Kelly Lupton is a retired Sergeant in the Army Reserves. The Queen’s University graduate has represented the Canadian Forces at two different CISM volleyball championships and two different World Military Games.
The native of Georgetown, Ontario and former school teacher has worked at Personnel Support Programs (PSP) in NDHQ as a National Sports Co-ordinator and as a Research & development Manager.
Bill Oliver recently caught up with Kelly to discuss her past working experiences and what she thinks about being the P.E. Manager at RMC.
IN CONVERSATION WITH BILL OLIVER - Q&A PHOTOS BY 25275 JULIA ANDERSON
eVeritas: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? How did you end up at RMC as the Physical Education Manager?
Kelly Lupton: I was born in Georgetown Ontario. I came to Kingston to attend Queen’s University. While there I earned my Bachelor of Physical Education, Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences, and Bachelor of Education. After teaching for a few years in Georgetown and Kingston I moved to Ottawa where I completed my Masters in Sport Administration.
My first position with PSP was as National Sport Coordinator, where I coordinated the CF National Championships and the CF Sports Awards Ceremony. I then moved into the position of Research and Development Manager where I was project manager for a number of CF fitness related research projects including the SAR Tech selection standard, the Diver fitness standard, the CJIRU selection and maintenance standards, and the CrossFit/Combat Fitness Program review. It was after this that I moved to Kingston to take on the position of PE Manager.
From the military standpoint, while in Kingston I joined the Reserves as a Signals Operator working at the Electronic Warfare Squadron. I spent 8 years there and 5 years at 763 Communication Regiment in Ottawa, where I eventually retired at the rank of Sergeant.
eVeritas: What is your own fitness background? Were you a competitive athlete at one time? If yes, what was (is) your sport at what level did you compete? When did you know you wanted to become a PF Manager?
Kelly Lupton: I am definitely more of a sport person. Although I dabbled in most sports growing up I would say that figure skating and volleyball were the two sports that I spent most of my time training and competing in. While in university I played Varsity Volleyball at Queen’s. During my time in the Reserves I had the opportunity to compete as an athlete with the CISM Women’s Volleyball team at 2 World Volleyball Championships and 2 World Military Games. Those years were definitely the highlight of my volleyball career.
I have always been involved in fitness more from the strength and conditioning side rather than personal training/group fitness side of the house. Most of my experience in fitness is through providing training programs for sports teams and teams that I have coached. Although I have had experience coaching track and field and figure skating/power skating the majority of my experience has been coaching volleyball.
eVeritas: You are beginning your 3rd year as the Physical Education Manager. Tell us about a typical workday.
Kelly Lupton: This is my third year at RMC (although last year I was on maternity leave). A typical workday for the PE Manager is different in the summer than during the academic year. The summer days are filled with program development, policy development, and Physical education program development in preparation for the upcoming school year. During the academic year the days are filled with trying to juggle the day to day issues in support of the PE teachers and the Officer Cadets.
eVeritas: What is the size and make-up of your full & part-time staff? Is your position mostly administrative these days? Do you teach classes on a regular basis, if yes, what classes (Years) do you handle?
Kelly Lupton: The RMC athletic Department currently has 8 PE teachers. One of the teachers is also the Tae Kwon Do coach. Each teacher is responsible for the classes that they teach as well as their area of expertise which includes: collective sports, individual sports, evaluations, aquatics, supplementary physical training (SPT), combatives, military skills, and curriculum development. There is a small list of Part-time “supply teachers” that fill in as required.
At this time, the PE Manager is an administrative position. From time to time I will cover for a PE teacher on the gym floor. This year I will be teaching a skating skills course in second year because of the large number of 2nd year OCdts this year.
eVeritas: Working with Officer Cadets on a regular basis, you (your staff) can directly influence their performance in the physical fitness test. What are a few keys for cadets being successful with the test?
Kelly Lupton: From our Physical Education program which provide the OCdts with some theoretical and practical exposure to fitness, to our SPT program that directly targets those OCdts in need, to personal training for those that want to exceed the minimum standard, the PE staff at RMC are here to provide the tools to Officer Cadets to succeed in fitness AND be able to lead others once they graduate. The keys to success with the PPT are simply making the time to get to the gym and putting in the effort and intensity when you are at the gym. To support this, a healthy lifestyle is also going to better your chances with success.
eVeritas: What do you do to track an individuals’ growth with it comes to physical fitness / education?
