The first step to becoming a high flyer

Gliding, rock climbing, map reading, canoeing and kayaking.

This might sound like the diary of an adrenaline junkie, but they’re just some of the opportunities offered at the Air Training Corps in Leven.

Air Training Cadets at 1370 Squadron in Leven. Picture by Steve Brown.

Air Training Cadets at 1370 Squadron in Leven. Picture by Steve Brown.

After more than 50 years in the town, the unit is recruiting. It is on the lookout for new cadets, new adult helpers and new civilian committee members. Could you be up to the task?

Flight Sergeant Sean Russell, who joined the unit 14 years ago aged 13, explained: “We want to recruit more people from within the local community so that they can benefit from all of the opportunities that we have on offer.”

All young people, aged 12 to 20 are eligible to join, and the unit meets every Monday and Thursday evenings.

Already, youngsters travel from all across Levenmouth and the squadron is keen to boost numbers from the current 13 cadets, as it is able to cater for approximately 40.

As well as weekly activities, which include map reading, radio technical skills and first aid, the cadets take part in weekend activities such as flying at Leuchars and gliding in Arbroath. And, as Sean explained, one of the most beneficial things about being an air cadet is the recognition given for hard work.

“Every activity that the cadets do, be it rock-climbing or swimming, they receive a nationally recognised award,” he explained. “For classes on a Monday, cadets can earn Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) awards.

“Not only are the young people making friends, they’ve got role models to look up to in the older cadets and staff members.

For a number of them , it can be a real confidence boost.”

“If I hadn’t of been a cadet myself, I wouldn’t have experienced half the things I have.”

But in order to offer all of these activities to the young cadets, the Leven unit is in desperate need of adult helpers who can give up some of their time.

“Staff are a key component within the squadron structure – you don’t have to have any qualifications - just an enthusiastic approach to training, which can be fed back to the cadets, and the passion to work with young people.”

And for those who might have a few days a month to spare, the squadron is also on the lookout for new civillian committee members, who help to organise events and fundraise for the unit. The committee is made up entirely of volunteers and chairman Carrie Nelson said: “The amount of time you can give is totally up to you, but we really are in need of new members to help build the committee back up and start getting some fundraising organised.”

Lauren Macdonald (15) joined the Leven air cadets aged 13.

She said: “When I joined I was really quiet and I wouldn’t have said boo to anyone.

“But now that I’m an NCO cadet, it’s totally different.

“I like how confident the role makes me and when I’m here, it’s like I’m a totally different person to what I’m like at school.

“You get so much out of it and you really make friends for life.

“If anyone is thinking about coming, but they’re a bit shy I would just tell them to come down and see what we do - we’re not going to judge.”

Sixteen-year-old Peter Hunter joined the unit two and a half years ago, and says it has given him a huge confidence boost.

“When I joined the cadets, I would not rely talk to anyone, but I

socialise a lot more now.

“I’m different now to how I was when I joined.”