Thursday 18th July
I had an early start on the Thursday; I met the officer and got into the minibus. We had to pick up several more cadets from different locations around Birmingham. When all the cadets were in the minibus we then set off to Heathrow Airport, however on the way we were stuck in traffic and had to call the Camp Com to tell them that we were going to be late, things weren’t looking too good! The traffic finally cleared and we reached the airport with minutes to spare, we quickly checked in our bags got our ticket went through security and got on the plane. The flight was 4 hours long I sat next to a boy who didn’t even think I was in the air cadets, his name was Danny, he was my friend for the camp. We arrived in Cyprus, grabbed our luggage and got on the coach. When I realised we had a 2 hour journey to get to the Troodos mountains I fell asleep. We arrived at Troodos very late at night we were all tired so we were shown to our rooms, briefed and went straight to bed.
Friday 19th July
We woke up early at 6:00am (4:00am English time) got into our uniform and went to the mess for breakfast. We had full English breakfast which made me happy so I ended up having two. After breakfast we did a FAMEX. A FAMEX is when you familiarise with a location by doing a variety of activities. There were three groups; A flight, B flight and C flight each had 10 cadets in with an IC and a 2IC. Flights gained points by achieving tasks. After the FAMEX we got changed into our civilian clothes and got into the minibus with our swimming costumes, we were going down to a local swimming pool to do a swimming test. After the swimming test we had dinner at the pool, we were also allowed to go and look around the town and purchase some gifts. After the meal we came back to the base for free time.
Saturday 20th July
Another Early start on the Saturday to go to the mess and have breakfast. We were briefed to get into uniform and form up outside the mess in our flights. We were then told that we were doing some initial exercises which consisted of real life scenarios and the flight that did the best would gain points. Later on in the day we went to Water World which was two and a half hours away from the base, when we arrived we were given an entry pass and a free meal pass. We ran into the park and the ATC had their own sunbathing chairs reserved so we dumped our stuff and went onto the water rides straight away. We got around the whole park and still had half the day left so we stopped had a burger and chips and a drink. The temperature was 42 degrees, it was so hot you couldn’t stand on the floor; we all had to run around the park because we all forgot to bring sandals. It was then time to leave so we got back in the minibuses and made our way back to base.
Sunday 21st July
It’s just the basics for cadets if you join you’re going to be awake at ridiculous times in the mornings, but it is good because you can fit so much in, in just one day. Our first trip of this day was to North Cyprus where we were learning about the history of the division in Cyprus. We were there for almost the whole day and why we were there we visited a castle that has the BEST homemade lemonade you will ever drink and also the views were outstanding. After we visited the castle we were let off into the town and told we had to come back at a certain time so we went around sat down had something to eat and brought more gifts. We all came back to the coach early so the staff decided to take us to a local beach. While we were at the beach the staff found a restaurant that was on the beach so we all sat down to eat after we played water polo at the beach. After the meal we then set off back to base.
Monday 22nd July
Everybody was used to getting up early now so we didn’t have any more late comers in the morning…it wasn’t me. On the Monday we were visiting another R.A.F station called Akrotiri. I was really excited because I had heard a lot about the station and they do have a lot there for entertainment they have a private beach and much more. On that day they decided to take us bowling. When we were doing the bowling there was a competition between the flights and which cadet could get the highest score. Me being a sporty and competitive person, I got a high score of 147 so C flight got the points! Because we were on an R.A.F base we could have dinner for free so we went to the mess for dinner. After dinner we were on the way to go karting. This activity was so fun because it was a big competition there were 6 cars and 2 people from each flight on the track at each time which made it even more fun everybody went on the track twice, there was also a beautiful sunset in the background which everybody was fascinated by. We then got back into the minibuses at a late time and got back to the base to have a little bit of free time.
Tuesday 23rd July
By this time in the week we were all very tired so the staff decided that we were going to do rock climbing. The rock climbing was led by two soldiers that were on their holiday and kindly offered to take three days out to do rock climbing with all three flights. Rock climbing was challenging because I had never done it before but I picked it up really quickly and did the hardest climb there with the quickest time which meant that C flight was bringing in the points. After rock climbing we travelled to a big shopping centre close to R.A.F base Akrotiri. In the shopping centre on the bottom floor was an ice rink so it was C flights day to go ice skating, we also had a chance to go around the shops and buy gifts for people back home. It was then time for something to eat so we went back to Troodos and there was a small restaurant on the way back to the station.
Wednesday 24th July
Another early start because there was a lot to do today with a variety of places to be. We started of the day by having breakfast then C flight got into their minibus and set off to the ‘Egg Club’, this was a shooting club owned by a few Americans who did clay pigeon shooting. We sat down and listened to the brief that we had. Clay pigeon shooting was a competition which flight could shoot the most clays each, every cadet had ten clays. Our flight won by 5 clays. We then back to R.A.F Akrotiri to go to the beach and we relaxed and had some ice cream. We then went over to the mess and had dinner at the mess. I was very pleased with the dinner and I will never forget it. It was chicken rice and peas and it was such a beautiful meal I can still taste it if I close my eyes and imagine I was there. Anyway as we were in Akrotiri we decided to do the DCCT which is target practice on the L98 cadet rifle. It was very fun but at the same time I was getting frustrated because my rifle wasn’t working properly and I was getting low scores for C flight. We left Akrotiri and went back for more free time.
Thursday 25th July
Thursday was a really relaxed day as we only had one activity to do all day and that was sailing. It was around the corner from water world where we went before. It was really calm we all had a turn of steering the boat into the gentle winds and was awarded flight point for sailing the closest to a yellow flag that was in the middle of the sea.
Friday 26th July
Friday this day was filled with a lot of different emotions throughout the day. All the flights came together on the last day so we could all spend time with each other the first thing we did was visit a UN base on the border, it was called the green zone, it was an airport that hadn’t been touched in 50 years from when the Turkish and Cypriots were fighting. The airport still has bullet holes in the glass and much more. It was really interesting to learn about the history and why Cyprus is split into two. After the UN base we went to a little village and rented the pool out and had a pool party with a really nice dinner and paper plate awards. We were in the pool for several hours we had dinner before we went in and had to wait about half an hour. It was a really nice day there was a beautiful sunset in the background as we all spent our last moment with each other. My paper plate award was the most excited unfortunately I won’t tell you why I got the award… we all sat together and reflected on the week and realised how good it actually was and how many new friends that we had made and what a great experience it was.
Saturday 27th July
The journey back was a lot more interesting now we all knew each other. We took the long Journey from the Troodos mountains to the airport. We were on time and everybody was happy, we had all been given these polo shirts which had ‘RAF Troodos 18th-27th July 2013’ on them we was all wearing them as we went through the airport we had a look around the duty free store and spent the last of our Euros. We waited in the waiting area just having a general conversation about what the first thing we are going to do when we get back into England. We boarded the plane and headed back to England, everybody was tired so the majority of us fell asleep, I did. When we landed it woke me up we all got off the plane and waited for our bags to come round when they finally came around the Camp Com had one last talk before we all went our separate ways. When she was finished talking we said our last goodbye’s to everyone as we were all close by this time now, it was very emotional and some people even started crying. It just goes to show how much of an impact the camp can have, to make such good friends within 9 days and have one of the best holidays I have ever had and I would recommend this camp. If anyone gets the chance don’t hesitate to rocket your hand up and be the first person on the list because you won’t regret it and you will remember this experience for the rest of your life.