When I’m not climbing mountains…..

A question I have been asked numerous times over the last couple of weeks is “what are you going to do after you’ve finished the challenge project?”. For the first couple of days, sleep is very much on my agenda, along with some rest for my continually aching body. But in all seriousness, the project has taken up such a huge part of my life over the last 16 months, and I knew that I needed something new for when I finished.

As some of you will know I applied to be an Army Cadet Force instructor, thinking it would take a while for all the paper work to go through, and should be looking at starting at the end of the summer – working well for picking up speed by October when the challenge project is due to finish. However, that plan backfired slightly, and I started my instructor training in March – the very same month I needed as many evenings free as possible to complete the BMF challenge. Luckily I have pretty good time management and a bloody stubborn determination.For anyone who doesn’t know, the ACF is one of the oldest youth organisations in the UK, offering training & experience around a military theme to young people aged 12 – 18, promoting achievement, discipline, and good citizenship. Their motto of To Inspire To Achieve runs through everything they do. And as an adult instructor my role will be to inspire the cadets to achieve across a multitude of activities covering the following areas: Drill and Turnout, Military Knowledge, Fieldcraft, Skill at Arms, Shooting, Map & Compass, Expedition Training, First Aid, Physical Training and Cadet in the Community.

Based in Stockport as part of 3 Company, we currently have our training on a Monday evening, while getting involved with detachment activities on a Thursday evening. As part of said training, we had our first camp at the weekend. This weekend was 3 Company’s Battle Camp, where cadets got to put into practice everything they’d learnt over the previous months. We attended as trainee instructors, spending a decent amount of time learning about the rifle the cadets use, followed by an overnight exercise. We were the enemy, being used for ambush tactics, defensive techniques, as well as attack procedures. I also got experience my first night in a basha (basically a poncho thrown over some string to create a makeshift tent, but without the tent).

Whilst it was freezing & pretty uncomfortable overnight, the weekend was bloody awesome – getting in some really good training for us, while giving the cadets a great opportunity to hone their newly acquired skills.

New Adult Instructor recruits from 3 Coy, Greater Manchester ACF

I have to say that the team of new recruits is quite the motley crew if ever I saw one, but a top group of people nonetheless. We’re made up of ex-cadets, ex-serving soldiers, parents of current cadets and some (like me) with no previous military or cadet experience.

The day after the weekend before and my body is aching, cuts & bruises galore, but have a real sense of achievement – and one that can only get better after seeing the smiles on the faces of so many young people. After all, that’s one of the reasons I joined, to support young people realise their potential & become great members of society.

Right, enough chat. Time to get to the detachment. I may have spent all weekend with them, but that doesn’t mean I get out of Monday night training!


Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge


About benjonlambert

Mountain climber, marathon runner, Olympic torchbearer & ACF instructor amongst other things: "Success never came to those who weren't ready for a challenge"
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