Three air cadets from Horsham travelled 6,000 miles to South America for a once in a lifetime trip to Peru.
Cadet sergeant Daniel Brown, 18, cadet corporal Reece Packham, 17, and cadet Harvey Betts, 16, were part of a select group of 24 air cadets from all around Sussex.
During their three-week expedition they helped to construct a new building at an orphanage called Azul Wazi, translated as The Blue House. Their reward for their hard work was a 75km expedition at heights of more than 4,500 metres over five days along the Salkantay trail to reach Machu Pichu.
The unique part of this trip was that the cadets ran the entire expedition, with staff supporting them in the decision making if needed.
Daniel, Reece and Harvey had to be picked for this expedition, and to earn a place had to go through a gruelling selection.
Once chosen they took part in military leadership training and training from the Edale mountain rescue team in the Peak District.
Many of the cadets raised their own funds to make the trip and one even arranged crowd funding for new clothing and musical instruments to be purchased for the 19 orphans who live at Azul Wasi.
Cadet sergeant Dan Brown, said: “Working at the orphanage had a big impact.
“I have done construction work like that before and it was interesting to see the different building methods.
“Seeing what a huge impact our work would make to the orphans and orphanage was really eye opening for me.”
One of the staff on their trip was one of their previous officers from their squadron.
Flying officer Richard Foster said: “To have enabled a group of keen and enthusiastic young people was a privilege.
“To see how they overcame various obstacles and challenges, and to help them to overcome them was really rewarding and it was a privilege to be a part of their journey.
“I was lucky to have taken part in a similar trip at their age, and it changed and shaped my life for the better – it hope it does the same for them.”
Overseas expeditions are one of the many things that air cadets get to take part in including the Duke of Edinburgh award, visiting RAF Stations and adventure training.
Horsham Air Cadets is recruiting, if you are aged 12-17, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of the next open evening. Adult volunteers applications are also welcome.