Kelly Lupton: Each PE teacher is in charge of monitoring one or two different squadrons, specifically the physical fitness and PE scores for its members. The PE reps work closely with the squadron commanders to ensure that OCdts that are struggling do not fall through the cracks. They make sure they are at SPT or in their PE class. Once they are there, it is then up to the OCdts to succeed or not.
eVeritas: Are the fitness facilities adequate to handle all the programs and the officer cadets? If no, what would you like to see improved and / or added?
Kelly Lupton: The facilities at KMCSC as a whole are impressive to the onlooker. From the Rappel tower, to the climbing wall, to the track and Combat Fitness Corner (a more recent addition which we are still adding to), the PE program benefits from what we do have access to. On the other hand, there are a number of improvements/additions to the PE program that we would like to provide to the OCdts but are unable to because of space and facility requirements (both because we share it with Base activities and just general space requirements). We do look forward to the addition of a turf field as our second year Collective Sports PE program will definitely benefit. In a dream world we would love to have a second pad of ice, an outdoor obstacle course (or fitness trail) on or near RMC campus, and more gym space for sports.
eVeritas: Because you (your staff) work with most of the officer cadets, you get to know them as well as anybody. What three words best describe RMC cadets during physical Education classes?
Kelly Lupton: The three words that I would describe RMC Cadets as are motivated, dependable, and competent.
eVeritas: How do you handle officer cadets that just “check out” and obviously are not motivated to give 100% during Phys ed classes? These same individuals are fit enough to meet the minimum pass level but pretty well go through the motions during fitness / sports classes.
Kelly Lupton: For the most part this isn’t really the case. Most OCdts are engaged in the PE program. We are a nice break from the hectic schedule of academics. Further the OCdts tend to really enjoy the program as they get choice for 2nd and 4th year and 1st and 2nd year, although compulsory topics, are enjoyed by the students as they are unique to a military school. Anyone that isn’t pulling their weight is dealt with by the PE teacher. I, as PE Manager, rarely deal with problem cases due to attitude in PE. In the end their PE grade is reflected by their attitude and participation and overall the grades in PE are quite high.
eVeritas: What is the best part about working as the PE manager at RMCC?
Kelly Lupton: Working at RMC in PE is a teacher’s dream job! The students show up to class fit, and motivated and there is flexibility and variety in the programming that we can give. I am lucky right now, also, that I have a staff that really cares about what they do. They are all very different people (with different training backgrounds) but there is no doubt in my mind that they don’t love their job. They challenge me as a Manager to evolve the PE program to be even better each year – which I think is pretty awesome.
eVeritas: As part of the overall assessment of officer cadets as future leaders do you and your staff have a formal input into their leadership potential?
Kelly Lupton: At the end of each Academic year my staff goes through each of their squadrons to determine those OCdts that were not successful with PO 119 (the Athletic Component). Each PE teacher provides input into how the failure happened (attendance, attitude, leadership in class, or at SPT etc.). I then speak on their behalf at the athletic review boards. It is in this way that we have some input into their fate at RMC. In the end, however, it is their overall performance in all components at the College that determine the potential of the OCdt.
eVeritas: Tell us a about the success / failure rate of the program? How did the past school year compare to the others?
Kelly Lupton: With the QS in place, there is a very clear standard that the OCdts are being held to and it makes it administratively easier to follow through with consequences. PE failures are minimal 2-3 a year. This very low failure rate can be attributed to the clear and timely lines of communication between the Squadron Commanders and PE Teachers.
eVeritas: For those officer cadets for what ever reason does not meet the minimum standards come test time – how do you deal with them? I Year/ II Year/ III Year/ & IV Years.
Kelly Lupton: As per the QS, first years must show sufficient progress with the PPT over the year, second year students must pass the PPT 1 time, and third and fourth years must pass 2 PPT’s in each of those years. The PE department runs 3 PPT’s a year (with one retest if required). Those that do not meet the PPT standard are immediately placed on the Supplementary Training Program until can pass the PPT
eVeritas: When and how are the remedial classes handled?
