For the second year running, Cadets and staff from 1936 (Newton) Squadron and 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron joined forces for their now “traditional” joint–Squadron Christmas Camp. The Camp took place at Walesby Forest in North Nottinghamshire over the last weekend before Christmas, with the wintery conditions at times proving a significant challenge to the organization of the weekend. But far from dampening spirits, it turned the Camp into something almost magical.
Over 60 Cadets and staff took part in the weekend, which is one of the highlights of the year for both Squadrons. The Camp started on the Friday evening with a festively-themed fieldcraft exercise, followed on Saturday morning by swimming at Water Meadows in Mansfield. Cadets engaged in a “Cultural Tour” of Mansfield Town Centre during the Saturday afternoon, completing a series of photo-navigation tasks along the way with a view to presenting their findings at the Camp Cabaret & Disco on the Saturday evening.
The Christmas Camp Disco was again provided by ex-Cadet Jason Norton, who proved as popular as ever in entertaining Cadets and staff alike. The Cabaret, lead and judged by the Camp Cadet SNCO team was certainly something to remember, with many “budding actors” making their career debuts as the Flights performed their own unique version of the Nativity.
Sunday saw Cadets compete in various inter-Flight activities, during which full use of the facilities at Walesby Forest were made use of. A firm favorite of these activities is the crate-stack, which in 2008 our Cadets set a site record. Last year’s stack of 25 crates was not increased, but Cadets from each Flight were left hanging around as they attempted to do so! Helmets and safety harnesses ensured that only egos were bruised.
…and gone on the crate stacking!
The Camp ended on Sunday afternoon with Christmas Dinner, prepared and cooked by members of 1936 (Newton) Squadron’s Civilian Committee and served up in true military tradition by the Commissioned Officer’s at the Camp. Following Christmas Dinner, a series of presentations were made including the announcement of the winning Flight for the Camp. This year, Bravo Flight won the overall weekend competition, commanded at the Camp by SGT Alistair Hemmings.
The Camp Commandant, Flt Lt Jack Stepanian (OC 2195 Sqn), was clearly pleased when he commented: “Everyone has had a great time, the Cadets have been superb. The added bonus of snow has certainly made this year’s Camp one to remember, it has been the best yet.”
Whilst the staff present at the Camp looked after most of the background work, including catering and logistics, the general running of the Camp was the responsibility of the Cadet SNCO team. Planning by this team began back in September 2009, their hard work and commitment ensured the Cadets enjoyed a fantastic weekend. The combined efforts of CWO Daniel Finch, CWO James Glover, CWO Chris Lease, CWO Darren Walker, & FS Matthew Lifford resulted in the Camp being the success it set out to be.
1936 and 2195 Cadets and Staff at Christmas Camp
The Camp was also joined by several guests who were all welcome additions to the Camp staff team and played a vital part in the successful running of the weekend. SAC Nick Olde (ex-Cadet of South & East Midlands Wing) provided much needed logistical support for the Camp, LAC Tom Haywood (formerly a NCO at 1936 Sqn) assisted the staff team, CWO Laura Butcher (currently with 1359 Sqn) assisted the Cadet SNCO team for Camp, and former South & East Midlands Wing Cadet Jason Norton provided the memorable disco.
Flt Lt Jodi Hudson (OC 1936 Sqn), said: “Christmas Camp provides our Cadets with the opportunity to relax and have fun at the end of what has been a successful year for both Squadrons’. The enthusiasm and dedication of the staff and Cadet SNCO team once again resulted in a fantastic Christmas Camp.”
By CI Sean Swales
1936 (Newton) Squadron MCO