Dealing with student misconceptions

Posted on October 16, 2017

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Young people can sometimes have a fixed idea of the CCF - and it can be way off the mark.

Here are seven of the most common myths and queries that schools sometimes get asked and suggestions on how to respond.

If you’re new to the CCF, we hope this gives you an interesting insight.

1 “My family can’t afford it”

Initially the only expense to the cadets will be the purchase of boots. However, when schools bulk-buy additional kit they are given a discount, which can reduce costs. Additional cost will only come when the cadets start to attend camps, but costs are always kept to a minimum. Some schools choose to raise money to reduce the cost, such as bag packing in supermarkets. Funding is also available through the CCFA’s various grant schemes.

2 “If I join the RAF section I’m going to be flying every week”

Unfortunately not. That might come as a disappointment so it’s worth managing expectations when first giving out information . There are lots of fantastic reasons to join the RAF section – aviation training, sports, competitions, and occasionally the chance to fly – so make sure you highlight all of these. Likewise, the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines sections each offer an array of different experiences for young people.

3 “It will be really militaristic – I’ll be marching all the time”

Drill is part of what the CCF does and it helps to encourage and support teamwork. But it is not the main part of the cadet experience. Work out what percentage of a cadet’s time will actually be spent on drill compared to the whole range of other activities they will take part in. For some schools though drill competitions can be the highlight of the annual calendar and a real favourite for their cadets.

4 “I’ll get a gun and will be able to shoot at anything”

This is absolutely not true. Whilst some schools do take part in shooting activities, they are strictly regulated and controlled, and cadets only get to shoot at targets once they are properly trained. Parents also often have queries about shooting – but can be reassured that safety is always paramount.

5 “Annual camp will be like boot camp”

CCF camp has changed hugely in recent years. Far from being a boot camp, it is a sought after opportunity for cadets to experience activities not available in their schools, and to have lots of fun. It’s the culmination of the whole years worth of training with the CCF and offers cadets a chance to practice their skills, to build confidence and achieve, but also to socialise with other schools. Although we can’t pretend that it won’t involve a week of early starts!  

6 “Boys and girls will have to sleep in the same place on camp”

There is always more than enough accommodation to ensure that male and female cadets stay in separate living quarters. When sleeping in the field they are paired with someone of the same gender – so there is no reason for not attending camps.

7 “I only eat Halal meat so I won’t have any food on camp”

Every camp will cater for every dietary need – and that includes the military rations they’re given during field training. As long as your contingent knows about your dietary requirements, food should not be something to get in the way of enjoying the cadet experience. 

Thanks goes to Whitgift CCF and Rockwood Academy CCF for helping to address these misconceptions.