On September 18, 2021, the first-year cadets’ Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) class of 2025 completed their orientation program.
Reunion Weekend doesn’t just mark the end of FYOP, a large part of it is “marking the link between current and past generations of RMC cadets,” said Simon Smith, CWC (Cadet Wing Commander).
Every year, RMC runs a two-kilometre obstacle course featuring 12 obstacles. This year they were able to add another obstacle for the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year. In previous years, their program wasn’t big enough to run the obstacle with the rest of the cadet wing, but this year, the program has grown so much that they had the opportunity.
The course consists of:
- Monkey Bars,
- Rope Bridge,
- Truck Pull,
- Tire Transport,
- Slippery Slope,
- The Tan,
- Pirate Bay,
- The Pit,
- Cargo Net,
- Assault Boat Race,
- Ammo Crate Puzzle,
- The Wall
- Gut Check
First Year Orientation Program
Smith worked alongside the first-year cadets for this year’s obstacle course, a different perspective from when he ran his first obstacle course.
“It was amazing. I really get to see all the different aspects. It’s really interesting to get to see the first years develop their leadership, their communication, and all the skills that get taught through FYOP,” he explained.
Preparation for the obstacle course starts during FYOP with the first few weeks by getting the cadets physically ready.
“Later on, you start developing leadership and teamwork because that’s a really important aspect to be successful in the obstacle course,” Smith added.
Then in the last week of FYOP, the cadets are given the opportunity to run through certain obstacles providing them with an idea of what they’re expected to do and what the actual obstacles are.
“Another big part of it is for safety,” Smith explained, “If things aren’t done properly, it could lead to injury, so we really want to make sure that they know how to do it properly to ensure safety.”
The obstacle course marks the end of the first-year orientation program, and FYOP is built to the obstacle course. It allows the flights in the first year to show off the skills that they learned.
Once the flight is finished, the obstacle course, it’s marked by ringing the bell on the parade square. Afterward, they meet with members of the Old Brigade who are former cadets who graduated 50 years or more before.
This is when the flights receive their college coins, which are coins with their college number. They keep on them for the rest of their lives. Traditionally once this is done, the flights will jump off the RMC pier into the lake.
The next big event after the obstacle course is on Saturday, which is the badging parade. That’s where the first years become official members of RMC and are integrated into the cadet wing with the rest of the second years and up.
Smith explained further, “So that’s where they trade in their cap badge for the RMC cap badge. It’s a momentous occasion. You get to see the first years show off what they’ve learned. I got a chance to stand out on parade in front of them, and it was really an honour to get to see just how well they did that year.”
As seen in previous years, the weekend ended with a Remembrance Ceremony on Sunday.
“It’s been more of a somber event compared to the rest of the weekend,” Smith expressed, “It’s where the Old Brigade will commemorate the members they’ve lost through the years.”
For Smith, he said this time around. It was a bit sad in a way because it was his last obstacle course, marking the culmination of his time at RMC as a cadet.
“It was great to see that even though we’re still going through a pandemic, we’re still able to honour some of our traditions here at RMC.”