“The Fun Side of RMC” on Display
Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt
How to describe the Annual First Year Obstacle Course? How to put into words the effort the Class of 2022 put forward today, the drive and discipline it took to complete the Obstacle Course, or the pride they showed at ringing the bell and earning their place in the Cadet Wing? If you’ve never experienced it up close, even as a spectator, you won’t quite understand it. This is just one of those things you have to experience for yourself.
Today’s course was the first time I have ever experienced it as just a spectator and in that way you really see things differently. This is the “fun side” of RMC on display. It’s all the discipline and drive that you’ll see tomorrow during the Badging Parade but in a much louder and far more colourful format. For many spectators, especially those friends and family who live too far away to have attended the March Through the Arch, this was also their first exposure to the College. And as one who has been around the College off and on for a while, that was really fun to watch. Their enthusiasm was infectious. There are families who are brand new to the military college life and there are those who are second or even third generation Cadets, but today you couldn’t tell them apart. They all got what military college was about and what their family members are here for. And they were all there to cheer them on.
If you are one of those who couldn’t attend today, and you’ve never experienced it before, the Obstacle Course consists of twelve individual obstacles constructed around the RMC peninsula. The twelve First Year flights (one from each Squadron) have to work together as a team to make it through each one. This year the Flights were released from the start line one at a time, at eight minute intervals. The Flight which completes the course in the least amount of time is the winner. (This year’s victor was Warrior Flight from 9 Sqn.) “Ringing the bell” on the Parade Square at the end of the course signifies both the end of the First Year Orientation Period and that the First Years have earned their place in the Cadet Wing. As is tradition, the First Years were then presented with their College Coins by members of the Old Brigade before taking a well-deserved dip in Lake Ontario.
Col Chris Ayotte, RMC Director of Cadets, said it best at the March Through the Arch three weeks ago. “You stand today as individuals, but when you finish the obstacle course in three weeks’ time you will do so as fit, motivated members of this 142 year old institution,” he told the newly arrived First Years. And he was right. No individual gets through the Obstacle Course. It’s just not possible. Working together, as a team, is what gets you through. And that team extends beyond the First Year flights themselves to the rest of the Wing and the friends and family. Everyone there today was pulling for their First Years, cheering them on, willing them through to the end. You truly have to see it to believe it!
More photos from the Obstacle Course up soon – keep checking back here