The CARAs 2023


Ten Cadet Force Adult Volunteers from across the Lowlands of Scotland have received a prestigious award from the young people they work with for their contribution to the Cadet Forces.

For the past four years, the Cadet Adult Recognition Awards (CARAs) has sought to acknowledge the dedication and selflessness of the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) who give their time and talents to help young people aged 12-18 develop new skills, prepare for adult life and make friendships that can last a lifetime.

The show, streamed on YouTube at 1900 on 15 September, revealed this year’s ten winners.

All nominations for the CARAs are submitted by Cadet members of the Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps and Air Training Corps. Now in its fourth year, the CARAs 2023 received a record number of nominations, highlighting the immense admiration the Cadets have for their adult instructors.

Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) has been running the CARAs annually since 2020, and hosted an online award ceremony on its YouTube channel on Friday 15 September. The awards show this year also featured extreme adventurer, bestselling author and Army Cadet Force ambassador Jordan Wylie MBE as its co-presenter.

Jordan at sandhurst

Jordan, star of Channel 4’s ‘Hunted’, said: ‘I think these awards are really important. Lots of CFAVs volunteer because they’re selfless, not looking for recognition. That’s what makes it so important that they do actually get some recognition. I think for the Cadets to be able to nominate and say thank you for their time is really special and important.’

Each of the winning CFAVs gave a moving acceptance speech, thanking the Cadets for taking the time to nominate them and showing appreciation for all the work they do.

Kate Johnston, Lowland RFCA Head of Communications said: ‘Focussed on developing and prospering the next generation, CFAVs work tirelessly to deliver fun and helpful training for Cadets. Year after year, these volunteers selflessly support and engage these young people. Whilst the CFAVs provide fun, challenge and adventure, they also help the Cadets to bolster their CVs and to prepare them for life after Cadets and school. Well done to all of this year’s winners, you clearly mean alot to your Cadets and are making a real difference to their lives.’

As well as receiving a prestigious CARAs certificate, each winner was also presented with a gift voucher sponsored by a local business.  This gives Lowland organisations an opportunity to show support for the hard-working adult volunteers, some of whom are members of their own workforces.

Dan Myers, Managing Director – UK and Ireland, XPO Logistics, said: ‘We are proud to sponsor to be able to do what we can to support Cadet Force Adult Volunteers as they dedicate themselves to help young people achieve their full potential, and we are wishing the best of luck to all nominees.’

Meet the Winners

Sea Cadets East – Petty Officer Craig Stebbing, Dunbar Sea Cadets – XPO Logistics

Craig Stebbing

‘It was really humbling to receive this CARA and it was such an honour to be nominated by the Cadets. I know I’ve worked hard with them but it’s all down to them and it’s actually a wonderful thing to be recognised by them for my achievements.’

Sea Cadets West – Petty Officer Callum Leber, East Kilbride Sea Cadets – Vigilant Security

Callum Leber

‘Being a volunteer is very unique to me because I had quite a tough time at school, not being able to read or write up until about first year, so being able to give back to the kids every single day, even through teaching them sailing or windsurfing, it means a lot to me.’

Air Cadets East – Warrant Officer Jennifer Tennant, 2535 (Livingston) Air Cadets – Skyrora

Jennifer Tennant

‘As a CFAV, getting this award has motivated me to put in more, even though I put in a lot already, but it’s motivating me to keep doing what I’m doing, keep saying to the Cadets, “Just try it, even if you don’t think you can do it”, because I wouldn’t ask them to do something that I’m not willing to do myself.’

Air Cadets West – Flying Officer David McKay, 1138 (Ardrossan) Air Cadets – Lochlie Construction Group

David McKay

‘For a lot of other awards, we’re put forward by other Cadet Force Adult Volunteers or by permanent members of staff within the Air Cadets, but for this one specifically, unlike nearly every other award that you can be nominated for, it’s nominated by a Cadet, so it’s a young person you have helped, done something good for and made a difference to and that’s really what matters.’

Glasgow & Lanarkshire Army Cadet Force Winner – Sergeant Kimberley Dougal, 3 Platoon (RSB) Newmains – NG Homes

Kimberley Dougal

‘I became a CFAV because I joined the Cadets when I was 12 and I left when I was 18, and as a Cadet you don’t really see what goes on behind the scenes to make things happen like sports events and company camps, so I wanted to be a part of that and I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.’

Glasgow & Lanarkshire ACF Runner Up – Sergeant Breige Jamieson, 5 Platoon Scots Guards Lanark – Aggreko

Breige Jamieson

‘When I found out that I had won a CARA, I was initially shocked and speechless, but completely delighted and overwhelmed at the fact that the Cadets nominated me for it.’

West Lowland Winner ACF – Sergeant Rhianna Skipsey, Tarbolton Detachment – Currie European

Rhianna Skipsey

‘I was a Cadet myself so to see myself get this award is a massive deal because I do this to make a change and help the Cadets themselves. If 12-year-old me was stood here right now watching me get this award, I think she’d be very surprised. She walked in the door as a Cadet and had no idea what was coming and was terrified. I never expected to get as far as I did as a Cadet, let alone as an adult instructor.’

West Lowland ACF Runner Up – Sergeant Sarah Donnan, Newton Stewart Detachment – Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce

Sarah Donnan

‘To win a CARA is fantastic, it’s a recognition for all the hard work that not just I but all the other adults put in to help deliver opportunities for young people to develop, both self-confidence and awareness so that they can carry new skills into their future life.’

Lothian & Borders ACF Winner – Staff Sergeant Instructor Sam Griffin, 27 Platoon Detachment – Skyrora

Sam Griffin

‘This award’s not just for everything that I’ve done, it shows how much we as an organisation provide for these Cadets so I’d like to thank as well my Company HQ who have been very supportive to me.’

Lothian & Borders ACF Runner Up – Sergeant Instructor Mairi McLurg, Lothian and Borders Pipes and Drums – Currie European

Mairi McLurg

‘This award motivates me because it goes to show that everything you do pays off and it makes you want to progress yourself going forward so that you can help to progress the Cadets and help them reach their goals.’

In the Press:

East Lothian Courier

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald

Daily Record – Lanarkshire

Glasgow World

Ayr Advertiser

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