win they play o have fun.....but it does get a little violent.

      You can enroll as staff my science teacher has just signed up as the swimming teacher. It is honestly the best experience i have had so far.

      Its disipline based because it is a military organization but you will be surprised how respectful all the cadets from every squadron i have met are!

      We like to do alot of charity work which is great because it gets us known and recognised.

      It is for ages 13-20 years the oldest we have at the moment is 18 and he is Flight sergeant Dunn...scary dude when he yells but he is like a big brother...he saw me getting picked on in the street and stood up for me...see like one big family.

      Its a great laugh and gives you confidence i mean take me for example, i was quiet shy and never spoke to anybody now i dont shut up i can yap all day if i wanted to...im also more confidet in myself and im happy that i have found a place where i can be myself and not feel out of place.

      ==How To Join==
      You can go on the Cadet website, just type air cadets in google and click the first one it should come up with a buch of stuff, i dont really know because i joined a different way. If there is an air show close by there should be a ATC signing up tent or somebody you know maybe...thats how i joined...My support teacher is Flt Lt

      Written by
      Cadet Williams
      1123 Hooton Park Sqaudron

      also posted on ciao under rockchick2k7


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      • More +
        26.02.2009 17:37
        Very helpful
        1 Comment



        A really great organisation for young people

        I joined the Air Training Corps when I was 13 and was a member for just over 2 years. I really enjoyed my time there and my reason for leaving was nothing to do with the organisation itself but to do with other activities I was undertaking outside of school.

        WHAT IS THE ATC?
        The Air Training Corps (ATC) is a voluntary organisation for teenagers and young adults to get a taste of life in the RAF. You do not have to join the RAF if you are a member of the ATC but the affiliation between the two organisations means that young cadets get the opportunity to fly planes and gliders.

        You can undertake all sorts of training as a cadet in the ATC. The squadron of which I was a member offered courses in radio communications, orienteering, aviation history among other subjects. We were also given the opportunity to practice shooting with .22 rifles. I must stress that this was taught to us in a very safe and controlled manner and everyone there had the utmost respect for everyone's safety and the correct use of weapons. I completed projects on radio communications and history and attended an air show at which I was given the opportunity to use the radios and got a better idea of the practical side of radio communications.

        As a cadet, you are given the opportunity to take part in expeditions. This can vary in length and location. I went on quite a few local expeditions which consisted of camping, orienteering, activities such as swimming and dry-slope skiing, cooking our own meals on a camping stove and marching drills. These were great fun and I learned a lot from them. I also went on a longer expedition a little further afield to complete my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. We went on a 5 day expedition to the Peak district. This was really enjoyable if a little exhausting as we had to carry our tents and all of the camping supplies with us.

        One of the best things about the ATC was the social aspect of it. I made some great friends as a cadet that I still keep in contact with ten years on. We would often get the opportunity to socialise together at organised activities such as trips to the swimming pool, laserquest or rollerskating rink.

        I would recommend this organisation for any young person. I think it teaches a sense of discipline and self reliance as well as giving you a number of skills that are not generaly taught in school. Most of all, you will make some great friends and have some memorable experiences to look back on.


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        • More +
          07.05.2008 21:41
          Very helpful



          Join the next generation

          The Air Training Corps is in my opinion the best youth organisation that exists. It offers young people opportunities that just aren't available anywhere else.

          The ATC is a youth organisation for young people aged between 13-20 and aims to provide RAF based opportunities to all of its members. New cadets can expected to be issued with a uniform (similar to that of the RAF) and enrolled within 3 months. Once this has occurred the range of activities available to them greatly increase.

          On a squadron basis cadets can expect to progress through a series of classroom based subjects and exams, for which a badge is awarded for each level. They can also expect to do First Aid Training, learn to use a radio, learn to play a drum and basic foot and marching drill. Furthermore most units undertake camping trips each year (my squadron visits the lakes for adventure training such as rock climbing and assists with the programme selling at the Yorkshire Air Show).

          Cadets that show good leadership qualities and the ability to cope in differing situations may also be promoted through the ranks Cadet, Corporal, Sergeant, Flight Sergeant and then finally Cadet Warrant Officer. Cadets with a rank are called NCO's and with each rank comes further responsibility and duties, which a cadet would be expected to perform. A senior NCO would also be expected to help to develop the skills of all NCO's below them.
          During their time with the ATC cadets can also expect to go flying and gliding, possibly undertake a flying or gliding scholarship and go on at least one, usually more, annual camp (a camp with other cadets from other squadrons).

          Further opportunities involve Duke of Edinburgh Award Training, the chance to participate in the Nimajgen Road March in Holland and the chance to go on an International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) to countries such as Ghana, Sweden and the USA.

          My Experiences
          I've been an ATC cadet for 3½ years now and have loved every minute of it. I've managed to attain the rank of Flt Sgt. The time I have spent with the Corps has been fantastic and the things I have achieved with them is quite amazing. I now have a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and a BETEC in aviation. I am also first-aid qualified, have achieved my VHF Radio Operators Licence and have learnt how to carry a squadron standard (flag). I have also been to Northern Ireland and flown in the Puma helicopter. Furthermore I have achieved my Blue Gliding Scholarship Wings and have been accepted onto the IACE programme to Belgium this July.

