Nijmegan March - Advice for cadets

#1
Here goes...

We have an AI Sergeant in our detachment, and he wants all of the NCOs to do the Nijmegan march next year. Unfortunately he isn't being realistic, and I don't think he will ever realise how unrealistic it is until it fails miserably...

Main points needed for advice:

- He wants only the NCOs to take part, excluding anyone else that is fit enough but not an NCO, even though there are a few better suited to the task.
- For every single NCO, the march takes place in the middle of school or college exams, I don't want him to start persuading anyone that this is more important because it's for charity... There are better ways to fundraise with our resources.
- We're being made to do it in green kit for some reason, even though we've been measured up for MTP and should have been issued it by then, which means everyone will need a set of black boots that should be suited to walking long distances, will issue boots + insoles + bridgdale's be good enough?
- We've been told to wear issue bergans, and that we have to carry 40kg of kit even though we have a minivan, there is no requirement to carry this much kit, and it doesn't seem safe, especially for the smaller NCOs.
- He thinks we should do the gold march, 35 miles a day... again this doesn't seem like a sensible goal for 17 year-olds unless they're naturally physically fit, which some NCOs are, but most are not.
- The dropout rate is somewhere around 25% so county money (being used to subsidise the trip) will be wasted on a few cadets.

This sounds like we're a bunch of lazy gits, which we are, regardless, although some would be able to manage it, I don't think many could.

This would also be a Sergeant that walks around with his hands in his pockets and his beret looking like a flying saucer.

Any advice on the above would be much appreciated, I'm trying to save cadets time in being "persuaded" in to something they don't want to do, along with preventing a waste of other people's money and time.

Cheers, Dobber.
 
#2
Has your County CoC actually agreed to it, considering you say next year and not this one? And I'm not too sure from your post - are you a cadet or another AI?
 
#3
I'm not sure if any of what i'm going to say is any use, but i'll say it anyway. Having completed this march in 2007 as an Air Cadet, I am aware of the preparation that goes into it. I'll explain how Kent wing approached the situation and maybe you could extract things that would be helpful. Something that they put on was a taster weekend the previous year of the march (around christmas time), this gave people an idea of what the march would entail, team skills, foot care, equipment checks, walking and so on. This could be something you could use, to make sure you dont waste time of those that don't fully understand the concept of it. After this we started training in the January, setting up 1 weekend everyone month where we upped the distances covered over the weekends, because of this, none of us dropped out as we were all physically and mentally prepared for the march (it is mentally tough walking for such a long time and distances). Because we were all under 18, we did not have to carry any weight, however we did put out 5 teams, and those who stayed in the military base and were walking as part of the military contigent had to obey the guidelines. They also had to march in combats, with beret on, stable belt and combat boots. So unless you are marching as part of the military contingent, the clothes you wear do not matter. For example my team and one other stayed in a local gym and wore OGs and white tshirts for the 4 days of marching. I definitely agree with the weigh carrying poiny, 40kg is a lot of weight. Sorry if this is long winded and totally not the answer you was after, but as I said, thought i'd share my experienced on how we did it, and maybe it would help. Let me know.
Connor
 
#4
County hasn't agreed to it yet, I'm hoping it will be stopped/sorted there, but last time I sent a letter to County concerning new kit, three months ago, I didn't get a reply.

I'm a cadet NCO, if it helps.
 
#5
When The local ATC did it a few years ago it was own boots, Own day sack with water proofs in it and all that crap you kids carry, and a Sqn T-Shirt Instead of Cs95 shirt, This Ai sounds like a cock, as much as most ACF think. they are just kids
 
#9
Right, advice is based on my Company, in the West Mids, your experience could, and probably will vary, with regard to how det staff operate.

Your CSM is there for concerns like this. He should be sharing that with the 2ic (responsible for staff - and therefore this issue) and the CO, who will making the case to HQ. Concerns about exams are perfectly valid, remember family->work/school->ACF. From speaking to other County staff at the CTC, etc. Nijm is one of those things that is talked about, but happens very rarely. It's a *lot* of work (outlined nicely above).
 
#10
No matter what boots you use , your feet will be in bits by the end of day 2 , because you are walking 25 km /day on cobbled roads . Brufen , needle and thread , loads of fresh socks and sticking plasters will all help , but it will still hurt . If you need a medic , try to find an American one , they have loads of good stuff with them , lots of sympathy and their girl medics are very pretty .
 
