Anti-social behaviour, street crime and lack of opportunity negatively affect young people daily across the Anglia region. Just today I am reading about a night of wanton vandalism in a local village.
Many youngsters find themselves caught up in a cycle of negativity and lack of opportunity which is unending. It can change. Sounds impossible? It needn’t be - the framework already exists across the region to channel the attention and energy of young people away from crime and misery towards a life of hope and achievement.
It has been my privilege to be associated with the Army Cadet Force for several years. During that time I have seen the positive effect that developing young people can have. They become more confident, independent, qualified and employable. Some may say oh, the Army Cadet Force, the recruiting club for the Army! But this is untrue. Only those who wish to go on to serve in the armed services are helped to do so, whilst hundreds of others chose to take their place in society using exactly the same skills of self confidence, discipline and consideration.
Of course this can’t happen without the right people at the helm. The ACF has always required adults with compassion who care about developing young people. The leaders of those adults, the officers of the ACF, are exceptional people who possess common sense, leadership qualities, self-confidence and determination. None of them need a military background. Extreme levels of fitness are not required. All training is free of charge and a range of recognised qualifications to enhance their own lives and career prospects, together with reimbursement for the time they can give already exists. No one need be out of pocket.
There are many people in villages, towns and cities throughout East Anglia who possess the qualities to lead others and help young people succeed in society. All they need is the invitation to take part. I would urge them to visit www.armycadets.com to see the difference they can make, or to visit their local army cadet unit without obligation. Once they take a look, I know they will set out on an unequalled journey of achievement and personal satisfaction.