          ***SMALL UPDATE***
          I have been and returned from Belgium and must say that it is the best thing I have ever done and am so pleased that the ATC gave me this fantastic opportunity. My stay in Belgium was for 16 days and there I met some fantastic people who I hope to stay in touch with for a long time. I got to see tourist attractions in Belgium as well as participating in tours around parlimentay buildings and airbases. Thanks ATC
          ***END OF UPDATE***

          Obviously not everyone has achieved what I have, some have achieved more and some have achieved different things; however I can with confidence say that everyone has met people that will be friends for life and has been given the support, encourage and facilities to develop their own interests and talents, as well as vital leadership qualities.

          All those who moan about youngsters need only see the ATC in action to realise that it is the minority and not the majority that are spoiling things and that the majority are actually normal young people wanting to achieve.
          Call me biased if you want but if you still don't believe me take a look at your local ATC group and you'll find a well disciplined and polite bunch of young people who give up their time and effort not only for themselves and their friends but also for their local community. The ATC, by a large country mile, is definitely the best youth organisation in the world and will probably remain so for a long, long time.


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            09.04.2008 14:20
            Very helpful



            Great, would do it again if I had the chance!

            I attended the Air Training Corps from the age of 13 to 18 and really enjoyed my time there. I will try and explain what it is all about in an attempt to get everyone to take their kids there or any other type of youth organisation!

            Does it mean you have to join the RAF? No, you can join the RAF when you have finished being a cadet and you will know a lot more than people who didn't attend cadets, but you are never pressured to join the RAF.

            The Basics
            When you become part of the Air Training Corps (ATC) aged from 13 to 18 years of age you are required to pay a small weekly fee for the privilege of wearing a uniform (exactly the same as the RAF wears) 2 nights a week, usually from 7pm - 9.30pm. You can stay at cadets until you reach the age of 21, but you must have achieved the level of Flight Sergeant.

            The weekly subs are used to fund activities that are done on the parade nights during the week and also at weekends. A lot of funding comes directly from the Ministry of Defence, which is how they can keep the weekly subs so low.

            When you first join you will take part in a range of lessons from camp craft (to help you with the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme), history of ATC and RAF, aircraft recognition, drill practice (this is not a DIY skill, but the art of marching in time with everyone else!), the basics of how planes fly and engines work etc. You move from being a probationer, to first class cadet, to second class cadet to staff cadet where you then help teach the younger cadets, you get a different badge at each level to display on your uniform.

            If you show initiative and good leadership you will also move up the ranks of corporal, sergeant, flight sergeant and Cadet Warrant Officer. You have to work to move up the ranks, you don't hit a certain age or level and suddenly get given corporal or sergeant.

            Each year an annual camp is run at one of the many (but slowly shrinking) RAF bases across the UK where you get to take part in many different activities (more on this later).

            Volunteers run the different ATC squadrons. Each squadron has a commanding officer and other officers who are all volunteers from the general public who have completed some training to be able to wear the RAF uniform. Also they have some civilian staff that help teach the cadets and help out with activities but who do not want to go into uniform for various reasons. All personnel have to have a criminal record check as with all jobs involving young people.

            My Experiences
            Parade Nights - I started attending ATC at the age of 13 because a friend of mine went, and when the commanding officer came to the school to tell us what it was about it looked so exciting! I was very luck to go to a really big squadron. Most other Squadrons are attached to either a TA unit or based on local RAF/Army stations but our squadron had it's own place tucked away at the top of an awkward hilly road! When I first started our squadron had; a drill hall, mess, office building (with classrooms) and our own shooting range, by the time I left as a civilian officer we also had; new block of classrooms, an extra drill hall, and the old drill hall had been replaced with a newer one! This is very large compared to many other squadrons and we usually parade about 75 cadets each evening.

            This squadron also has a marching band, or if you had any musical talent, or just didn't want to do the dreaded rifle drill (moving rifles around in set movements as part of a drill piece) you could pick an instrument and learn some aviation inspired music such as March of Joy or Dam Busters.

            Although you had lessons it never felt like being at school as the staff worked hard to make it fun. The tests at the end of the lessons to enable you to move up to the next level were multiple choice and you could re-sit them again and again.

            During the evening you had about 30 minutes of break time to catch up with your friends and socialise. At the beginning and end of the night you stood on parade and found out about all of the activities that were currently on offer.

            Weekends - Where to start with the many activities I took part in? One of the first things I did was go for a flight in a glider, which was just amazing as up until that point I had never been in any sort of plane. Gliding is something I did a lot of as we were very near to a RAF gliding school. I never learnt to pilot a glider as I found it hard to fit around my part time job (at the age of 16) but I was offered the chance. There are also opportunities to fly other light aircraft such as bull dogs (now replaced with something similar but I can't remember what!), and even the odd chance to fly in a helicopter or a Hercules!

            Duke of Edinburgh Award Schemes are carried out regularly which consists of camping and walking for 2, 3 and I think 5 days for bronze, silver and gold awards.

            Sports such as wing athletics, netball, hockey, football and rugby.

            Band Parades, Remembrance Parades and helping out at local events such as Concorde flying home to Bristol, marshalling races etc. The list is endless!

            Camps - Each year a different RAF station was picked to host the week long annual camp. You stay in RAF barracks and eat in the airmen's mess. The range of activities depends on which station you go to. Normally you go flying at least once, bowling (if alleys are on station), swimming, marching (lots of marching!), room inspections, team building exercises, work experience (ranging from learning a new language in a language lab to putting bits of plane together), night exercise, shooting and some free time to chill out in the evening, make sure your uniform is tidy and shoes are polished to perfection!

            There is also normally a camp to an overseas RAF station, although with the shrinking RAF bases there are very limited places on these camps available.

