February 1st 2017

Glossop volunteer encourages local people to join the ACF

An adult volunteer from Glossop is encouraging local people to find out more about the Army Cadet Force (ACF) and consider spending their free time making a difference in the community.

Sergeant Instructor Jon Lee, aged 26, volunteers with Derbyshire ACF’s Glossop Detachment leading cadets in a range of activities including fieldcraft and shooting.

As a Skill at Arms Instructor, Jon’s volunteering role allows him to work with a variety of young people who are passionate about learning to shoot in a competitive environment, and help them to improve their personal ‘hand eye’ coordination no matter what their initial competence level is.

Adult volunteer Jon Lee at a Derbyshire ACF annual camp press release (1)

Jon Lee at a Derbyshire ACF annual camp

Jon explained: “I originally joined Derbyshire ACF as a cadet and spent more than five years being taught different skills and activities by my adult volunteers. It wasn’t my idea to join the ACF initially, my dad wanted me to develop a new interest that would have a positive influence on me and stop me from being what some people may describe as a ‘wayward’ child.

“However, in no time at all I grew to love being a cadet and found that I had a flair for shooting. I’ve since taken part in lots of shooting competitions, competing with other cadets and adult volunteers from across the country.”

In Jon’s civilian life he works full-time with children in care, and uses some of the skills he has learnt through the cadets on a day-to-day basis. He continued: “I work in a residential care facility and we often get young people staying with us who originally come from other urban parts of the country. It is my job to provide different activities for them to partake in, encouraging them to build confidence, communication and team-working skills.

“Through the cadets I have learnt to solve problems presented to me at short notice, speak to people of different ages from different backgrounds and have experienced loads of outdoor activities like mountain biking and canoeing. This means that when I take the young people in my day job out into the Peak District for example to take part in outdoor pursuits, I can lead from the front and encourage them to have a go at new things.”

Jon explained that he works shift patterns in his day-job meaning he cannot always attend training sessions at his cadet detachment, but he has managed to work out a system with his detachment commander allowing him to be as flexible as he needs to be in terms of his volunteering commitments.

Over the years, Jon has been able to enhance his CV through the Cadet Force gaining Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards, a First Aid qualification and train as a Skill at Arms Instructor.

Jon continued: “Although adult volunteers are there to lead the cadets, there is scope to attend many training courses yourself and progress in any area that interests you. For me being a part of the Cadet Force has been a stable platform for me to develop as a person, this is why I wanted to return to Derbyshire ACF as an adult volunteer to give back a bit of my experience to today’s cadets.”

Encouraging others to get involved with the ACF, Jon concluded: “All the adult volunteers are really welcoming and friendly so there is no need to be afraid of coming along to one of our training evenings to find out more about how you could get involved with the ACF.

“Working with cadets in Glossop is really rewarding. We play a positive role in the community, and help the cadets to achieve success in working through the ACF’s syllabus. For me though it is the little gestures that go a long way. Seeing a cadet trying to learn a new skill and then spending that little bit of extra time talking them through something they have may be not understood the first time then seeing ‘a light go on’ when they realise they can do whatever the task is – is amazing”.

Derbyshire ACF has detachments across the county including Derby, Chesterfield, Long Eaton, Buxton, Glossop, Ilkeston, New Mills, Matlock and Chapel-En-Le Frith.

To find out more about volunteering in your area with the ACF contact 01332 772025 ext. 21 or email

Further details about joining the ACF can also be found by visiting

“Through the cadets I have learnt to solve problems presented to me at short notice, speak to people of different ages from different backgrounds and have experienced loads of outdoor activities like mountain biking and canoeing."