Young people love adventure and activity, especially when it is organised, structured and challenging. Parents equally like to see their young people growing and developing in a safe structured environment.

The Army Cadet Force (ACF) is a National Youth Organisation that offers exactly those things plus a great deal more. The ACF has a proud history stretching back to 1859, many of Britain’s leading Military heads and leading personalities have started their careers as a Cadet.

Today’s ACF is a modern fully inclusive and dynamic National Youth Organisation for boys and girls aged 12 yrs. (year 8) to below their 18th birthday. However, those who are 18plus can join as an adult volunteer enabling them to still have all the fun of membership with a bonus of learned leadership and teamwork skills that look great on a CV or a University application.

Nationally the ACF has more than 41000 cadets in 1600 plus detachments, including the one in Durham City and others across the entire County. As Youth clubs go this is possibly the biggest and certainly one of the best. Activities include adventure activities such as: rock climbing, mountain biking, archery, abseiling, clay Pidgeon shooting, shooting, and kayaking to name a few plus a whole range of sporting activity with local and National Competitions to take part in all designed to build strength and develop stamina. Army Cadets do get down and dirty in the mud and dust but all activities are designed to build character and team spirit and develop confidence that will transfer into adult life, within the Army or in civilian life.

The Durham ACF has 41 Units, with over 850 young members, whilst not serving members of the British Army cadets do enjoy many activities that are a preparation for eventual membership, for those who wish to join this is a fine way to start. However, all that you need to join the ACF is the will to have a lot of fun making whilst new friends and a pair of strong boots. ACF cadets are able to attend an annual camp at one of the specially prepared Services bases or Army training units, in 2015 Durham 105 cadets plus 19 staff members went to RAF St Mawgan during the half term holiday where they had a fabulous time.

An additional bonus, for those who need one, is the chance to win personal Bronze, Silver and Gold by undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) this is something that the ACF is keen to help with, and cadet activities can even count towards proper qualifications like BTEC First Diplomas, which are equivalent to four GCSEs.

Army Cadet training is training for life, building self-respect, independence combined with team work, fitness, and a prospect of a fine a career in good time. For any youngster with an eye on the future the ACF is a very smart move.



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