            There is a special marching camp at Nijmegan, which is a military organized event attracting people from all over the world.

            I also got the chance to go on a skiing trip to Bavaria. This is the most amazing thing I did with cadets. It took almost 22 hours of travel there and back on a coach, but for the 5 days we were there we skied somewhere different every day and special activities were planned for us every night such as going to the local Bavarian hunting club to use their air rifles and Bavarian leg wrestling, also swimming and games at the lodge that we stayed in.

            Life after cadets
            I left cadets at the age of 18 as 1 of our parade nights was Friday, and at 18 going out with friends drinking seemed more important!

            However, 3 years later I returned as a civilian instructor as I felt that I had got so much from them as a teenager that I would like to give something back! I was only able to help out for 2 years as then I got pregnant and as anyone with a baby knows, I had no time to help out anymore!

            My time as a civilian instructor was enjoyable and although on camps and weekend activities you are there to oversee the cadets and generally help out you are offered flying and other benefits, it also looks great on your C.V.

            Summary: Cadets is great and all children/teenagers should be encouraged to join some sort of youth group, it gives them something to do, looks great when applying for jobs and I am sure stops a lot of people from getting into trouble!


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              16.06.2006 16:13
              Very helpful



              I recomend the ATC to anyone who is thinking of joining a youth organisation.

              I have been in the Air Training Corps for one and a half years now and have enjoyed every second of it. I have done so much that i could never of dreamed of before joining, and some much of it has been free or of very little cost.I have made so many friends and gained alot of confidence. I dont know what to write, i cant write anything which will do this amazing organisation justice.

              -------------------------Who can join-------------------------

              Membership is open to all from age 13+ upto 20 but you can only join upto 16.

              Cadets must be at least 13 before joining the Air Training Corps.
              The ATC is fully supportive of equal opportunities.

              People with disabilities are welcome to join in the fun too.

              -----------------------Aims of the ATC------------------------

              The Aims of the Air Training Corps are:

              To promote and encourage among young people a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force.

              To provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life.

              To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship

              -------------------Some history of the ATC--------------------

              The Air Training Corps (ATC) was formed by Royal Warrant in 1941 and sprang from the Air Defence Cadet Corps, founded in 1938 by the Air League. Although initially formed to meet the needs of a nation at war, the Corps continues to thrive as it enters the 21st Century.

              -----------------What can you do in the ATC------------------

              I have done so many activities as a member of the ATC, and have listed some below.

              *Duke of Edinbourghs Award
              *Young Life Saver (First aid)
              *Flying several times already despite the fact i have not been in the corps that long.
              *Rifle Drill
              *MSTs (Military Skills Training)
              *PLTs (Personal Leadership Tasks)
              *Initutive Exercises
              *Camps on RAF stations
              *Adventure Training camps
              *Night Exercises
              *Ice skating
              *Trips on Navy vessels
              *Section visits on RAF stations
              *Social activities

              All of these activities are on offer and are great fun, and i would recomend them to anyone. What makes it better is that most of them are free.


              There are different types of camps all available to cadets in the ATC.

              Summer/Easter Camps
              Every year, cadets are given the opportunity to attend a camp on an operational RAF station. These camps last one week (normally Saturday to Saturday or Wednesday to Wednesday) with the primary purpose of letting cadets see what life is like on an RAF camp. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet new friends and have a lot of fun.

              On arriving at Air Cadet camp, the cadets will be split into two or more flights.

              You will sleep in RAF accommodation blocks, eat at the airman's mess and visit the various sections around the station (such as squadrons, the control tower etc.), as well as take part in sports, orienteering and night exercises, quizzes, aircraft recognition competitions and any social activities which may be available.

              There will be drill, uniform and room inspections but these, along with all the other activities such as shooting, section visits, flying, drill, night exercises, social activities and section visits such as fire, military police where they set out some activities for you., earn points for you as an individual and for your flight as a whole.

              Each cadet at camp will normally get a flight in one of the Air Experience Flight's Tutor aircraft and being on an RAF station puts cadets in a perfect position to get opportunity flights on any other aircraft which may have a few spare seats.

              Greens Camps
              These are camps based on things sucha smilitary skills training, leadership, initutive, drill and shooting and you do sometimes often get the chance to go flying. There is also plenty of time for socialising with friends.

              Adventure Camps
              You do things such a climbing as it can be a highly rewarding sport. You can also absail, canoe, kayak, shoot, do fielcraft, walking along with many sports and other activities. All climbing is supervised by professionally qualified instructors (either staff members or employed from the outside.)

              Overseas camps
              Once a cadet has attended a UK camp and has reached the age of 15 they will be able to apply for Overseas camps.

              We currently run overseas camps at Gibraltar, Germany and at Akrotiri in Cyprus.

              Overseas camps are typically more relaxed because of the greater experience amongst the participants. They concentrate less on drill and inspections and more on the other aspects of camp, such as gaining valuable work experience with RAF personnel, visiting local sites of historic and/or military interest.

              Cadets will also get the opportunity to explore towns in the local area, such as Limassol in Cyprus.

              An overseas camp is a must for all cadets, however, places are limited each year so applying for one is just the first step. You may have to fend off competition from your own squadron to get the opportunity to go to your Wing HQ for an interview. Only after this interview will you discover that you have been chosen to attend overseas camp and be the envy of your squadron!

              There are also a selection osf weekend camps/activities available which do similar activities but on a shorter timescale.Usually organised at a squadron or wing level, weekend camps allow more intensive training but which can fit into a weekend and, as such, does not interfere with school holidays. These camps can be on just about anything including NCO training days, orienteering exercises or long night exercises.


