Youngsters shape their own futures

Talking Point | Published:

Read today's Talking Point column from Sam Billingham

In 1908 the title Cadet Force was introduced.

The volunteers became the Territorial Army and administration of the Cadet Force was taken over by the Territorial Army Associations.

The Army Cadet Force celebrated its 100th anniversary with a review of the ACT and BCCF in the grounds of Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty The Queen and his Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

2010 saw the Cadet movement celebrating its 150th anniversary with over 150 events in communities up and down the country.

Today, the ACT is one of the UKs oldest, largest and most successful youth organisations and in November 2018 my daughter joined our local detachment.

For me, you could say one of the mistakes I have made as a parent, with all good intentions, was buying a mobile phone. My reasoning behind this decision, which seemed a good idea at the time, was if she needed to contact me during one of her many sleep overs, then a mobile phone was the best way forward.

I guess you could say she was “at that age”, quickly approaching the start of those teenage years, you know where as a parent you still want them to be your babies very much so but on the other hand you want them to let go of the apron strings and become independent, no matter how much that might hurt you.

During her short 13 years my daughter has wanted to do nothing more than follow in her Grandfather's steps.


My father joined the Army at 17 and a half as a trooper in the 165th Royal Lancers and as a father figure in her life, my daughter often talked about joining the Army.

In all honesty I thought this would be a passing faze but before I knew it we were sitting in Staff Swider’s office in Brockmoor.

I am sure I am one of those parents who moan about our children having nothing to do but without realising there are things for them to do on our doorstep.

The Army Cadet Force (ACF) has nearly 40,000 cadets in more than 1,600 detachments and I am proud my daughter is one of those cadets.


Becoming an Army Cadet has heaps of benefits.

The most obvious being that they get to take part in loads of exciting and challenging activities such as fieldcraft, adventurous training, first aid, music, sports and shooting.

Through cadet training valuable qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, BTEC First Diploma in Public Services or Music or the ILM Certificate in Team Leading can be gained, all fantastic life skills.

To join the ACT you need to be at least aged 12 and in year 8 at school, the kit is provided and there is no joining fee.

Let’s be honest, we moan about the young people of today so why not give them an opportunity where they can be the best version of themselves and help shape their own future.


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