RAFAC STEM and Drill Camp a success

April 26, 2024
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Cadets taking part in drill.

Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) spent the Easter holidays enjoying a fun-packed camp in Aberdeen.

The STEM and Drill Camp was organised by Scotland and Northern Ireland Region Air Cadets and held from 6-13 April at Gordon Barracks, Bridge of Don.

Cadets from across Scotland were joined by their counterparts from Northern Ireland for the week-long, activity-packed event. In total there were 60 cadets involved, supported by a dedicated group of Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs).

The camp saw thirty cadets concentrating on a variety of STEM activities, with the other 30 taking part in drill. This was the first combined STEM and Drill camp held in Scotland.

Cadets marching.
The cadets put on an excellent display of Drill.

Drill training saw the cadets making great improvements across the Arms, Banner, Stick and Foot disciplines. The cadets can now take what they learned back to their Squadrons, applying those lessons in an effort to raise the standard and consistency of Drill across the region.

Cadets taking part in STEM activities.
The main area where STEM activities took place.

The STEM training consisted of activities including designing and building functioning model gliders, learning about space, robotics, and taking part in the Bronze Radio Course. The young people threw themselves into the activities and, in the case of the aircraft task, worked hard to produced a wide variety of gliders – some of which were able to travel as far as eight metres. Along the way the cadets improved their knowledge of aircraft design, aerodynamics, airframe integrity, and the importance of effective weight distribution!

Cadet holding a wooden model glider.
One of the STEM participants with a model glider.

Cadets from the Highland RFCA-area represented a range of Squadrons, including: 2367 (Banchory), 2489 (Bridge of Don), 1740 (Clydebank), 859 (Dalgety Bay), 867 (Denny), 1145 (Dunfermline), 1990 (Ellon), 1192 (Kirkcaldy), 38F (Perth), 1297 (Stonehaven), and 875 (Westhill).

Cadet Mairi Walmsley and Corporal Thomas Graham of the RAF Air Cadets.
Cadet Mairi Walmsley and Corporal Thomas Graham.

Corporal Thomas Graham, of 2489 (Bridge of Don) Squadron, took part in STEM activities. He has been a cadet since 2021.

He said: “This is my first year doing this camp and I hope to be able to come back for the Drill & Ceremonial element next year.

“The main reason I wanted to take part is because I enjoy lots of STEM activities at my Squadron. Here I’ve learned that teamwork is a big part of STEM. I’ve also learned lots about building gliders and how to put that into use and how we can transfer those meta-skills into other projects.

“My highlight was the showcase, as I really enjoyed showing off our work to the Drill team. It’s good to give them an insight into what we’ve learned.

“Making friends is also a big part of camp. Working together as a team and having supportive people around you makes things easier. That includes the staff who work tirelessly to get us on these camps and to get us doing what we need to be doing at the set times.”

Cadet Mairi Walmsley, of 2367 (Banchory) Squadron, has been an Air Cadet for 18 months. She also took part in the STEM programme.

She said: “I went on a camp last year and I really enjoyed it. I made a lot of new friends and learned a lot of new things, so I wanted to do another one.

“I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been hard work, but it has paid off. Doing the Bronze Radio Course was my highlight. Not the assessment though, I didn’t like that!”

The camp – which was oversubscribed this year – will run again in 2025, with planning already under way.

Many thanks to Regional Warrant Officer & STEM Coordinator Sarah Taylor for inviting us along to observe the activities.