Parent power fuels Cadet membership drive

Young people sought for action-packed Army cadet roles.
Young people sought for action-packed Army cadet roles.

Tired of hearing your teenager say ‘I’m bored’?

Help is at hand as the Army Cadet Force launches its latest membership drive with an action-packed agenda available in Detachments right across Northern Ireland.

From boredom-busting outdoor adventure to confidence-building accreditations, becoming a Cadet may help today’s teenagers to break away from social networking to create a new network of friends, gaining skills, tackling real life challenges and

discovering hidden talents and strengths in the process.

As Cadet Detachments across the Province prepare to roll out the welcome mat, inviting newcomers to come along for a look-see, local Cadet mums have been getting behind the campaign.

Caroline Dwyer whose children, Harry and Emily, are Army Cadets is enthusiastic about the benefits. She says, “They learn lots of skills, they go away to Camp, they travel to England, they make loads of friends and they’re always learning

something...they just have a brilliant time. I tell all my friends to give it a go for their kids.”

While the Cadet movement offers its members a vast array of educational attainments and skills development, it’s a far cry from school life, as Colonel Keith Dowell, Commandant of 2nd (NI) Battalion ACF, emphasises.

He said: “For us, it has to be fun and fulfilling in equal measure. If we don’t get the mix right, kids simply won’t come back, he says. “We pride ourselves on offering ‘serious fun’ with courses, awards and training which will instil in every Cadet a real sense of achievement. They’ll also have something significant to put on their Personal Statement as they apply for college or apply for their first jobs, but it’s all underpinned with a sense of fun and camaraderie. There’s always good craic, but the kids accomplish serious work as well, learning something new every week and stretching themselves to build personal confidence as a member of a supportive group of friends.

“No-one can be good at everything, but we believe that everyone can be good at something and our hugely committed Adult Instructors make sure that every one of the Cadets under their care has the encouragement and opportunity to shine. That’s

an approach which parents really appreciate.”

For many parents a key attraction of the cadet movement is opening the door on a host of opportunities which would otherwise prove costly. From completing the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme to enjoying adventure activities such as mountain biking, climbing, abseiling and kayaking, costs are family-friendly with all activities affordable or, even better, totally free. Mums and dads may be relieved to learn that even the uniforms are free; all kids pay for is their footwear.

Cadet membership is open to boys and girls from age 12 to 18 and, right now,

Detachments are encouraging potential new members to come along and see for themselves what the Cadet movement has to offer.

Colonel Keith Dowell says, “No-one need feel nervous or awkward about turning up on their own, for we’re ready to welcome all comers and we’re determined to show that real friendships are better than virtual ones any day of the week!”

In Newtownabbey and Ballyclare Cadets meet at Rashee Road in Ballyclare at 7pm on Tuesdays; at Abbey Community College on Wednesdays at 7pm and at Glengormley High School at Abbotscroft Army Reserve Centre, Whitehouse, at 7pm on Thursdays.

To find out more about how to join or find out more about your local Detachment call 0800 730 730 or visit