EX OAK LEAF 2020 3 Jul – 16 Aug 2020

The Adventure of a lifetime awaits..

This year one of our Cadets from the Blandford Detachment was lucky enough to earn a place on Ex OAK LEAF 2019 - Read his story here

My name is Aiden Quinn; I am a Corporal at Blandford Detachment (N Company), I am Sixteen years old and have been in the Army Cadets for just under four years. This article is about my amazing and unforgettable six weeks’ experience in Canada on a Sport and Fitness Instructor’s (FSI) course.

With the help of my Sergeant Major (K Luckham) I submitted an application to Lt Colonel Garrett (Deputy Commandant); shortly after I had an interview with Lt Colonel Garrett to gain his approval for my application. My application led to an invite to attend a national selection weekend in south wales on the 18th-21st of April where twenty four cadets competed for only 10 places on the FSI course! Throughout the weekend we were tested, we had to do a swim fully clothed, a fitness test, hiking, mountain biking and another interview, all whilst being assessed on everything we did and on our team spirit. I was thrilled to be successful and gain an invite to attend the course; to fly to the Argonaut Cadet Training Centre in Canada on the 6th July 2019 until 18th August 2019 – six weeks away from home!

When we arrived in Canada we were met by an overwhelming amount of smiley faces and lots of Canadian chocolate which the Canadian Cadets had brought for us. The sport and fitness course entailed 6am starts every day, fitness test every week and a half, swimming every Friday and the Cinema every Monday. Throughout the day we would be participating in numerous sports and PT (physical training) activities and then we would have to instruct and teach other cadets different sports and lead many PT sessions ourselves. Over this time I built unbreakable friendships with the other British cadets. Little did I know quite how strong these friendships were until I returned home and immediately arranged to meet up with them, after just a week of being back home.

I was extremely fortunate to get top cadet in my platoon one week, the reward was a helicopter ride with the Canadian Air Force, over the scenic Canadian Countryside! A day I’m sure I will never forget as following the Helicopter ride was Canoeing in a picturesque Canadian river in the blistering sun. What a day!

The trip was truly incredible, on top of the sport and fitness instructor course we raced around an assault course, went go-karting, lost at laser tag, risked everything on a trampoline and had a great time. The six weeks went far too quick but were the best six weeks of my life so far. I applied thinking ‘why not?’ ‘what have I got to lose?’ never for one second thinking it would actually happen, but now I am so happy that I did apply and did give it a go. The friendships I made will last years and the memories even longer. The Adult volunteers made this trip so exceptional, from Sergeant Major Luckham getting the ball rolling to Captain Wapples and Major Pilkington who accompanied the cadets to Canada.

When I joined Cadets in 2015 I had no idea that I would be going to Canada for six weeks for less than £30 and gaining so many qualifications from it too. From SCIC (Senior Cadet Instructor Course) to CLC (Cadet Leadership Course) to 4 star first aid. I would give anything to go back again and am fortunate enough to be one the final four cadets who are hoping to be selected for the Staff cadet role next year, meaning that if I’m lucky enough to be chosen, I will be assessing the cadets at this year’s national selection and going to Canada again!

What are you doing next summer? Applications for Exercise Oak Leaf have recently come out, why not apply?

Take your ACF Adventure further than you ever thought possible - apply for a nomination to attend Ex OAK LEAF 2020. READ MORE BELOW:


The UK runs an annual exchange exercise with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets (RCAC). This exchange was established in 1972 and is the Army’s Cadets’ main contribution to International Defence Engagement between the UK and Canada.

This year 60 UK Army Cadets (ACF and CCF (Army). ) plus ten CFAV Escort Officers are invited to travel to locations in Canada over the summer. In addition the four top cadets from last year’s exchange have been invited to return to Canada as Staff Cadets.

The UK cadets and CFAVs each attend one of five, six-week RCAC courses during which they are fully integrated within the RCAC.

