What are the Cadet Force Adult Recognition Awards (CARAs)?

Adult volunteers have supported the cadets during the pandemic, inspired the cadets to do more with their time and innovated to keep the cadets engaged during extended periods of lockdown. The CARAs are a chance for the Cadets to say thanks, by nominating an adult in any of three award categories.

The CARAs (Cadet Adult Recognition Awards) are cadet-nominated awards to thank Cadet Force Adult Volunteers in East Anglia.

The nominations window is open from Sunday 30th May to Sunday 27th June.

Nominations are made by using our online form by written submission or video.

Under 18's must have parental permission to submit a nomination.

There are three awards: Most Inspiring, Most Supportive and Most Innovative. The winners will receive a certificate and gift card.

Any adult volunteer in the Sea Cadets, Air Training Corps, Army Cadets or Combined Cadet Force can be nominated by a Cadet.

How to make a great CARAs nomination

CFAV with mask

What should you think about when nominating?

Try to describe how the Cadet Force adult you're nominating has helped you.

Has someone gone above and beyond to make your cadet experience better?

Can you think of any examples to support your nomination?

Tell us about the positive attributes of the person you're nominating.

Can you explain why you want to say thank you to this Cadet Force adult volunteer?

Coldhams lane army reserve centre lake with boats

Decide whether you want to make a video or written nomination. 

Get parental/guardian permission to nominate and to submit your/family email address.

Written nominations must be no longer than 200 words. We recommend writing your nomination in Pages or Word and then copying and pasting into the form in order to check the word count in advance.

Video submissions can be no longer than 2 minutes. If your video file is less than 10MB you can upload it directly into The CARAs nomination form. If your video file is more than 10MB you will need to upload the file into your Dropbox and then share the link with us in the form. If you’re not familiar with Dropbox here’s a helpful video to share you how to create a ‘share link‘.

Which award are you nominating for?

If you're nominating your adult for the Most Supportive CARA, tell us about what the adult did that was supportive, describe how you felt and explain why this was important for you. 

Nominating for Most Innovative CARA? Did your adult embrace new technology to keep you engaged in the Cadets? Did they wrestle with unfamiliar systems and win? Did they think up new ways to bring the cadet experience to you despite face-to-face training being suspended? Tell us how they stepped outside their comfort zone to keep you connected to the Cadets during the pandemic.

If an adult in your cadet organisation has caused you to feel confident about yourself or eager to learn or do something, then Most Inspiring is a great choice. 


Include positive praise and compliments in your nomination.

Adult volunteers have supported the cadets during the pandemic, inspired the cadets to do more with their time and innovated to keep the cadets engaged during extended periods of lockdown.

The lives of thousands of young people are improved and supported through the contribution of Cadet Force adult volunteers. Many are humble, self-effacing and downplay their contribution. 

The three awards for the CARAs in East Anglia this year are: Most Supportive, Most Inspiring, Most Innovative. These are qualities the Cadet Force adult volunteers across all youth organisations had the opportunity to display and develop over the course of the pandemic. This is your chance to offer them the praise they deserve. What would you say to them?

All set? Nominate!

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When will the CARAs winners be announced?

The winners will be announced via YouTube on Friday 3rd September at 7pm.

Watch the winners accept their awards and chat with us live as we say thank you to adult volunteers in East Anglia. 

We'll also reveal how many adult volunteers were nominated for each award. 

Watch the CARAs 2020 Awards from Lowlands RFCA.

Join us to show thanks to Cadet Force adult volunteers in East Anglia.

The success of the Cadet Forces is greatly dependent on the volunteers who support them.

The lives of thousands of young people are improved and supported through the contribution of CFAVs. Many are humble, self-effacing and downplay their contribution. 

Show up to show you care.

We contribute to the positive recruiting environment for the Reserve Forces.

From delivering public relations to training, fielding press enquiries, publishing articles, website curation, events and networking, the services delivered by the Communications team enable RFCA staff, members and partners to support Defence messaging in line with the regional agenda.

