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Cadets from 121 Squadron have just completed a five-day expedition training camp at the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing adventure training centre at Elan Valley.

During the week the cadets took part in a rigorous schedule of expedition training activities which included leadership exercises, route card preparation, camp craft and navigation exercises.

They also had plenty of opportunities to put their knowledge of map and compass work into practise as they successfully navigated their way around various routes in the Elan Valley area.

Our cadets have been hill walking in the area many times before but this visit to the Elan Valley training centre had something completely different on the programme, an exiting new experience for most of the younger cadets, rafting.

The raft building exercises were conducted by the Elan Valley Lodge management development centre. The cadets received instruction in raft building techniques and a safety brief after which teams of cadets were set free to build their own rafts using an array or poles, barrels and lengths of rope. Before long there was some serious competition between the teams, each determined to use their pioneering skills to produce the best raft and be the first crew to take to the water without sinking. After lots of frantic activity the rafts were all lashed up and ready to go, the moment of truth, had come, would they float, would they stay in one piece or would they go straight to the bottom and unceremoniously dump their crews in the drink. Once in the water the teams boarded their rafts and paddled of as hard as they could determined to go just that little bit further and faster than the other crews before their craft disintegrated.

Raft building is a great way to develop teamwork and enjoy yourself at the same time. Its mentally and physically demanding and it makes everyone involved fully aware of the need for effective teamwork, communication, motivation and decision making. Oh! and you get well and truly soaked in the process.

The raft building was such a success that the staff who planned the camp are determined to include another visit to the Elan Valley Lodge management development centre within the training programme for our next camp at Elan Valley. Who knows we may even have a go at some of the other activities offered by the centre such as Rock-Climbing, Abseiling or Canadian Canoeing.


See the Image Gallery for lots more photographs from Elan Valley


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Page last updated, Sunday, 17 September, 2006 10:15 PM .