FYOP build the teamwork that is so essential in the CAF
Another First year view of FYOP – during the last week
Post – FYOP Reaction from I Years…
As FYOP comes to a close wing morale is at its peak. Every cadet at the college remembers their own FYOP and the immense feeling of pride as they received their own, well earned, RMC cap brass. They channel this towards the excitement for this year’s first year class and after a long month, will welcome their respective first year flights in to their squadrons.
FYOP is, and should be one of the hardest challenges of a cadets life, but in completing this challenge, also one of the most rewarding events of their lifetime. Years later cadets will find themselves reminiscing about their own FYOP experiences. Laughing about the silly, often ridiculous mistakes they’ve made, remembering the difficult morning physical training sessions but most importantly remembering how they as individuals came together with the people that for their time at RMC, will become their family away from home.
Not only does FYOP build the teamwork that is so essential in the CAF, it also fosters leadership skills that will follow each cadet through their career such as attention to detail, respect for peers, subordinates and their chain of command, as well as time management.
FYOP is special. It is often physically and mentally gruelling for first years, yet thanks to their dedicated peers, 3rd and 4th year staff, it becomes fundamentally valuable. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the program is the hard work each staff member puts in to ensuring that every member of their respective flights lives of up to a high standard. It is the staff that go to bed later, wake up earlier and put the hours in to shaping the newest members of the cadet wing, who will one day complete the cycle and become FYOP staff themselves.
To the first year class of 2015, CONGRATULATIONS. You have earned your place among the Royal Military College of Canada cadet wing. Truth Duty Valour.
27428, OCdt B.T.J. Simpson
First year view of FYOP
No one likes FYOP. No one enjoys the stress and pressure of constantly being hounded. No one wants to be chastised for any and every minor mistake that all inevitably make.
And yet most, if not all, can recognize the value of FYOP.
FYOP is an introduction to what it means to be a member of the CAF, what it means to be an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. The principles FYOP teaches range from time management and teamwork to accountability and authority. New cadets are shown that all of their actions are of importance, no matter their magnitude. Whether it be misunderstanding an order or simply forgetting to put on a boot band, everything is noticed, everything is corrected; everything matters. This demonstrates to the new cadets that as members of the CAF we are held to a higher standard than the rest of Canadian society, and are to represent the ideal citizen. As such, members of the Canadian Armed Forces must always strive for perfection and must always embody the ideals of Canada.
I appreciate FYOP and feel that it has changed me for the better. It has made me more conscious of my actions, and more conscious of the needs of those around me. FYOP has helped to pull a group of individuals into what is now Warrior Flight, and as a flight we look forward to being a part of our new family; Verchères Squadron.
The coming years here at RMC are looking to be some of the best of my life, and I plan to make the most of every second.
27805 OCdt Lopez-Espinosa
Post – FYOP Reaction from I Years…
I’ve never been someone to stress too much over anything. Having said this, by the end of August 2015, FYOP and RMC were heavy on my mind. I was only just winding down from summer training in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu when Kingston became ten, then six, then two, then one day away. My thoughts were clouded by questions and uncertainty about whatever I was about to start. The thought of falling behind on morning PT scared me; so did that of putting my flight in trouble over some dumb mistake. I wanted to be sure that RMC was what I wanted, but there was no way of knowing ahead- I would just have to see for myself.
In the end, FYOP went alright. Thinking back on my initial worries, it feels good to think I overcame them. I surprised myself by staying on top of our morning PT, even leading the less fit members of our flight to the finish line. And, although I did make dumb mistakes along the way, I quickly learned not to repeat them. All in all, FYOP taught me the importance of self-worth: a leader cannot lead if their subordinates do not believe in them; oppositely, subordinates cannot believe in their leader if their leader does not first believe in themselves. As the IC of our flight during the obstacle course, I hadn’t the privilege of hesitance before a difficult obstacle—the same, I know it, will remain true for the rest of my military career.
OCdt C. de Grandpré
1 Sqn – Alpha Flight
We have just completed FYOP for 2015, it was an intensive training and integration period. Whether its aims were not defined directly to us as cadets, it clearly built teamwork at a remarkably fast rate between flights. It was demanding, but looking back on the last four weeks it is easy to see its place in team building, physical training and time management. FYOP also seems to leave candidates with a greater sense of belonging as they earn their place at the college.
I felt I performed quite well during FYOP which brought out leadership skills I didn’t know I had. By the end of FYOP I found myself very engaged and interested in maintaining the well-being and moral of my flight, even members who I hadn’t particularly liked at first. This aspect of teamwork was very powerful and should have made everyone’s integration into the two squadron family much more effective.
The challenging timings and very busy days during FYOP in my opinion left cadets in very good stead to start their RMC careers as time management was greatly emphasized.
