Our summer camps are one of the highlights of the Sea Cadets Experience, so we went behind the scenes to sample the adventure!
Our week-long area summer camps were up and running across the country this summer. Early August saw 210 Eastern Area cadets and volunteers enjoy a fun-filled week of learning and development at SCTC Raleigh. An incredible 1,860 cadet boating hours were completed during the week, while 233 cadet qualifications were achieved in everything from basic campcraft and mountain biking to seamanship and sailing – all providing “a huge push for some units who just don’t have access to some of the facilities we hosted on our camp,” explains Area Training Officer, Sub Lieutenant Sean Stevens.
Sean said he was “immensely proud of the family atmosphere we created through the week”.
Able Cadet Bracken, 15, from Long Eaton Unit, was in full agreement: “Staying at HMS Raleigh felt like being at home surrounded by friends. The instructors were so encouraging and always happy to give out boat snacks!” For Bracken, the highlights were not just the activities, including planning and navigating a day sail to Barn Pool Beach, but the day-to-day camaraderie, such as “hiking out to the boats and having races to see who could get to the pontoon quicker!”
Sean even managed to enlist the help of the Royal Navy catering recruitment team, who gave a session to cadets in the style of TV show Ready, Steady, Cook! This close engagement with navy personnel was a feature of the week, with Bracken grateful for the “insight into what life might be like in initial training”.
As well as all the new qualifications gained, an impressive number even had new ranks by the end of the week, thanks to the Advancement Boards that are yet another benefit of our summer camps.All cadets were united in their huge appreciation of the volunteers, who worked tirelessly to provide constant support and advice during an unforgettable week. AC Bracken summed it up this way: “Summer camp allowed me to embrace new friendships and be proud of who I am.”
Royal Marines Cadets camps can be even tougher for volunteers – particularly when they have to be out in the field for days on end, or up at 3am to act as ‘prey’ for a dawn cadet attack! We dropped in on the Alpha Company cadets of South West Area during their summer training at Nesscliffe Camp in Shropshire, where the trainees included young people sampling a taste of the RMC experience.
Cadet Estelle, 14, enjoyed it so much she became a Marine Cadet Recruit the next month. “I got to mix with lots of new people and make new friends,” she says. Cadets particularly loved the three days of tactical instruction, finishing in the excitement of a ‘contact and ambush’ battle simulation. “My favourite part was attacking the recce troop when blank firing, and the company attack at the end was fun and a great experience,” said Estelle. “Everyone was very supportive of sea cadets who were new and trying out RMC – it made me want to transfer to be a royal marines cadet!”
Will Elliott, Volunteer and Business Support Manager for South West, added: “Using the skills learned at detachments in the situations they were intended for really boosts cadets’ engagement.” After an intense week, some tired cadets were re-energised by an entertaining ‘potted sports’ competition, where they savoured the chance to ‘freshen up’ a few instructors with some ice-cold water!
BZ to all the cadets and volunteers who made the 2023 summer camps such a success.
Eastern Area Summer Camp: Morgan Cartlidge (Tin and Copper)
RMC Summer Camp: Doc Ward Photography
Proud to parade
The National Trafalgar Day Parade is one of our biggest events. Some of those who were there share their experiences of taking part
Making a splash
We headed down to the National Combined Regatta at London’s Royal Victoria Docks to chat to some of the cadets, volunteers and staff who were there