Our digital channels amplify Reserve Forces and Cadet stories to extend their reach and impact. Our social media content was served 325,000 times this year, pages on our website were viewed 100,000 times, we published 100 news stories and issued 4,000 newsletters. 

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Our Work with Cadets & Youth

This is how we at East Anglia RFCA contribute to the well-being of the Cadet Forces all year round.

We deliver membership services to the Army Cadets. 

Our team of Administrative Officers (AO) are embedded within the Army Cadet Force to process joining applications of both adult volunteers and young people.

The AO team administer the development of existing adult volunteers, process travel expenses, course applications, and certifications.

Many volunteer in the Cadet Forces in their communities, and they are all essential to helping adults and young people in East Anglia gain access to the cadet experience. 

We raise awareness of the positive contribution of Sea Cadets, Air Cadets and Army Cadets in the region.

We are proud to represent and support not just the 13,000 Cadets in East Anglia, but also the 2,250 Adult Instructors and Permanent Staff that make all of this activity possible. 

Shown here are a group of cadets and volunteers from the Suffolk Army Cadet force, who raised over £10k for front line workers in hospitals, ambulance and vaccination staff. Read more about this story in our Annual Report.

We have maintained and upgraded cadet facilities, ready for when cadets and adults return. 

The East Anglia RFCA Estates team are considerate of the users' needs, balancing carefully managed budgets with maintenance works to make the spaces more functional, more practical and more welcoming. 

Across the cadet estate, we installed many energy-saving measures such as LED lighting and programmable timers to heating units this year. These features also make the buildings easier to run locally by squadron leaders and detachment commanders.

Several roof refurbishments were also necessary, with improved insulation which results in further efficiencies. Read more about this and discover more great stories in our annual report.

We run 5 of the 52 Army Cadet Counties, including supplying equipment and fleet. 

Our Cadet Administrative Assistants (CAAs) for example, are are full-time employees of the RFCA, embedded in the Army Cadet Force, dedicated to the smooth running of cadet activities within his/her area. 

They do this through the supply of equipment and management of stores, as well as logistics support for catering, accommodation, events, buildings and vehicles across around 200 sites.

Our CAAs work in collaboration with other staff members and volunteers to make it possible for 13,000 cadets to have a stimulating, modern cadet experience in a safe environment.

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Our top adult volunteer stories

Here's a selection of stories about adult volunteers which might help you write your nomination.

Pre Cadet Commission task for potential officers

East Anglia RFCA prepares adult volunteers for Cadet commission

Army Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAV) interested in climbing the ranks of the ACF have to pass a Commissioning Board to gain Officer rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

The Commissioning Board is widely considered a daunting challenge which puts off CFAV from applying. But in East Anglia, CFAV have a great programme that prepares them to succeed in achieving a Cadet Commission. 

Experienced Officers mentor a dozen or so candidates over the course of a weekend. Read more


A dog on a sofa wearing a army cadets cap and rank slide

Over 9 days of Essex Army Cadets’ virtual Annual Camp 2020, 420 took part in 50 sessions on Zoom.

150 cadets and instructors attended the opening address by the Commandant, Colonel Leona Barr-Jones via Zoom, marking the official start of Virtual Annual Camp 2020 on 28th July. 

A team of County and Company HQ staff worked together to refine the training program and ensure seamless delivery online. Read more

SSI Lesley Utting, a cadet instructor for Suffolk Army Cadet Force, was awarded the British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service to Suffolk ACF and the youth of Suffolk.

Lesley, a mum of 4 and gran to 7 from Thetford, has been a cadet instructor for over 18 years and “still loves every minute of it.” When she isn’t volunteering, Lesley is a driver for Vertas, driving children with special educational needs to and from school. Read more

Despite the challenges of the last 12 months, adult volunteers in the Cadet Forces have continued to win prestigious awards for their dedication. 

The Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE CStJ, awarded Certificates of Meritorious Service to adult volunteers from the Cadet Forces and the Reserve Forces. 

The Lord-Lieutenant said: “On hearing the citations for each of the seven, I was immensely impressed with the service they have given and continue to give their units and the wider military community.”

Read their citations here on our website. 

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