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Expedition Boosts Cadet Development

Published: 27 Nov 2017


Fourteen members from the East of Scotland Universities Air Squadron (ESUAS), based at Leuchars Station in Fife, recently returned from a dramatic expedition to British Columbia, an adventure made possible thanks to the RAF Charitable Trust.

The trip along the Stikine River in the Spatsizi Wildlife Reserve, was undertaken by a team comprising two supervising Adventurous Training Instructors and 12 Officer Cadets after they secured the inaugural £15,000 Paul Bowen Scholarship.

The annual award, named in honour of the co-founder of the Royal International Air Tattoo, invites RAF University Air Squadrons to submit plans for an adventurous training or leadership development expedition that, in the opinion of the charity demonstrates the best spirit of adventure, enterprise and challenge. A runner-up prize of £10,000 is also offered.

Sqn Ldr Jonny Finbow, OC ESUAS, said the trip had been a once-in-a-lifetime experience which helped develop the attributes of teamwork, leadership, followership, effective communication, risk management and self-reliance.  Additionally, the expedition promoted the RAF ethos of team spirit whilst testing the mental and physical fitness of 12 potential officers over 270km of river and trek.

He added: "The expedition exposed each participant to genuine responsibility and decision-making, with the real time consequences to their actions, given the wilderness location. The importance of risk management and situational awareness was brought home by more than one close-quarter encounter with the local bear population; fortunately, pre-rehearsed actions lead to safe outcomes for all! 

"Overall the expedition was an enormous success and we are extremely grateful to the RAF Charitable Trust for its generous support. I would recommend that all university squadrons compete for the annual scholarship. All you require is a great idea, a clear plan, beneficial goals and a little bit of luck!"

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