              The ATC is a uniformed yout organisation so as such you recieve a uniform free of charge this includes:
              *Dark (working) blue shirt
              *Light Blue Shirt
              *Parade Shoes (person purchase)

              Most sqns also supply greens, this includes:
              *Combat Jacket
              *Combat Shirt
              *Combat trousers
              *Boots (person purchase)

              Uniform helps us feel like a team and it gives you a great sense of pride when its issued.


              You can do many sports in the ATC at different levels from sqn, wing, region, upto corps level. The sports include:

              *Cross country


              Cadets from the Air Training Corps are offered opportunities to fly in light aircraft, gliders as well as other RAF and civil aircraft.There are plenty of opportunities open to cadets to take control themselves when flying, from aerobatics in the new Grob Tutor to practicing stalls in a Grob Viking glider, and all of this is completely free of charge.

              Some Cadets who stand out from the rest may also get the opportunity to fly on a civil airliner or go on an overseas flight in an RAF Tri-Star, VC10 or Hercules. A few cadets have also had the opportunity to fly in a variety of other aircraft including fast jets and the Red Arrrows.

              There are also exciting opportunities for cadets to learn how to fly, with scholarships for both powered flight and gliding.

              Cadets get the opportunity to fly at least once a year often more.


              The Air Cadets, as a military youth organization, sets itself and its members very high standards, including dress and behaviour. Drill is a vital part of encouraging team work.

              Drill (marching) is a vital part of encouraging teamwork. When a group of twenty cadets walk on to a drill square they are all individuals, but as soon as a session of drill begins the cadets become a team following the orders given by one person. Instead of twenty individual feet hitting the ground, there is only one bang this is result of practise and teamwork.
              Drill is also used to move cadets from one place to another in a smart orderly fashion. This shows civilians and members of the forces just how well disciplined the cadets of the Air Training Corps are. This section has been designed for everyone within the Corps and those interested in joining the Corps.

              --------------------------D of E------------------------------

              The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities for young people aged 14-25.

              The Award programme consists of three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each have differing criteria for entry and the level of achievement necessary to complete each award.

              Air Cadets who meet the age criteria can join the award scheme.

              ------------------------How to join---------------------------

              Just go alon to your nearest sgn to find out where it is go to http://www.aircadets.org/atc_join.html, just turn up and im sure you will be welcomed. One word of advice when you join you will be trying to get your first class cadet classification and you might not enjoy that too much but stick with it and then you can do more of the activities.


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                16.04.2006 22:05
                Not Helpful



                basiaclly it is mega fun so join

                i joined cadets in january and at the start it was boring becasuse you had t do lessions to get enroled but once you are enroled you have a whale of a time about 2 weeks ago i went flying at 7aef at Raf Cranwell and it was fab we eaven did areobatics(mega fun!!!!)
                i would seriously sergest joining go to www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/joincadets.html and find your nearest squadron
                The best squadron is 1279 sqaudron


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              • More +
                21.09.2005 00:06
                Very helpful



                Flying, shooting, team work, and so much fun....

                As a child I belonged to many different youth organisations. I tried Brownies and Guides, but thought that the Scouts would have been much more fun, sadly they didn't take girls at that time (they do now). As soon as I was old enough, I joined Venture Scouts, and enjoyed the more adventurous activities offered there, but the organisation I really wanted to join was the Air Training Corps. When I first reached joining age, my local squadron didn't accept girls, but when I was 16 they finally decided to open their doors to those of a female persuasion and I was one of the first intake. I stayed with the squadron until I was 18 (and pregnant with my first child) enjoyed myself immensely, learnt lots of new skills, and now my 14 year old son has just become a cadet himself.

                ---History of The ATC---

                The ATC was originally formed in 1941 as a way of helping train young men, who would then be ready to take their place in the RAF (and the other forces). As part of the training these young men would have already learnt how to care for their uniforms, parade and recognise aircraft, so the RAF would have had to spend less time and money training these young recruits. (I know that sounds cynical, but remember the RAF saved us from invasion). Although this was the original idea, the corps is still thriving today, and as well as being a staging post for youngsters dreaming of a career in the RAF, it is also a great way for them to learn self-respect, self-discipline and have fun at the same time.

                ---Who Can Join?---

                The ATC is open to young men and women aged 13-20, although if you reach the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer you are able to stay until you are 22. Most disabilities are catered for, although access to some activities will depend on the facilities available to the particular squadron. As I said I joined at 16 and would have done so much earlier if only girls had been accepted at the time.

                ---How Do I Join?---

                Different squadrons have different rules for intake, some will accept new recruits at any time, but others will only accept them on certain dates. Before you join, it's a good idea to have a look round, and most squadrons will be only too willing to give you a guided tour, where you can watch the cadets parading, drilling, taking classes or just relaxing in their break. It's an even better idea to take one of your parents with you, just so that they know that you'll be safe while you're having fun. To find out where your local squadron is, take a look at the ATC website at : http://www.aircadets.org/index.html where you can find details of squadron locations and contact details for the region Wings (A bit like head offices).

                ---Your First parade---

                Squadrons generally hold two parades a week, and in case you're wondering a parade isn't just standing in file, but the name given to the meetings. When you attend your first parade, you're likely to be feeling a little overwhelmed, and more than a little bit out of place. They'll probably be a bit of shouting, while most of the cadets are in uniform and know exactly what they are doing, you probably won't. Don't worry though, it's very easy to pick up the basics and by the end of the first evening you'll be able to stand to attention like a pro. My first session was almost completely dedicated to basic drill, and I'll admit I was lucky in that my Dad had been in the forces and had taught me this basic drill, but even those who didn't have this advantage were still able to pick it up by the end of the first evening.