Kelly Lupton: Supplementary PT is held every Mon, Tue, Thur, and Friday from 0530 – 0700. They are also required to do an in class session on Wednesday evenings where they discuss many health promotion topics that will not just help them in being successful with the PPT but also in the future as officers in the CF. Topics include nutrition, energy balance, goal setting, stress management, etc. This program is proven very successful. In fact last year after PPT 1 there were 149 OCdts on SPT. In April only 18 OCdts were unsuccessful with the PPT standard (of which only 1 of these failed the EXPRES test). I am pretty proud of the SPT program and its proven success. The SPT Coordinator, Erin O’Reilly, has been critical in meeting the program’s goals. If you ask her, though, she will give credit to the 13 Sqn representatives acting as the SPT Assistance helping her with during the workouts and the effort of the individuals on SPT.
eVeritas: What happens during the final (IV Year) and an officer cadet fails to meet the standard?
Kelly Lupton: The PE department provides the details of the OCdt’s PE career at RMC (PE and testing scores) with anecdotes from the PE teachers and it is ultimately the military chain of command that decides whether they receive their RMC degree or not.
eVeritas: Are there any athletes or coaches ( in your past or present) that you admire? Why?
Kelly Lupton: For being a huge Tom-boy/jock growing up, many might be surprised that I don’t watch professional sports a whole lot, and I don’t really follow big names in sport. I’m one of those grassroots kind of people that really appreciates anyone that would give their time and energy (often not paid) to bring sport to communities. These are the kinds of coaches/people that I admire the most. As my own daughters grow up I hope to be one of these grassroots coaches to give back to the community that got me hooked on sport.
eVeritas: How much do you get involved in the other three pillars of the college? Do you often attend varsity games? Any favourites?
Kelly Lupton: I am personally a fan of Varsity volleyball. I try to make most of the home games each year. I don’t live in Kingston (but Napanee) so it isn’t the easiest to get to town in the evenings or weekends. As my kids get older I hope to drag them along with me as I would love to expose them to different types of sports.
eVeritas: Did you attend the Change of Command parade? What did you attend during Graduation time?
Kelly Lupton: I did attend the change of command parade. Because I was on maternity leave last year I was not in town during graduation time.
eVeritas: What are your plans for Reunion Weekend? Will you take in the Obstacle Course? How about the Rebadging parade on Saturday? Or the march to the arch on the Sunday by ex cadets? How important are the RMC traditions to you?
Kelly Lupton: In the past I usually attend the varsity alumni games. I have a number of Ex Cadet friends that I have met through my CISM and base volleyball experiences that often attend and I enjoy catching up with them. I personally think that traditions like the alumni weekend are important to the OCdts and the school as a whole. I know that the Athletic Department continues to benefit from the efforts of Ex Cadets and their generosity and support. As a newer staff member I hope to take advantage of the traditions more and more as the years pass, and as I meet more and more people, to ensure that I make my stay in the RMC Athletic Department a fulfilling one.
eVeritas: Do you read e-Veritas on a regular basis? What do you like or dislike, most about it?
Kelly Lupton: I do read it. I think it does a great job of getting a variety of different kinds of articles covering topics dealing with the past, present, and future. I continuously learn things about the college, and often gain insight into issues/changes at the college that I did not even know were on the radar screen.
eVeritas: If you could change anything about RMC what would it be?
Kelly Lupton: In a dream world I would have a big enough staff that could run PT in the mornings for all Squadrons and add a second PE class for each OCdt (they currently have one double period of PE a week). The reality is that, even with all the money in the world, there is only so much time in the day for an OCdt to do academics, military activities, second language training, PE classes, intramurals or varsity AND on top of that study.
Over the last couple of years RMC has made steps at implementing different IT initiatives. The PE department has been able to make use of these advances by having online registration for PE classes for the first time ever this September – very exciting for us. The IT staff at RMC has been super with us in moving in the direction that we would like to be with our program. There are many other IT related initiatives that we would like to do in the PE department and would like to see at the university as a whole to bring RMC up to speed with other Canadian Universities. Even better then catching up to other Universities, I think that we should be striving to push on to be on the leading edge of technology. All this to say that, if I could change anything at RMC, I would dump a ton of money into IT initiatives (not just equipment but personnel and infrastructure).