Thirty seven cadets and adult leaders from 25 ACF counties/battalions gathered at Ballykinler Camp in Northern Ireland from 26th March to 1st April for a special Duke of Edinburgh’s Award residential training event organised to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Cpl Ross Kay reports.
On the 26th of March myself and Sgt Declan McKenna were given the opportunity to go to Northern Ireland for the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and also to do our Young Leaders Award which can be used for the residential section for our Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Our accommodation was in Ballykinler Army barracks. We were joined by cadets and young adults from the army cadets from all over Britain.
The course consist of two days of leaderships training. There was 3 classes of 12 candidates and there was three senior officers in each of the classrooms. On the first night we decide as a collective to do our own ice breaker; for all of us this really helped as we connected as a group quicker.
One of our main goals was to turn all of us from a group to a team where we could work together to achieve the same goal.
After the two days of leadership training in the classrooms we went away to do adventure training which consisted of team building tasks where we would have to communicate and work as a team. This was a different experience as I was working with people I barely knew and we were all unaware of our strengths and weaknesses. We soon realised if we all contributed the same amount of effort the task itself would become easier. On the fourth day we did rock climbing and mountain biking and this allowed everyone to talk more and interact with everyone else. We were never in the same group twice; we kept changing and I liked that idea as I was able to get to know everyone on the course that little bit better.
On the fifth day went hiking up Slieve Donard which is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland. Once we got up to the top the views were breathtaking qnd we were able to get lots of pictures not just of the mountain but throughout the full trip.
After the hike that day we had a dinner night to celebrate everyone’s achievements and the local battalion’s band play to us whilst there was a slide show showing pictures of everyone throughout the week. There was a lot of pictures taken that night and the people I met will remain friends for a very long time. I thought all the senior officers that made the course possible were really good and the people I met made the experience better and I’d recommend that if you are able to sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – then do it now.
Group picture credit: Capt Michael Nolan