                ---Your Uniform---

                Once you've been regularly attending for a while, you'll be issued with your very own uniform, free of charge. Yes you read that right, you don't have to pay for your uniform, all you will need to buy is a pair or boots (and/or shoes for the girls). The uniform is very smart, and consists of airforce blue trousers (and skirt for the girls), shirt, jumper and beret. This uniform is nothing less than a "babe magnet", well according to my son anyway, and I must admit that I've always quite liked the look of a man in a military uniform. It takes a bit of work to keep your uniform up to scratch, but you'll be taught the basics of such things as polishing your shoes, getting sharp creases in your trousers and shaping your beret.


                As well as the obvious activity of drilling, which is a lot more fun than it sounds, you'll find there are a plethora of other events to take part in (depending on the squadron). In my time I learnt to shoot (with live ammunition), flew a plane and glider (not just flew in but also took the controls), went camping, abseiled, took part in war games, played in hockey tournaments, was a drummer in the band…..do you get the idea? All these activities still take place now, although some are only available to older cadets.

                As well as all the fun activities, you will also take part in classes, where you will learn some useful skills, such as first aid and some not quite so useful, aircraft recognition. You then will be able to take some exams, and when you pass them you will be awarded a new cadet status, ranging from basic (when you first start), up to staff cadet. With each new ranking you get a badge, and it really does feel good to be awarded it in front of the squadron. These tests aren't particularly difficult, are all multiple choice and if you have any difficulties such as dyslexia then special allowances can be made. If you show special promise and leadership skills you might even find yourself promoted into the Cadet Non-commissioned Officers (NCO), as a corporal to begin with, but you could rise to the heady rank of Cadet warrant Officer. Although I never actually got to be a NCO, I did manage to get to Staff Pt 1, which meant that there were occasions when I was senior in my flight.

                ---What Cadets Did For Me---

                My time in the ATC, did so much for me, I not only made friends but my self-confidence improved no end, I learnt so many new skills, from shooting a rifle, to learning to work in a team. I really couldn't think of any other organisation that would have let take control of a plane, or the responsibility to take help teach drill to a group of younger cadets. I learnt to accept discipline and my own self-discipline improved no end. I also wanted to join the RAF, and this would have been a huge stepping stone for me. I never did actually get to join, but that's another story. But the fact I was an ATC cadet, was always a bonus on my CV, when I applied for jobs.And all of this, while I was having some of the best fun of my life.

                ---For the Adults---

                This is the part that you will want your parents to read, just to give them some peace of mind.

                The air Training Corps is not exactly a youth organisation, so much as a military youth organisation. There are strong links with the RAF, with many of the officers being members of the RAF reserve. All of the instructors have had in depth police and security checks, which are probably (almost definitely) far more thorough than the checks done for say scouts. Parents are also welcome to join the committees, and if you have a special skill that you could share with the cadets then you are able to train to become a Civilian Instructor.

                Looking back I've realised just how much I got out of my time at cadets, and your child could gain just as much. My attitude to authority was improved, I learnt to work in a team, I gained self-confidence pride in my appearance and discipline and all the while I was making friends, having fun and taking part in the most amazing activities. We were never forced to take part in any of these activities, but were sometimes persuaded in quite a firm manner, personally I feel that being occasionally shouted at did me a lot of favours.

                But one of the best things for parents is there is no expensive uniforms to buy, all you need to provide are a pair of boots and a set of combats, which can be picked up fairly cheaply from an army surplus store. The weekly fees are also very reasonable, my son pays out of his own pocket money. There are a few activities that you will have to pay for, but these are generally only token payments of no more than a few pounds.

                ---Final Words---

                ATC is a brilliant organisation, where your child will learn to become more self-reliant, take more pride in themselves, and become more self-disciplined, all while having a brilliant time. I, myself, was a quiet, shy, unconfident teen when I joined, but by the time I left I could hold my own, and even stand in front of a class giving a lecture. I enjoyed the marching, loved the flying and shooting, and was extremely proud of my uniform. Cadets made me the person I am today, somebody who not only knows how to accept authority, but can also be authoritive when needed, somebody that can look back with pride at her achievements in the cadets and can now listen to her son's enthusiasm over his new squadron.


