Eleven squadrons of the Norfolk & Suffolk Wing RAF Air Cadets competed in the Griffin challenge on Saturday 15th June at RAF Marham.
2620 (County of Norfolk) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment organised and hosted the competition, the aim of which is to forge closer links between the squadrons within the Wing. It’s a military skills competition which tests the cadets’ service knowledge, team work and leadership skills in a fun and engaging way.
Each Air Cadets squadron had to put forward a mixed team of six cadets and they completed a series of exercises including: observation, applying camouflage cream, physical activity, bergen packing, a service knowledge quiz with a difference climbing and aircraft recognition. 2620 Sqn (County of Norfolk) used their Reserve Forces training when setting each leg of the Griffin Challenge for the cadets.
To test their hand-eye coordination, the cadets had 90 seconds to throw as many shuttlecocks into a container as they could (main image), with targets becoming increasingly difficult. The service knowledge quiz was a bit more physical than most other quizzes; for each answer the team got right, they got points which translated to a distance that they could ascend up the climbing wall.
In the observation challenge, the cadets were given equipment to carry out their challenge but unbeknownst to the cadets, the Reservists had ‘mixed’ up some of the parts of the observation cover, so that no one team had all the correct parts to build a cover. Only two of the teams worked together to build their cover, which was large enough to fit two teams, and it was this cooperation that meant they were awarded full points in this leg of the Griffin Challenge.
Twelve Reservists ran the challenges at RAF Marham and provided event support and display stands for the cadets. The adult volunteers from the participating squadrons were also able to get involved in the event and help coordinate the day alongside the Reservists from 2620 Squadron.
They ran the same sort of leadership exercises that the Reserves carry out but made accessible for the cadets, for instance a planning exercise similar to that which potential officers and aircraftmen must complete at Cranwell was set as a group exercise for the cadets.
The 2620 team even made packing equipment fun, as the Bergen packing exercise was elevated by a race to see which team could be the fastest to extract the right items to handle particular situations, such as wet weather and preparing a meal.
The winning teams are:
1st place: 1895 (Cromer) Squadron
2nd place: 863 (Thurston) Squadron
3rd place: 42F (King’s Lynn) Squadron (pictured)
The awards were presented by 2620 Squadron’s Commanding Officer Squadron Leader Jules Gavars. Jules said: “All the cadets gave 100% on all the activities and it was great to see some of the teams cooperating. Hopefully they developed some skills throughout the day.”
He added: “It was important to us to run the Griffin Challenge again this year and support the Norfolk and Suffolk Wing cadets.”
For a few years, the Griffin Challenge had run as the Blue Bull challenge by another unit but 2620 are planning to retain it as the Griffin Cup for the foreseeable future, with the trophy being passed on to next year’s winners in due course. The competition is so named as 2620’s emblem is a Griffin. 2620 will also visit squadrons this year to continue to build links with as many of the 26 squadrons in N&S Wing as they can.
Photos courtesy of 42F Media & Communications Officer Mike Lister