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ALOY: “You’ve Come A Long Way”

Photo by: Adam Dargavel

ALOY: “You’ve Come A Long Way”

By: WJO

The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year (ALOY) started at Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) in 2008.

This past Friday (17 June) a completion ceremony was held at RMCC to mark the conclusion of their year; a year-long program focused on developing leaders for Aboriginal communities and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The Reviewing Officer was Brigadier-General Jocelyn Paul.

We were on the ground at the College back in ’08.

One former ‘graduate’ from that first year talked about her experience in the program. She said something along the lines that many of that first crop of ALOY cadets felt like ‘stepchildren’ in an established family.

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In fairness to the staff from that time; everyone was trying to do the right thing. But there was no Directing Staff (DS) solution manual available. Consequently, a lot of good intentions went south.

In short, and to be frank – most of the time, it wasn’t pretty.

From the start, the aim / intent of the ALOY program was to focus on academics, military skills, leadership, athletics, and cultural awareness.

This year touched all the bases. In addition to their regular activities – including a 107-km journey by canoe down the Rideau Canal, a final exercise to test the leadership skills the ALOY, Officer Cadets have learned during the program.

They also participated in a veterans parade and ceremony in Ohsweken First Nations; Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa; a sweat lodge hosted by a First Nations Elder; an exercise with the Canadian Rangers in Yellowknife, NWT; and the Governor General’s Military Tattoo.

These ‘special events’ sound great and undoubtedly are not only important but essential for the overall development of the individuals. However, even more impressive is how the ALOY cadets actually fit in with the day-to-day routine of the College.

Walking around the peninsula which I do often, I come across cadets from all years – and the ALOY program. Now a days, it is a challenge for me to recognize some ALOY cadets from I and even II Years ROTP officer-cadets.

More often than not, I see aboriginal cadets, who are independent, self-sufficient, and eager to demonstrate his / her confidence.

The ‘hands-on staff’ who are involved almost on an every day basis, deserve a great deal of credit for this high level of self esteem.

The ALOY Squadron is part of “C” Division commanded by the high respected and fully engaged Major Neil Trask (photo left). His second in command is Capt Paul Watson who is also the ALOY Sqn Comd as a secondary duty. WO Brian High Highfield has been the ALOY Sqn WO for two years. Sgt Grant Thomann is the Sqn Instructor and Quartermaster

The much beloved by the ALOY cadets,Michael Boire (photo right), is the proud Academic Counsellor. His superior in the academic chain is the Associate Dean of Arts Prof Jane Boulden.

ALOY cadets are well wired into the full extramural programs.

They participate in College clubs including the pipes and drums and the brass band. They all play on IM sports and several have been on Varsity teams.

One of the top volunteer photographers we had with e-Veritas this school year was, Victoria Pierrot, (photo left) an ALOY cadet.

For the record, of the 12 who completed the program this year; five have applied for ROTP, three are going NCM Regular Force, one is going Officer in the Reserve Force, and the remainder are returning to their home towns.

Congratulations to the dozen graduates. Hats off and a very well done to all the military and civilian staff(s) that have the responsibility of working with the ALOY program.

Whig Standard article