The Council for Cadet Rifle Shooting (CCRS) have been delegated the responsibility to deliver and coordinate the cadets and adults deploying to CTC Connaught and will issue a separate instruction. HQRC is responsible for the remaining four RCAC Courses.

Dates. The dates for the 2019 Ex OAK LEAF exchange are 3 Jul – 16 Aug 2020.

THE RCAC Courses.

The UK exchange cadets and CFAVs will deploy onto one of four RCAC Courses run at three different locations. For more insight into the exchange programme see the following links:


Leadership and Challenge Course (LCI) (Rocky Mountain)

The RCAC Leadership and Challenge Course is aimed at cadets 15 years or older who are 4 star complete, and runs from the Rocky Mountain Cadet Training Centre, Calgary in central Canada. Activities include
  • Wilderness First Aid,
  • Outdoor Leadership,
  • Adventure activities such as: Biking, Kayaking, Horseback Riding or Mountaineering
  • RPOC Allocations.

There are 12 places on this course

Expedition Instructor Course (EI) (Whitehorse and Argonaut)

The RCAC Expedition Instructor Course is aimed at cadets aged 14 - 16 who are 2* complete , and runs concurrently from two locations in Canada - Whitehorse and Argonaut. Activities include:
  • First Aid;
  • Navigation;
  • Survival;
  • Self-Reliance;
  • Shelter Building;
  • Cycling and Canoeing;
  • An 18-day expedition; Adventure Training; Leadership; and Instructional Techniques.

There are 24 places on this course.

Fitness and Sport Instructor Course (FSI) (Argonaut)

The RCAC Fitness and Sport Instructor Course is aimed at cadets aged 15-16 years who are 2 star complete, and runs from the Argonaut Cadet Training Centre. The objective of this course is to develop a fitness and sports specialist with the skills and subject matter knowledge required to perform the role of a Fitness and Sports Instructor and a team leader for fitness and sports activities.

There are 12 places on this course.


Can you see yourself here?


Check out the timeline, speak to your Detachment Commander and complete the application form below.



From Now until 20 December

Applications invited for CFAV Escort Officers to deploy to Canada and support UK exchange click the link below to apply.

  • Week beginning 27 Jan 20 – CFAV Escort Officer interviews will take place at HQ Army Cadets, Montgomery House, Aldershot, specific dates TBC by invite.
  • 6 Mar 20 –Cadet nominations from each RPOC/Bde to be booked on Westminster Activity Code 20/701820. Application forms to follow in post to SO2 Cdt Trg Ops, HQRC.
  • NLT 9 Mar 20 - Joining Instructions sent to RPOC/Bde nominated cadets to attend the National Selection Event.
  • 14-18 Apr 20 - National Selection Event at Cwrt-Y-Gollen Camp in Crickhowell for nominated cadets and selected CFAVs. Succesfull candidates and reserves will be informed at the event.
  • NLT 18 May 20 - Parents Briefing Pack and CFAV Joining Instructions issued to successful candidates, CFAVs and reserves.
  • 13 Jun 20 – Parents/Carers briefing day, all selected cadets, CFAVs to attend with parents/carers, location TBC.
  • 27 Jun 20 -Staff Cadets depart UK from London Heathrow for mandatory training with RCAC.
  • 3 Jul 20 - CFAV Escort Officers and Cadets meet in London for deployment briefing and final administration.
  • 4 Jul 20 - Depart UK from London Heathrow.
  • 6 July - 15 Aug 20 - RCAC Courses run.
  • 15 Aug 20 - All personnel depart Canada.
  • 16 Aug 20 - All personnel arrive at London Heathrow Airport for dispersal (depending on flight times)
The allocation of places is limited (Only 4 per course for the whole of the SW Region) so competition for places will be fierce!!
The Calling Notice with more details is available below - This shows the application criteria / required fitness levels and includes the CADETS (ANNEX D) & ADULT VOLUNTEER (ANNEX E) Application Forms
Created By
Lt Thor Elsson