#11
- We've been told to wear issue bergans, and that we have to carry 40kg of kit
Mind, if one of the cadets passes out due to the heat, lack of sleep or whatever the whole team could be pulled from the march because of "irresponsible behaviour". Kids doing Nijmegen only need to carry their food/drinks/plasters.

I don't see why he'd push it with the distance. It's 40K for kids aged 16-18. If they don't train or are otherwise unfit I'd stick to the 40K. That should be managable for everybody.
 
#12
Here goes...

We have an AI Sergeant in our detachment, and he wants all of the NCOs to do the Nijmegan march next year. Unfortunately he isn't being realistic, and I don't think he will ever realise how unrealistic it is until it fails miserably...

Main points needed for advice:

- He wants only the NCOs to take part, excluding anyone else that is fit enough but not an NCO, even though there are a few better suited to the task.
- For every single NCO, the march takes place in the middle of school or college exams, I don't want him to start persuading anyone that this is more important because it's for charity... There are better ways to fundraise with our resources.
- We're being made to do it in green kit for some reason, even though we've been measured up for MTP and should have been issued it by then, which means everyone will need a set of black boots that should be suited to walking long distances, will issue boots + insoles + bridgdale's be good enough?
- We've been told to wear issue bergans, and that we have to carry 40kg of kit even though we have a minivan, there is no requirement to carry this much kit, and it doesn't seem safe, especially for the smaller NCOs.
- He thinks we should do the gold march, 35 miles a day... again this doesn't seem like a sensible goal for 17 year-olds unless they're naturally physically fit, which some NCOs are, but most are not.
- The dropout rate is somewhere around 25% so county money (being used to subsidise the trip) will be wasted on a few cadets.

This sounds like we're a bunch of lazy gits, which we are, regardless, although some would be able to manage it, I don't think many could.

This would also be a Sergeant that walks around with his hands in his pockets and his beret looking like a flying saucer.

Any advice on the above would be much appreciated, I'm trying to save cadets time in being "persuaded" in to something they don't want to do, along with preventing a waste of other people's money and time.

Cheers, Dobber.
If things have not changed, their military march requires 10 Kg of kit and they do only the 40Km/day, the green label was applied. 40Kg is dangerously lunatic for all bar a few very fit cadets, endov. Roads pound feet.
.

This is a report from a cedet who attended the 2011, shamelessly lifted from the Hants and IoW site: (Note the age comment, I suspect lower limit may be 16yrs)

The first time I heard of the Nijmegen marches was last year when two senior cadets were discuss it one night during NAAFI at my troop. At that time I was unfortunately too young to go. In December 2010 my sergeant asked our troop if anyone was interested in going to Nijmegen in July 2011. Being the correct age this time I put my name down to go and hoped I would get a place.
The training started in January which consisted of; lessons in nutrition, foot care and prevention tape appliance. On the Saturday afternoon we set off on our first march of many more to come. That afternoon we did roughly 10km but at the time it felt like we had walked a mini-marathon as our bodies were not used to walking that distance, at the pace we did. I then attend several other training sessions which gradually built up the distance we covered, to prepare us for what we were going to be doing in Nijmegen.
In April I went to the qualifier march at Cosford were we marched 40km a day for two days. I found this march really enjoyable it gave you a feel of what Nijmegen would be like. It was also a well deserved break from walked round the range roads, as you got to meet people from all over the country and world. In May I was going to do the Wellingborough marches, which is similar to the Cosford marches, unfortunately I was unable to attend this due to transport issues. Our training session in June also got cancelled due to a company training weekend, which I attend instead. I maintained my level of fitness by attending gym sessions and walking more places than catching a bus, which was nothing compared to the distance cover in Nijmegen.
Finally the time to go to Nijmegen arrived. I was incredibly nervous, despite all the training I had taken part in I was still unsure of what to expect and whether I would be able to complete the 160km course. We left late on Friday evening from Millbrook TA centre and began our 12 hour coach journey to Heumensoord Camp. When we arrived at the camp, it was totally different to how I had imagined it. We spent the first three days in the town where we could look round the shops and buy souvenirs for family and friends back home, before we began the marches, on the Tuesday.
The morning of the marches the team was buzzing to get started and the atmosphere of the town was electric. Trying to explain what the four day marches are like is hard task because I believe you will not fully understand until you have been there and experienced it for yourself. Getting up in the early hours of the morning to embark on a gruelling day of marching knowing that you’re going to blisters is all worth it in the end. Not only do you get a medal and a march past but you get a great sense of achievement and feeling of pride knowing that you have completed the course that seven months ago you would not have even got half way round on the first day. Every day there are children at 4am outside the gates of Heumensoord camp. The streets you march along are lined with civilians cheering you on, offering you sweets, drinks and other refreshment. This gives you a great amount of encouragement to keep going. Without them the team’s morale would have been depleted. On the last day our team was extremely privileged and honoured to meet the GOC, we even got our photo taken with him.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Nijmegen despite all the aches, pains and blisters I would do it all again. I also would recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity to go, because you will never fully appreciate what Nijmegen is like until you have experienced it for yourself, it also a great achievement.
 
