ALOY Badging Ceremony: A coming together
By OCdt Stranks and OCdt Pierrot – Photo by: Erik St-Gelais
Friday morning (4 Sep) at the Royal Military College, cadets, professors, staff, officers, and civilians gathered together in the New Gym to witness the badging ceremony for this year’s Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year candidates. This ceremony concluded the three week orientation period that the candidates underwent to prepare themselves for life at RMC. The fourteen members stood proudly as they received their tri-service badge from Lt. Col. Popov, Director of Cadets. This badge is awarded to those who are officially members in training within the Canadian Armed Forces. These ALOY members each attained this goal together.
The ALOY program is now in its eighth year. It is a small program which draws from a very exclusive group of Canadians: Aboriginal youth who want to become the leaders and shapers of their generation, and who demonstrate the will to do so. The program is open to peoples from the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis heritages, and its purpose is to develop and assist members to take on future leadership roles within their communities and to succeed in their continuation of post-secondary studies. Members who successfully complete the ALOY program are invited to continue their studies at RMC through the Regular Officer Training Program. Many previous ALOY members have taken this opportunity, including one of this year’s staff, who is now in her third year of ROTP. Many members of ALOY elect to continue their education at one of Canada’s many civilian post-secondary educational institutes. Another path that is open to those who successfully complete the program is transferring into the regular forces as a non-commissioned member and studying one of the many trades in the Canadian Army, Navy, or Air Force. Out of all the Aboriginal programs offered by the CAF, the ALOY program is the longest and the most advanced.
The ALOY program works to accept candidates from all over Canada coming from a variety of cultural, educational, and familial backgrounds. This year’s candidates come from 5 different provinces and 1 territory. Some students arrived at RMC right out of high school, while others have some post-secondary experience already. A number of candidates also have previous military experience through other Aboriginal programs or the Reserve Forces. Each candidate is carefully selected to ensure that First Nations, Inuit, and Metis cultures are well represented and to promote Canada’s diverse cultural heritage and values. It is the group’s diversity that its strong level of cohesion and friendship is drawn from. This has allowed them to work as a team, support each other, and succeed where they could not have on their own.
In the long weeks leading up to the Badging Ceremony, the ALOY members put their resolve to the test and completed the orientation program. This period was used to introduce the members into the rigors of military life and was led by the third and fourth year officer cadets Tremblay, Cho, Turmel, and General, who are the ALOY candidates’ immediate staff. These staff members taught the ALOY students marching drill, how to navigate around RMC, the importance of standardization to the CAF’s success as a whole, as well as additional tips and tricks on growing into effective members of the CAF. Also, for the duration of the included nine-day Academic Bridging Program, Professors Boire, Hamilton, and Dale, taught the students the necessary skills needed to thrive academically in a post-secondary learning environment. It was during these first few weeks of the ten-month program that the unbreakable foundation for the path to success within the ALOY program had been set. The Badging Ceremony served as a proud reminder to the ALOY members: how far they have come as a team from when they first arrived; how far the rest of this year will take them.
More photos by Erik St-Gelais from the ALOY ceremony – Here