Are the sports and activities as available and brilliant as the RAF moderators make out? I suppose it all depends upon where you are based. But what is it like? I recently joined a few sports clubs, cricket, squash, badminton and at club level it was all very friendly but when i was at uni there was a 'click' that you had to be in no matter who you were.
I was just wondering as lots of people say they get to do things normal civillians wouldnt be able to and i was wondering what it was really like. Is there something for everyone and events planned every week? Or is it only for the select few who know the right people?
Well, the opportunities are there, it just depends on how busy you are, whether or not you can afford it, and how far away from your station they all are. There are plenty of courses you can go on for free, to learn how to ski, dive, be a mountain leader, literally hundreds of qualifications. The priority goes on "service need" though, so if there's someone who needs to qualify for some reason then they get priority.
If you just fancy doing it for your own benefit, I think you're down at priority 3 or 4, so you end up being bumped off courses occasionally. But, being that they're free, it's still not that bad. If you want to be a badminton coach, a football referee, or whatever, the courses are there too.
Expeds organised at station level are quite easy to get on (as long as you're not too busy!) but almost all involve a fairly hefty personal contribution to the costs. They're massively subsidised, so if you want to sail between Majorca and Gibraltar, or learn to ski in the Alps, or dive in the Carribean there aren't many cheaper ways.
The biggest problem seems to be that in order to get funding, some things have to be very heavily justified. So you can't just go sports diving or take a bunch of diving novices to the Carribean, but you can get money for lots of diving training in the UK to take appropriately qualified people abroad to survey something or do something vaguely ecological like count fish.
The second biggest snag is the amount of planning that's required, so most stations have one or 2 big expeds arranged in a year. Competition to get on them can be fierce but again, it depends how busy you are.
At a "club" level, there's almost certainly a station club or team for virtually everything, and if there isn't, you can start one if you're appropriately qualified. Equitation, football, rugby, hockey, swimming, diving, water polo, tae kwon do, orienteering, whatever, there's almost certainly a local club if you're on a relatively large station. Through that club, you can shift up a few priority points when it comes to getting on coaching or qualification courses, as you'll be helping out your station if you get qualified.
Plenty of opportunities out there, basically, but not always that easy to take advantage of them, and certainly it's quite rare to get fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime trips for free.
sounds interesting, that was a big selling point for me too!
as a WSOp (or soon to be i hope), would there be scope for more adventurous training such as the skiing, parachuting etc.?
also, are the clubs for both makes and females??
sounds good to me. I like it how you stressed that its only if we are not too busy! that subliminally says a lot! But sounds good to me!
Jenna, you'll be able to take up whatever AT (adventurous training) you want. If you want to ski, join the Skiing Association, try to get on expeds out to Alps or Scandanavia. No matter what trade/branch you go into, everything is open to you.
Sports and AT aren't meant as an 'extra' bit of your duties, they are there for a way to unwind, you're free to choose what does it best. (Wzz will rip my head off, pointing out that Officers frequently get pinged with extra duties to do with Clubs - AT and Sports are carefree for the Airmen and women!)
And yes, all sports will have a male and female team/league, that is if the sport does not allow for mixed.
That sounds good to me. Its hard to know what to expect and whats rumour and whats not.