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                  22.08.2002 19:26
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                  If you remember these days you will be an old hand at the world of the cadets. What I'm about to undertake is a call back to a time of innocence, a link to York and not Scarborough, a time of fun, action, excitement and adventure, often involving live rounds in the gun of the Boon (well, not really my gun but, well, you'll see soon enough). What is the ATC? ---------------- Well, as you can see from the little bit of blurb at the top of this page, it stands for Air Training Corps, either a precursor to the RAF (on go on, you know what that means, don't you?) or simply a version of the Scouts that allows you to use guns, aeroplanes and knowledge of certain low level segments of the Official Secrets Act. You can be a member from the age of 13 and (depending on circumstance) remain a member until the age of 22. The country is broken up into sections - to try and explain my title I'll go from the lowest to the highest point in the country (yep - we were at the bottom of the scale): 2394 (Whitby) d/f (Detached Flight) is a part of... 2394 (York) sqn (Squadron) - we became part of 739 (Scarborough) Sqn later on but I don't like to think about it which is part of... Central and East Yorkshire Wing in turn... Northern Region Which is then part of... The United Kingdom - and there we have the top of the tree. Probably done that the wrong way around but there you go. Each Sqn has its own number which is then passed on to its d/f if it has one. The life of the Air Cadet: -------------------------- Joining - simple as you like. Just find the nearest centre (quite often in a TA hall) and ask to join, you'll get a few forms to fill in and a trip to the stores for a uniform and BINGO, you're an air cadet of the lowest level, bedecked in all your airforce blue splendour and ready to face the world with
                  a smart stamp of your feet and a sharp salute for Queen and Country. OK, maybe not as far as all that but you've got your start in a club that can take you all over the world and allow you to meet a great many new friends. Training in the cadets is conducted in a classroom setting - you'll learn a lot about the RAF, the founding of the cadets and such things as radio operation, flying, gliding or rifle shooting. Now, this may sound dull, could be thought of as being unnecessary additional work in an out of school environment but in truth it's great, you learn stuff that you can use and you take exams to increase your standing in the cadets - from 1st Class Cadet to Leading Cadet, via Senior Cadet to the top - Staff Cadet. Each grade has a different badge until the Staff Cadet stage where you get a yellow lanyard to wear on the left shoulder and each allows different privileges - for example, you need to attain Leading Cadet status to go on an overseas camp, Senior cadets and above get to go for the flying courses and staff cadets alone can reach the rank of Warrant Officer in the cadets. This brings us on to the ranks - they're simple enough things, beginning at "Cadet" you can get promoted to Corporal, then on to Sergeant, Flight Sergeant and then Warrant Officer - courses need to be taken for you to retain your rank, there's an NCO (non commissioned officer) course which needs to be taken in the 6 months from your promotion to corporal and a Senior NCO course which must be taken in the 6 months following promotion to Sergeant. Once you're promoted you will have additional duties in your sqn or d/f, these include the taking of drill (great fun) and the teaching of some of the classes. Warrant Officers get to stay in the cadets until the age of 22 - all other ranks have to leave at 20. Drill - very important to the life of the cadets, our group met twice a week for 2 hours and at least half a
                  n hour of each meeting was taken up with drill - simple stuff like marching up and down the square (Monty python reference intentional). Once you've learned this you will be able to go to any of the summer camps and fit in perfectly. Camps: ------ Each year the wings go away, you apply to go on the camp and then, on the appointed day you turn up and have your week away with the cadets. The NCOs keep their rank at these events and become even more powerful, the camp is generally split into a couple of squads with a Sergeant being in control of each, the Flight Sergeants will be in charge of these and then the Warrant Officer will rule supreme. There are usually enough Sergeants to cut the power of the Corporals to a minimum. On the camps you will usually get a chance of a flight in a Chipmunk (now replaced by the Bulldog) plane, a go on the rifles at the range, a lot of food in the mess and a load of socialising with the other members of your wing. This is where you really get to know the life of the cadets and an idea of what life in the RAF would be like; you live on an RAF base, you visit the various sections - the police dog section, a flying squadron, the guard house, etc. and have a load of fun all round. Additional stuff: ----------------- Gliding - BGT, AGT and Pilot are the 3 grades that you can attain here, BGT = basic glider training, AGT = advanced and Pilot is a license to fly anywhere in the glider you were trained in. You get a shiny badge to put on your uniform for each level (as you go up the levels you replace the old one). After the BGT you will have a solo flight under your belt and hopefully will have your appetite whetted to go on for the rest. Flying Scholarship - OK, it's an RAF thing but I came across it via the cadets. You get half a Private Pilots License with this, 20 of the 40 hours are paid for by the RAF and you can pay for the rest if you so wish. This is
                  a great scheme and you get a great badge to gloat over throughout the cadet world. With 4 hours solo experience involved it is an intense course and you learn a lot of very interesting and exciting stuff here. By the way - I was the first member of Whitby's cadets to ever get this! Hurrah! Radio Operator - learn all about the different ways of communicating and get a certificate with it. Band - Drummer, flute (fife?), Brass. You get to play all the military classics (great to march to - nothing like a strong booming bass drum to get the squad in time). If you're a band member you get the special privileges on camp, practise times on meeting nights and a shiny silver badge to show off. Sports - inter-wing and then inter-region sports events are held for games like rugby, netball and football, there's usually an inter-wing then inter-region swimming gala and a load of chances to travel around and meet new folks. Many squadrons participate in the Duke Of Edinburgh scheme. Overall: -------- I was a member of the cadets for about 5 years, in that time I went from pleb to Sergeant (the highest you can be in a d/f as the squadron can only have one Flight Sergeant and one Warrant Officer), achieved the Senior Cadet classification (never got round to taking the Staff Cadet exam) and did both the Flying Scholarship and the BGT. I went over to Germany twice at RAF Brüggen and had a bit of a jolly to Cyprus (would have been good for the duty frees - if only I'd been old enough...), I visited many RAF bases in the UK and stayed at 4 of them for a week's camp. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the cadets and, at the time, was very keen to join the RAF and gained a great idea of what that life would be like through the cadets - the experience sets you up that little advantage over non-cadets when it comes to the selection process for the RAF proper. If you're keen to learn stu
                  ff, eager for a great time and mature enough you will have a great time in the ATC. It's not all fun but the more you learn, the more you'll get out of it. A club with a LOT more than the norm. And a smart uniform to boot!


