CFAV PI

What do I need to know?

I have decided to change direction and have joined the ACF as CFAV or PI. I am currently in the OTC but after 3yrs have decided that I am no longer getting anything from it and frankly, I’ve wasted at least a year due to unfortunately being part of one of the lowest funded OTC’s in the UK.

I hoping that being a CFAV will give me a chance to continue learning and teaching without going Regs/Reserves.

So, from the CFAV’s out there, what would you like to have known before you joined and what have you learnt since joining.
 
What do I need to know?

I have decided to change direction and have joined the ACF as CFAV or PI. I am currently in the OTC but after 3yrs have decided that I am no longer getting anything from it and frankly, I’ve wasted at least a year due to unfortunately being part of one of the lowest funded OTC’s in the UK.

I hoping that being a CFAV will give me a chance to continue learning and teaching without going Regs/Reserves.

So, from the CFAV’s out there, what would you like to have known before you joined and what have you learnt since joining.

Completely different things with different objectives...
 
The ACF is basically a bit of light hearted fun, its definately not the same, with the Regs and even Reserves their more demands with regards to comittments, expectations, demands, physically fitness, etc

In the ACF you don't have to be even basic fit or do CFTs etc,

Just do reserves, you'll get as much out as you put in, with the ACF its more of a case your doing it for the kids, a just and noble cause altogether and it certainly has its place within the volunteering society, the only thing I have against all cadet organisations is encouraging them to go into the armed forces etc, I'd rather they see the benefits than decide, it's in no way a recruiting platform...
 

Troy

LE
Exactly right. Cadets is a youth group and you would be a youth leader. It's heavily restricted by safety concerns and protocols which reduces the amount of "exciting" stuff they can do. It's almost like they have to be wrapped in cotton wool sometimes.

To go out and do anything with them requires you to be qualified in that thing. Be it canoeing, sailing, or whatever. So any AT tends to be organised centrally and done on a company level by the few qualified people available. Consent forms are required from parents/guardians for just about everything or the cadets can't go. Even a night away from home at the detachment. Virtually all activities have to be planned and risk assessed and hardly anything can be impromptu. Even command tasks can require a first aider to be present if the cadets are higher than ground level. OK - the precise details can vary a bit, but I have hugely understated this and haven't exaggerated in the slightest.

Often, resources are low so cadets have to take their turn for a rifle for WHT or drill. So there can be many frustrations. Yet somehow you have to train up youngsters enough that they can become cadet NCOs and give tuition to other cadets.

It's a challenge that not every CFAV can manage. A local detachment used to parade with forty plus cadets regularly. After a Detachment CO change that went down to just six.

Behind the scenes, away from the cadets, between the adults you'll encounter all sorts of attitudes. CFAVs come from all walks of life; Ex-army or TA, total civvie, or just former cadets. Although there is a military theme, you have to remember it's firstly a youth organisation, like the scouts, and you are a youth worker. You are looking after other people's kids and they need to have trust in you. The kids can't be hurt, harmed, bullied or anything. But kept happy enough to keep coming back.
 
What do I need to know?

I have decided to change direction and have joined the ACF as CFAV or PI. I am currently in the OTC but after 3yrs have decided that I am no longer getting anything from it and frankly, I’ve wasted at least a year due to unfortunately being part of one of the lowest funded OTC’s in the UK.

I hoping that being a CFAV will give me a chance to continue learning and teaching without going Regs/Reserves.

So, from the CFAV’s out there, what would you like to have known before you joined and what have you learnt since joining.

Personally when I read you didn't get anything out of the OTC I would almost consider it a wah.

You could have spent 3 years in the reserves at the same time as uni when you realised you were wasting time.

As a reservist we trained with the OTC on joint exercises as well.
 
What do I need to know?

In an attempt to be helpful, my 2p's worth . My experience will not be the same as yours as I came from the Army into the ACF, but in no particular order.

1. Remember, it's not the Army. Some people will find it confusing because although you're paid by the Army, clothed by the Army, use Army Camps and Training Areas, Army Ranks and Army supplied weapons and ammunition in accordance with Army publications it's still a Youth Club.

2. Shut the fuck up about your military experiences. Only the really feeble minded are impressed by lamp swinging, war stories of Otterburn or "how you did it in XXXX Unit". The most credible CFAVs I've met care only about how well you can teach life skills through the medium of Army themed training; your time as Section 2ic in Bumbleforth UTOC means nothing to anyone apart from you. That said, keep yourself credible and your standards up - don't pitch up to an FTX with only a spare pair of socks and half a water bottle because "It's only Cadets". The standard is low enough without others joining in - and the Cadets will notice.

3. Watch who actually does the work. Just like the Army, just because someone is dripping in Gucci gear, it doesn't actually follow that they're any good. Some of the best CFAVs of my acquaintance are, frankly, fat and unmilitary but my God do they dig out when you need someone to look after an ill child. That bloke smothered in Crye however, is often nowhere to be seen. A good combat indicator is that when a CFAV goes around saying "I do warfare, not welfare!", - that person will later prove themselves to be a weapons grade, copper bottomed, ocean going tip toucher who falls apart when questioned on their actual knowledge of warfare. Or indeed, welfare. Or anything.

4. Does it directly help kids? If not, fuck it off at the high point. Ranges, first aid, drill, etc are fabulous, get right amongst it and deliver it as best you can. Pointless paperwork, admin that should be completed by Permanent Staff, drinks receptions for a minor nobody can be picked up by those who are either paid full time or just like wearing uniforms. There's loads of them.

5. The kids aren't stupid. There's this odd belief amongst some CFAVs that the Cadets are an amorphous, obedient mass of humanity who willingly accept whatever you tell them, no matter how outrageous or made up on the spot it is. That is incorrect and within minutes of you appearing on their radar they will have found your FB profile, your Twitter handle and Snapchatted each other about your mannerisms and if you are any good or not, as well as googling your more outrageous claims to check if they are true. Do not be suprised to walk around a corner having delivered what you thought was a good lesson to find impressions of you being less than complimentary. Don't take it personally - and that's just the other CFAVs.

Enjoy, it's an alright hobby.
 
I am CFAV and I really enjoy it, I enjoy spending time with th kids and helping them learn skills and become life skill, well rounded young adults. Its hard work sometimes when they are poorly/have Homelife troubles/relationship issues etc because they are children and are looking to you to guide them.
If you want to join so you can 'be in the army' then this isn't for you, but if you want to join to have fun, meet amazing people (other fav's and young adults) and learn new thing plus get to go on the odd shoot/exercise then you will have a great career as a CFAV.
 

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