#13
Sounds like your AI Sgt nees a bit one-to-one counselling from your County HQ Staff! To kick start this he/she needs the support from your Coy Comdr, permission from County HQ, consent from Parents or Guardians and more importanly, the willing consent of the individuals he is encouraging to take on this monumental task! Sounds like he's ex Marine/Para trying to achieve his failures through sucess with Cadets!

Regarding the clash with School exam prep and training; for me there is no contest - school exams and academic qualifications come head and shoulders above anything the ACF may wish you to achieve!

PM me if you wish to chat further.
 
#15
I did this march as an air cadet back in.......1969. I was 13 years old at the time. Our preparation was traveling to what was a transit camp at Shornecliffe/Cheriton every other weekend on a Friday afternoon/evening and then marching around Kent all day on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sunday afternoon was the train back to West Drayton near Heathrow airport. The MOD used to give us train warrents. As the march got closer, we started going every weekend.

When we did the march, we were split into two teams. A military team and a civilian team. I was in the military team and we march in uniform with webbing. It was the old 38 patt webbing. It don't remember the weight now but it wasn't weighted down much. It was pretty hard work but I don't recall anybody dropping out. I remember the instructor was an old boy, old to us anyway, called Mr Flood who oversaw the training. He swore by drinking hot tea. Even on a boiling day, we drank hot tea. Stopped you getting stomach cramps by cooling your stomach too quickly but kept you nice and hydrated. Seemed to work for us kids although I never heard of it when I was in the mob?

It was of course, an extremely strenuous year and needed a lot of time and commitment. It's not to be undertaken lightly. Of course, 43 years later, who knows what it's like now?
 
#16
Here goes...

We have an AI Sergeant in our detachment, and he wants all of the NCOs to do the Nijmegan march next year. Unfortunately he isn't being realistic, and I don't think he will ever realise how unrealistic it is until it fails miserably...

.
My Advice? Tell him to feck off!

The 35 mile Gold March is done by those who devote their lives to this kind of event. Has he any idea of the ammount of training you would need?? The admin support to conduct the training safely and legally - not to mention the hoops that would have to be jumped through to get you guys out of the Country! As for 40kg - why??

As I said, feck him off and concentrate on your exam prep. Cadet achievements are merely complementary to a CV full of good GCSE/A Level passes.
 
#18
Im sorry, Im all for cadets and enthusiasm and that sort of thing but this sounds like someone is having a laugh at someones expense.

"We're being made to do it in green kit for some reason, even though we've been measured up for MTP and should have been issued it by then, which means everyone will need a set of black boots that should be suited to walking long distances, will issue boots + insoles + bridgdale's be good enough!"
 
#19
Mininum age for cadets 16 at the start of the march ,no weight apart from personal kit water in a daysack until over 18 , training needs to be at least every two weeks with a full weekend about three times followed by either Cosford or Gareloch Head as qualifiers, this muppet hasn't got a clue and he will also need Dip Clearance to go to the NL.
 
#20
How times change. I first did Nijmegen in 1973 as a 13 year old; 40km x 4 days with 20Kg pack. I repeated this at 14, 15 and 16. All wearing leather soled boots, as were the rest of the team of similar ages.

I'll admit we trained well for each year, starting with 1 day 15 milers and building up to several 2 day weekend 25 - 30 milers with a three day 75 mile qualifying event (Windsor Great March).

Sure, we picked up blisters and we certainly ached, but we coped without iPods, Meindls and Bridgedales.
 

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