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                    10.04.2001 23:44
                    Very helpful



                    Between the ages of thirteen to seventeen, I was a member of the Air Training Corps, and within those four precious years, I made some of the best memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life, had some fantastic experiences and met some damn-fine people, many of whom are still close friends. It isn't a prep for the RAF, which I believe, is a common misconception amongst those who know little about the organisation. It can put you in excellent stead for an RAF career with guidance and support if that is what you are aiming for, but there is no obligation to join the RAF in later life or anything of the sort. Being a member of the ATC was a wonderful time in my life and I do not know how to start to tell you about this. Even thinking about my time with them brings a smile to my face, a tear to my eye and stirs all sorts of emotions from my extensive memories. Okay, I'll start from the basics: In various cities, towns and even villages all over the country are small MOD barracks where ATC base buildings can be found, often as an attachment to the barracks of the Territorial Army or shared barracks with Army or Navy cadets. The ATC or the RAF cadets, is classed as a military organisation with military values and run voluntarily by ex-servicemen/women or trained volunteers in either military or civilian fields. Members attend twice-weekly sessions at their local HQ, usually between 7pm - 9:30pm on Monday and Thursday evenings. A small subscription fee is collected monthly at a cost of a few pounds, which only goes towards member activities as this is a voluntary organisation. Everything including the blue and grey uniform which must be worn is free, but you get to like wearing it funnily enough, especially when you get mistaken for RAF officers when you're walking down the street. You would think other youngsters would take the mickey, but I found them to be strangely respectful of us, because they knew we were doi
                    ng everything they weren't but they were too proud to put on a uniform. During these weekly evening sessions, we did pretty much the same as any military organisation did. Mandatory parades and uniform inspections by the Commanding Officer (CO), marching practice and a whole range of activities including anything from leadership exercises, learning about avionics and aircraft, to rifle shooting with live rounds in our own shooting gallery. We took part in Remembrance Day Parades through the town. I laid the wreath from the ATC one year. We had our own local carnival float that we made ourselves. The activities that we all did as a team were endless and I made some excellent friends. Everything was fun, the staff were lovely and had a wonderful relationship with the cadets and the best thing was that there was respect. The cadets learn respect for those in a more authoritative position, and start to learn some very useful attributes to life. Eligible cadets are between ages 13-18. Those that stay later than 18 are in a suitably high enough rank to stay on. The structure of the organisation is similar to the RAF. Individuals start off as cadets whatever age they join, and it doesn't matter what age you join, although most prefer to have joined younger. Promotion through the ranks is subject to your personal performance and qualities, and whether you are suited to a more authoritative role. Ranks go as Cadet, Corporal, Sergeant, Flight Sergeant, and Cadet Warrant Officer. Each rank takes a different level of effort and is the decision of the CO. In my squadron there were about four military staff, three civilian staff and about 25 cadets, a few of which had been promoted to various levels of authority. Please note that there was no abuse of authority, cadets were not forced to do anything they did not want and there is nothing wrong with learning respect for elders and others that deserve it. In fact, society needs to learn a bit more respec
                    t and in educating the children, this goal might be achieved. Along with the weekly activities, there were annual camps to various RAF bases all over the country. Cadets from squadrons in a certain area known as a wing, for example "Dorset and Hampshire" were put together for a week and allowed to do some really fantastic things. One year we went to RAF Sealand in North Wales where we went flying in small two-seater aircraft with a RAF pilot and were allowed to take control and learn to fly. (Although flying happened many weekends locally too). We were taken up in a helicopter, went shooting with more powerful rifles in the RAF's shooting galleries and got tuition from the experts. These were amongst many activities that happened on such camps. It is all character building, which increases your confidence no end. We spent another week at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire another year, and did more exciting things that other kids our age only dreamed of. Weekends during the year were often dedicated to going flying and gliding, or partaking in various exercises in orienteering or military exercises at night on local army Army territory. Everything that an individual does with the ATC is logged in a personal record and you have the opportunity to work up through levels of competence and ability with whatever activity you do. Awards are given out in recognition for wear on the uniform. Each wing of the ATC allows cadets to train each year for the Nijmegan Four Days Marches held annually in Holland. It is an international event with over 80 000 participants from both military and civilian contingents. One hundred miles around the city are walked by everyone, 25 miles a day for four days. It is a lot harder than it sounds. After six months training in preparation of walking for 25 miles a day every Sunday with intermittent two-day 50 mile marches and three-day 75 mile marches progressively, I was chosen to go as part of on
                    e of the military teams and travel to Holland as part of the British Military Contingent. We spent ten days over there staying at the military camp and had an absolutely amazing time. We met people from all over the world. There were Canadians, Americans, French, Germans, Scandinavians, and people from far more diverse places than I can remember. People from all military walks of life and civilian too. We all completed the four days and were rewarded by a special medal that I will treasure forever. That week I spent in Nijmegan is the most special memory I have so far in my life. I cannot explain it; it is something you have to experience to understand. Cadets get the chance to do this every year. The time that I spent with my squadron of the ATC was a fantastic and memorable time that I will never forget for as long as I live. They were the best times of my young life and I am glad my mum pushed me to go. I still remember the first time I walked into the building to enquire about joining. I was 13, and incredibly nervous, but I was soon made to feel at home and went on to have an incredible four years with them. I left, age 17, about to go to university a fearless, happy and much better person for the experience, with my head held high knowing that I could do whatever I wanted in life as my experiences had given me confidence and an insight on life that I never knew existed before.


