For over 150 years, young people across the country have been developing their personal, emotional and physical skills – while having a lot of fun – as army cadets. Eynsham has its own detachment – and has done since 2019 – and the cadets are soon to welcome some new equipment that will help them learn new skills and get more out of their time with the group.
Eynsham Army Cadets is one of the local organisations to have successfully applied for a Parish Council grant. The detachment has received £400, which will cover the cost of new training aids. The detachment is run by 2nd Lieutenant Mark Thompson of the Oxfordshire ‘Rifles’ and he’s thrilled to have been able to afford the equipment, confident it will make a big difference to the experience.
“Everyone learns differently and these training aids help the cadets get more ‘hands-on’ when learning skills, as they support tactile, visual and kinaesthetic learners,” Lt. Thompson explains. “Having training aids also helps us cover more lessons at our weekly Eynsham sessions, otherwise cadets have to wait until the weekend training events. Those only happen every three months.”
Gaining skills and challenging limits are two of the most valuable benefits of being a cadet, says Lt. Thompson. He spent five years as a cadet before becoming an instructor. Over his 12 years leading cadet detachments he has observed first-hand the positive impact it has on the young people who attend.
“Being a cadet provides experiences that no other organisation could and the adventurous training we do – like climbing or kayaking – helps to take people to the edge of their comfort zones. It’s challenging, but that’s when personal development starts,” he says.
Cadets are also supported to develop leadership skills and take on leadership positions, as well as being taught practical skills such as first aid and discipline both with and without a weapon. “I really enjoy watching how the cadets develop during their time with us. It’s why I keep doing it. It’s great to be able to share in their journey and help them along the way,” says Lt. Thompson.
Being an army cadet isn’t only for people with an interest in joining the army. The organisation is more like an adventurous alternative to Scouts and helps those aged 12-18 gain a range of key skills and learn more about themselves, all of which is valuable no matter what profession they ultimately end up in.
Lt. Thompson is always keen to welcome some new recruits in the Eynsham detachment and encourages anyone with an interest to join them on Thursday evening (7pm-9pm at the Village Hall) to find out more.