Unit Annual Camp- is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Neuroleptic, Dec 24, 2005.

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  1. I have now done seven complete annual training cycles since joining the TA, and have yet to attend a Unit Annual Camp. I have, I should point out, qualified for my bounty every year. Mobilisation, basic training and career courses have accounted for a few unit camps, with the rest down to domestic and work commitments. Lately however, a few senior people have been having a "quiet word" to the effect that my repeated non-attendance for unit annual camp is bad form.

    My response to this has been to point out that my alternative annual camps have always been useful. Where possible, I've got attachments to regular units and had some useful professional experience. Even where I've been basically a glorified tea boy, I feel that I've gained something from just being in a regular environment.

    Speaking to people in my unit, I do not feel as if, apart from a few socials, I would have gained that much from the unit camps. My impression is that a lot of the training (and I accept that this may be a capbadge thing) is rather generic and one-size-fits-all. Given that most TA personnel will deploy in composite units or as individual reinforcements, rather than with their parent unit, should annual camps be unit affairs or individual training and experience opportunities?

    What do people think?
  2. Annual Camps are an excellent way of developing loyalty. While training/drinking tea with strangers may develop your personality and perhaps career, you don't feel part of a team. The proof of the pudding will be how long you keep up the commitment. In the community that develops over the Camp, you'll find that you'll get support during periods of adversity. You'll be expected to provide support in return. In all, it's a way of providing a sympathetic shoulder and extends beyond military activity.

    From your post, it seems that you are averse to attending Camp, rather than there always being a reason why you can't attend. The whole experience is supposed to engender teamwork (that's how discipline and mutual respect develop), rather than produce individuals. Why not give it a try instead of making excuses - you may actually enjoy it.
  3. Individuals don't make a team, and essentially your unit is a team and a bond of men, which gets stronger the more time you spend with each other, so of course camps should be for you regiment and not individual. Camps are experience in themselves, valuable experience I might add for the new lads coming into the Company to gel with the rest, to live together and train together, to know each other, after all I think elements are getting mobilised at company strength now for Stagging on at Basara INT'....

    Anual camps are very valuable to a unit....In my opinion anyways...

    It's also a good way of weeding out the Walts and lazy arses in the field.....:)
  4. And a further point: If the experience that you've gained from your alternative camps is genuinely useful, it's up to you to act responsibly and share your knowledge with the rest of your unit. Drill nights and weekends don't usually provide enough time to divulge detailed information from an individual. Camps do.
  5. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Generally I'd say yes you should go on Annual Camp with your unit, but there are certain proffessionals who might benifit more from training in/with other people and places. Some medical types spring to mind. The point that your unit might be making is that if you don't turn up for camp you won't be promotable.

    If you are a medic why not join the Manpower pool or 306 where they are much less worried about that sort of thing.
  6. Sign of the times....

    ..as IRs become the long term priority, there is inevitably going to be a shift in the traditional TA training concept. A 'camp' originated from the need to get everyone away together (usually for the only time in any one year) to effect some joined up training. How important is that now with courses, attachments, mobilisation, etc now readily available?. Twinning of Regular and TA units under rebalancing will make the traditional TA Camp even less relevant perhaps. I've long believed Drill nights to be a waste of time, and maybe Camps will go the same way.

    If you can get paid for going down the local Gym, it won't be long before Trade training is done on a CD or on-line, and your 15 day annual camp may be spent with your affiliated regular unit - makes a lot of sense if IRs are the currency of the future.....
  7. It's worth it to get your face known but to be honest the annual camp I went to this year wasn't the best.
    most of it was spent in our TAC.
  8. I've got to admit I agree with wingletang's point of view. My own capbadge has a habit of producing shite training for annual training, often bearing no relation to the actual job the guys do on the ground when deployed. Over the last 10 years, blokes have deployed on every Op going as IR's and even as a formed unit during Telic. All have said the same thing on their return. The training recieved from the unit has nothing to do with the jobs they've done in theatre.
    The AGC CVHQ has already started down the trend of individual camps sending 2 or 3's away depending on the requirement and the capbadge concerned ie MPS to MCTC, SPS to units with a shortfall due to leave etc, RMP to company's for an exercise or a particular task. It's only a matter of time before this will be the norm for all units albiet upto Company size which seems to be the max deployment on Ops these days. The days of Regiment/Battalion camps are fast disappearing.
  9. A quick glance at the attendance roster for my unit's last annual camp shows the names of an awful lot of 'bounty hunters'. The only time we'll see them again is for the second ITD weekend. They'll probably have made up their days in the summer with a bit of sailing or similar AT activity. Drill nights? Unit and sub-unit weekends? SHEF and equipment care meetings? Brigade study days and conferences? Forget it. They wont reappear until their next bounty is due.

    My drill night attendance is above 85% for last year (as it has been since I joined). I do more than the average number of weekends too, not to mention those meetings and SLJs that are outside the normal remit of most TA members. As a result, I know well, and am known well by most people in my unit.

    Who is letting down the team here?

    For what its worth, I dont think you can form a good team in two weeks out of 52, especially if most of those people wont see each other again for the better part of a year. It takes a lot longer and works best with consistency, co-operating together over a long period of time (not necessarily continuously though). Unfortunately, that relies on regular attendance.

    Secondly, it's nice to be in a team, but the modern TA soldier also needs to be a robust individual. I've done 2 tours now. On the first, I was the only TA person in my unit. On the second, I got called up with a few others from my TA unit. We were attached to a regular mob and, due to our differing ranks and trades didn't work together. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that the first time I saw most of them after getting off the plane at the APOD was when we got on the one to go home. How many TA units actually get called up as a whole nowadays? If they do, I'll bet they get backfilled with large numbers of people they've never clapped eyes on before.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, but I still feel my point is valid and that we need to think seriously about the future of annual camp.
  10. I've recently been promoted as a matter of fact. I very much doubt whether I will be again though due to age, as I joined late (ex-regular) and the small number of billets for the next rank up. Besides which, nobody mentioned this before my promotion. The only reason anyone noticed was because I raised the issue as I wanted to discuss this same topic within the unit. In fact one senior person said "Really, you've never done unit camp? But you always seem to be around"!
  11. Thanks for reply, but I think I've about covered it in my comments back to putteesinmyhands
  12. Another topic thread really, but a bugbear of mine for a long time has been the variable quality of training on drill nights and weekends. With properly structured training, an awful lot can be achieved in two hours. From what I hear about my unit's annual camp, a lot of time is taken up moving from one end of the country to other, unpacking kit, packing kit, etc, etc. This years jaunt had an exercise phase lasting less than 48 hours. Value for time and effort?
  13. Thanks to all that I have't replied to directly. I think this is a topic that will become increasingly important in years to come.