Superb STEM and Drill Week in Aberdeen

cadet uses radio on stem camp

During the Easter holidays the Royal Air Force Air Cadets hosted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Drill Camp at Gordon Barracks in Aberdeen. 

Cadets from across Scotland and Northern Ireland congregated in the Granite City for a week of both STEM activities and Drill and Ceremonial Training. 

cadets stand back to back

Whilst most youngsters want to ‘leave learning behind’ during the school holidays, these campers were eager to get stuck into topics such as Cyber, Robotics, Aerospace, Radio and Aviation. 

With meticulous planning from the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, the Cadets enjoyed a programme which saw them designing gliders, learning about the role of NASA, and practising their radio skills. 

On the far side of camp, Cadets took part in various STEM activities, earning badges for their involvement along the way. 

cadets practise radio in classroom

Corporal Dingwall, 2535 (Livingston) Squadron, said: ‘It’s nice to get an opportunity to do STEM in Cadets because you don’t always get these opportunities at school.

‘I’ve made friends who have travelled and flown from far to be here, coming from the top and bottom of Scotland. Overall it’s been such a good time.’

Also thoroughly enjoying his time at camp, Cadet Aaron Emans (2414 East Kilbride Squadron), explained why he chose to attend: ‘I decided to use my Easter holidays to come on a STEM camp because I’m interested in Cyber Security, and it’s a field I want to pursue later on in life. Long-term I’m considering Cyber Security roles within the RAF.

‘My highlight of this week has been designing and making a powered glider. The glider is battery operated and we design it, making the wings and the tail. When the glider takes off it is powered, then the power cuts off, and the challenge is getting it to go as far as it can.’

When asked if he would promote the camp to other Cadets, Emans exclaimed: ‘I wouldn’t hesitate in encouraging other Cadets to come to a camp like this. You never get this sort of activity from school. RAFAC really has changed my life for the better, especially when it comes to this sort of thing.’

cadets practise drill

Running alongside the STEM activities, Cadets were also being trained in the art of Drill. Regional Warrant Officer and STEM Officer, WO Sarah Taylor, explained: ‘The camp is a progression from the four-day camp held in 2022. RAF Air Cadets is an Air, Space and Cyber focussed organisation. Cadets attending this camp are provided opportunities to experience all aspects of STEM whilst working towards badges and certificates. 

‘Alongside the STEM activities we also wanted the Cadets to leave this camp being able to teach other Cadets back in their units the basic elements of Drill. Our hope is that this raises the Drill standard across the region.

air cadets practise drill

‘We have been teaching the Cadets to become Drill trainers. Not only do they then improve their own Drill skills, but they also develop their teaching and leadership skills.’

As a relatively new Cadet, Corporal Tilly (870 Dreghorn Squadron) was particularly pleased to be honing his Drill skills. Tilly commented: ‘The highlight of this week has probably been Arms Drill, where you get to throw a rifle whilst doing Drill – it’s really good fun.’

Throughout the barracks, Cadets were beaming as they took part in activities that stretched and motivated them; deep bonds of friendship being forged along the way. It’s hard to imagine many better ways to spend one’s Easter holiday!

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