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In the scorching heat of Cyprus, under clear skies and among picturesque landscapes, the 2023 CCF Cyprus cadet camp was an unforgettable experience for participants from Trinity School, Alleyn’s, and Judd. We look at the experiences of three cadets, Lance Corporal Julia Kierklo, Tobechi Uche, and Lance Corporal Mark Juresh, of the camp’s unique blend of military training, team-building and extraordinary excursions.

Military training and growth

The days were filled with rigorous army training, providing hands-on experience led by real-life officers. LCpl Julia Kierklo, from Trinity School CCF, serving as an IC (In Command), found herself in a leadership role during activities such as ambushes and section attacks. The camp’s setting presented a different challenge, with extreme heat replacing the usual wet and cold conditions of the UK.

In addition to typical CCF activities, LCpl Kierklo highlights the importance of team-building exercises like bowling and karaoke, fostering camaraderie among the diverse group of cadets. As an introvert, Kierklo acknowledges the camp’s role in pushing her out of her comfort zone, leading to personal growth and increased confidence. The transformative nature of the experience is evident as she reflects on the impact it had on her social skills and outlook.

R&R too

Tobechi Uche, a 15-year-old cadet from Alleyn’s, shared his enthusiasm for the camp’s warm welcome – and the Cypriot sunshine. Military training, led by instructors from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, involved detailed lessons on planning section attacks, providing a sense of real battle scenarios. Section versus section attacks, both offensive and defensive, added a thrilling dimension to the training, creating lasting memories for Tobechi and his peers.

The camp’s variety extended beyond military drills, including visits to the beach, the mall, and a barbecue day with Greek dancers. Tobechi’s account emphasises the leisure aspects, such as water fights and karaoke nights, contributing to a well-rounded experience. The trip, he says, was a resounding success, leaving him with cherished memories and expanded CCF knowledge.

Unique experiences

LCpl Mark Juresh, told us that arriving in Cyprus, the anticipation of the environment and experiences was palpable. The RAF station visits included an awe-inspiring helicopter flight around the southern peninsula on a Puma 2, offering breathtaking views of Cyprus’s scenery.

Mark details visits to the Explosive Ordnance Squadron, where cadets had the opportunity to learn about EOD equipment and operate a sophisticated robot. The Air Traffic Control exploration revealed surprising insights into the daily operations of this crucial service. The visit to the fire department, dealing with emergencies in Cyprus’s dry and arid conditions, proved to be an exhilarating experience, with hands-on activities and demonstrations.

Mark emphasises the educational value of the camp, as cadets gained insights into military and emergency services, broadening their perspectives and understanding of different roles within the armed forces.

The 2023 CCF Cyprus cadet camp emerges as a transformative journey for participants. From leadership experiences to cultural exchanges, the camp offered a holistic growth opportunity for cadets, fostering lifelong memories and friendships. As LCpl Kierklo, Tobechi Uche, and LCpl Mark Juresh attest, the camp was more than just a training ground – it was an experience that left an indelible mark on their personal and cadet development.