The Army Cadet Force (ACF) is a national, voluntary, uniformed youth organisation with origins dating back to 1860. It has a membership of almost 46,000 cadets (aged 12-18) and over 8,500 adult volunteers (aged 18-65) dispersed across some 1,700 locations all over the United Kingdom.
The ACF’s mission is to help its cadet members develop both personally and physically by providing a wide range of fun, exciting, challenging and adventurous opportunities, some of them on a military theme. The ACF actively wants its cadets to succeed. All cadets start by learning the basics before moving on to the Army Proficiency Certificate – starting at one star and moving all the way through to four. Once that is achieved, cadets can be put forward for an assessment course to be recognised as a Master Cadet.
As cadets progress through each stage they will learn more and more advanced techniques in all subjects. They will also be given a training role where they can develop their own teaching techniques by instructing the younger or less experienced cadets in their detachment.
The ACF is about fun and opportunity in a positive, structured environment that encourages the development of leadership, teamwork, initiative, self-confidence, self-discipline and a sense of responsibility. It welcomes young people and adults from all backgrounds and abilities. No cadets or adult volunteers will ever be called upon for duty with the Armed Forces, and whilst some cadets do follow a career in the Armed Forces, the Cadet Forces are not used as a recruiting opportunity.
Army cadets in the Highlands benefit from all the ACF opportunities – all of which are intended to provide enjoyment and nurture crucial life skills. There is also a strong emphasis on enhancing the social fabric of local communities by taking part in fundraising events and local parades.