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Life as an Air Cadet
Air Training Corps (ATC)
Member Name: jesperado
Air Training Corps (ATC)
Advantages: Social, fun and educational
Disadvantages: Not to everyone's tastes but I liked it!
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.
Summary: A really great organisation for young people