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                      02.12.2000 18:37



                      As an instructor at my local ATC unit (and former CWO) I can quite honestly say that the ATC is one of the brightest prospects in youth training and motivation in this country today. The Air Training Corps provide practical training not only for those who want to be in the military as a career, but for those who want something else other than sitting around smoking and nicking car stereos. It provides the cadet with self discipline, leadership skills, team working skills as well as a sense of worth, something lacking from many areas of a young peoples lives today. From the ages of 13 to 22, you can turn up on whatever nights your local squadron meets and take part in numerous activities, from theory of flight to combat tactics in the field to flying with the volunteer gliding schools and air experience flights. There really is something for everyone, and further to this, you will be a better person as a result of it. If you find yourself sitting at home every night with nothing to do then I strongly suggest getting along to your local ATC squadron, you won't regret it.


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                        02.12.2000 05:02
                        Very helpful



                        If you are between the ages of 13 and 19 and find yourself with way too much free time on your hands, and a lack of being able to commit to anything, you can trust both situations to be remedied by joining the ATC. The ATC (Air Training Corps - or Air cadets as we are often called) are a voluntary organisation, with links to the RAF. This means that we get lots of help from the RAF, but there is absolutely no commitment to joining the RAF whatsoever. So what can you do in the ATC? Is a question I have been asked lots. Well, in my comparatively short membership so far (around 2 years), I have already managed to attain things that I would have only dreamed of before. I have been flying in a bulldog (small 2-seater plane) 3 times, and I have had the opportunity to undertake some breathtaking aerobatics. Last time I even landed the plane - an acheivement for any 15 year-old boy. I have also had 3 glider flights, and I have just applied for my gliding scholarship (which will allow me to go gliding every weekend to get my license) All of this for only £4 a month subscription fees. But if you're not into flying, then there are lots of other things to do. There is a large social aspect to ATC - amongst both your own squadron, and others within the country. There are a lot of sporting events, as well as range shooting. We do a lot of camps and expeditions of varying sizes. In the summer holidays, our squadron went on an expedition to Swazilan (a small country in South Africa) To provide fresh, running water to a poor rural community. We stayed there for a month, and had to each raise £1000 to go. I was one of the lucky 15 that went, and it was the experience of a lifetime. I fully recommend the ATC to everyone, but it is a uniformed group, and requires a lot of commitment and discipline - especially when doing such activities as drill or lessons.


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                          16.11.2000 20:05
                          Very helpful



                          We are the best there is. 438 squadron is rated the best squadron there is. I know that because I am in that squadron. Air Training Corps is a voluntary youth organisation supported by the Royal Air Force so that means that we have to wear uniform. With almost 50 members in own squadron and 50,000 members in Southeast, aged from 13 to 22 years, within over 1,000 Squadrons, the ATC is the world's largest youth air training organisation. A volunteer Staff of nearly 10,000 plus 5,000 Civilian Committee Members supports the Cadets. know the best and Join the best squadron. We do a lot of things like fly planes like bulldogs and tonnes more. We camp, learn how to survive in the woods. Skills test, learn to repair cars. We also use Radio. Learn first aid how to use a computer. We also have a band that includes glockenspiels, drums, trumpet and bass drum. I have been in the ATC since 16th october 1998 during that time I have been on many camps. I have flew many planes like bulldogs and lot more. I enjoy the ATC and turn up every night. That is Tuesday, Wednesday (band night) and Friday.


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                            27.08.2000 05:25
                            Very helpful
                            1 Comment



                            Ever agonized over which activities to encourage your teenager to take up? Especially, because you have to pay the bus fare or you have to drive the 'taxi' and you have to pay membership fees and the weekly dues. And you get very little out of it. Well, the best thing we have found is the A.T.C. Cadets (Air Training Corps). You may have Army Cadets near you. - They take youngsters from 13-19 years of age.(Probationers can attend from age 12). - Girls and boys can join. - Uniform is FREE - three types - Combat greens (shirt, jumper, trousers, boots) Working Blue shirt )plus jumper, No. 1 Wedgwood Blue shirt)trousers and shoes Beret, badge and brassard. My 13-yr. old son joined just under a year ago and loves it. He has been on two 'exercises' - involving camping from Friday to Sunday (cost £7)complete with night exercises - (1) they had to find a 'bomb' (which was an egg!), work out the code to de-fuse it; and (2) they had to find a 'missing pilot', apply First Aid and (pretending he had broken legs) carry him 100 metres on a stretcher made out of their combat jackets. (3) Orienteering/obstacle course. He could have gone on a weeklong (cost £17) visit to an RAF Station, but this Spring/Summer it was during the school term and around exam time. So, if they miss one of these activity weeks (they usually occur 3-4 times a year) those cadets who missed the one-week break, had the opportunity to travel one weekend to go flying. He even loves attending the jumble sales and summer fetes to raise funds. Twice a week cheap, supervised childcare with education thrown in and time back for yourself/yourselves! Great. You know where they are at night, and that they are not getting up to mischief. Also, all the years you've tried to teach them respect for others comes to fruition, because military protocol
                            insists on it. Remember all those oldies saying, "they should never have done away with National Service". Now I know what they meant! To the kids it is interesting and exciting stuff and their progress is marked by promotion. Promotion only comes with certain exam/tests which appear to be geared to their age and ability and are achievable. My son came home this week with a 'First Class Cadet' emblem to sew on his uniform. (If there is any bad behaviour at home, he is grounded and stopped going to ATC, otherwise promotion would have been quicker.)


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                            Air Training Corps is a voluntary youth organization supported by the Royal Air Force. With almost 49,000 members, aged from 13 to 22 years, within over 1,000 Squadrons, the ATC is the world's largest youth air training organization.

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