Libby Purves gently mocks the Combined Cadet Force. It was ever thus (TES, March 3).
The CCF may not be fashionable, but few I think would challenge its objectives, which are to develop personal responsibility, self confidence and leadership and give youngsters an opportunity in so doing to better understand the role of the services in today's society.
It is worth emphasising the positives. Over February half term, cadets from my school were involved in a range of worthwhile activities. Junior cadets gained a first aid qualification over a weekend led by contingent staff who had themselves previously been trained by the Cadet Training Centre to lead such a course. Other slightly older cadets spent a week on a methods of instruction cadre run by senior regular army instructors. Three senior cadets having already gained their gold Duke of Edinburgh award attended the cadet adventure training centre in Scotland to gain their winter mountain proficiency qualification.
Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, may seem to be an unlikely convert to the cadet cause, but he, along with other ministers, has discovered that when you look inside the organisation there is huge potential for the growth and development of young people. The pity is that the prospect of any meaningful expansion is limited by the shortage of service assets, finance and the endemic problems of setting up a contingent from scratch.
Lt Col Graham Stowell
Judd school CCF