Acting Cadet Executive Officer, Major David Clarke. (Barbados Cadet Corps) (FP)

The Barbados Cadet Corps’ (BCC) staff and officers pulled out all the stops to host a Virtual Summer Camp again this year, and acting Cadet Executive Officer, Major David Clarke, described it as a great success.

Three hundred and sixty-seven cadets participated in the camp, which was held in four phases.  In addition to examining the subject areas of Foot Drill, Map Reading and Field Craft, the cadets engaged in discussions on Barbados becoming a Republic and careers in the Barbados Defence Force.  There were also presentations on substance abuse, conflict resolution and public speaking.

Major Clarke and Officer-in-Charge of Coordinating the Summer Camp, Major Lincoln Springer, agreed it was an excellent camp, as the facilitators built on the experience gained from last year.

Major Springer continued: “The officers came together as a team and really pursued everything that was necessary to make this online learning environment for cadets a resounding success. They also did a lot of work creating games, developing power point presentations, etcetera, to make the camp interesting and exciting.”

The camp coordinator said some of the senior cadets even assisted in delivering the online instruction, especially in the area of Map Reading and the use of the virtual mapping tools.  He noted that they had done a “phenomenal job”.

Major Clarke added that Field Craft, Foot Drill, and Map Reading, for the most part, were practical subjects, but the officers and staff of the BCC made them “very interesting”, as they were taught online.

“In as much as the summer camp was to instruct cadets, it was also a learning experience for the instructors, who had to look at new and innovative ways of getting the training across.  The training was from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and then the officers continued online from 2:00 until sometimes 6:00 p.m., to examine what went right, what went wrong and plan for the next day,” he shared.

Acknowledging that the virtual camp has its benefits, Major Clarke stressed that the activities of the BCC are 70 per cent practical and 30 percent theory, so getting back to face-to-face training is necessary.  He and Major Springer are therefore encouraging members of the public to follow the COVID-19 protocols, so the island could record a reduction in positive cases.

Major Springer said: “The cadets would love to have in person contact with each other.  They were so disappointed that the camp was online, but we could not do any better.  We are appealing to the adults to help us out so the children can resume some face-to-face activities such as hiking, physical exercise and drills.  They can’t wait to engage in such activities, as they have been restricted to their homes for long periods.”

Major Clarke agreed, adding: “With the lockdowns and changes over the past year and a half, a lot of our children at secondary schools are not as physically fit as they should be, so we really need to get children back out doing physical activities. COVID-19 has negatively impacted the Barbados Cadet Corps and most youth organisations.

“We really need to get back to face-to-face training, and not just from the perspective of the physical aspect, which is extremely important, but also the social interaction – children interacting and making new friends.  “That camaraderie used to be solidified during the summer camps, where children from various secondary schools would come together, and that helped them to learn how to interact with other people,” Major Clarke surmised.

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