My favourite part of FYOP other than the obstacle course was the day we ‘assaulted Fort Henry’ and received our squadron colours (flag), on week 2. The Regatta was also very enjoyable. Both of the aforementioned events brought our team together immensely, for myself receiving the flag in particular was very emotional and very rewarding. As a flight we helped our individual members through many difficulties, growing into a close and effective group.
My experience was difficult at times but mostly positive, however I do feel obligated to mention some of the points brought up by my flight mates. Firstly, FYOP was a transition into RMC, but there were issues, uniform sizing for example which were not addressed until after FYOP. It was also mentioned that during FYOP the short meal times were challenging. On the subject of physical recovery however, mandatory sleep timings were greatly appreciated.
Overall, I think that myself and most cadets would agree that FYOP has its place at the school, it is very difficult at times but the training, team building and sense of satisfaction afterward are something I look back on as a positive experience.
OCdt D. Ridley
2 Sqn – Fighter Flight
Before even getting a glimpse of the college grounds, FYOP had begun for us. As a result of being too loud in our seats, we faced the consequences of sitting at attention for a solid duration of the bus trip to RMC. Although all first year Officer Cadets had already been introduced to 7 weeks of basic training, this was a completely new experience for us. As we arrived on the college grounds early in the afternoon of 29 August, we paraded through the Memorial Arch, not yet sure of its true significance to RMC. Following this, our glowing pride quickly turned to panic when we met our FYOP staff. Personally, I had never moved 4 bags of military kit up 4 flights of stairs in such a short time. The action appeared to be some sort of circus and at this point, FYOP was in full swing.
For the next 4 weeks, the reality for us was early wake up calls and countless pushups throughout the day. Another flight mate and I counted up to 1000 pushups by day 3 of FYOP, but quickly realized that we would eventually lose track and scratched the tally. Through every challenge we faced as a first year flight, the constant emphasis was on teamwork. It became very clear that teamwork was simply not a choice if the team wanted to complete the task. On this note, the bonds we built during FYOP cannot be broken and “mission before self” is no longer just another saying to us.
Some of the more notable memories from the course were Passing off the Square, and of course reunion weekend, including the famous obstacle course and Badging Parade. Passing off the Square tested both drill, and our ability to retain pretty much everything that could ever be questioned regarding the college. After this, time flew past and we could see the FYOP finish line, but in our way was 12 grueling obstacles. The obstacle course was one of, if not, the most physically tiring tasks that I have ever faced and I am sure that most others would agree. As stated before, the tasks we faced during FYOP were unachievable without teamwork, and this, was certainly no exception. In the end, we joined arms and rung the parade square bell together, signifying the end of the FYOP course. Never have I felt so proud to have made it through in one piece, and to join the Cadet Wing officially the next day in the Badging Parade.
Looking back on the experience of FYOP, most of the first year Cadets would agree that the program, although rigorous, gave us the opportunity to transition from civilian lifestyle to military. This is the first of many steps to eventually becoming leaders in the Canadian Armed Forces. It is important to always recognize the value in doing something. In my case, FYOP made me a Cadet.
NCdt L. Buckley
3 Sqn – Grizzly Flight
My experience with FYOP was interesting. I came in thinking it would be somewhat easy because we all spent 7 weeks at Saint-Jean and had some knowledge with the military lifestyle. It was not anywhere close to being easy. I heard rumors of the stuff that happened during FYOP and it sounded kinda fun, but It was a huge kick in the butt. The first week was so intense; the timings where super tight and the consequences for missing were a lot of pushups. It really broke me down and I was really shocked at how hard life could be. Every week got harder and harder, but every time I got to be IC of the flight I enjoyed the nights a little bit better. When the last week came and I was IC for around 6-7 days straight, I learned a lot. I really saw how important it is to be aware of everything that is going on at all times. I saw how once the flight got pumped and excited we worked better and harder, which made my life a lot easier.
On the last day of the FYOP, one of our staff played a song and told us to just think about ourselves and the flight. I loved the song, it really showed me how close we’ve all gotten, we were all together in our lowest of low. We all sacrificed a lot of time and energy just to help each. It was a great feeling. Going into the obstacle course, I felt somewhat confident, I knew our plans were good, but I wasn’t sure that we could beat other flights that had other stronger members. The flight really did good in every part of the course and we kept really high intensity.
The next day during the badging parade when they were announcing the results, Once they got down to the top five, I got so nervous. Once they said who got second place and all that was left was our flight, I thought I misheard and missed Papa Flight. I didn’t believe that we won, but once I saw everyone on the bleachers jump so high, I knew that we won, and it was the greatest feeling in the world. For sure my favourite day of my life.
OCdt J. Toth
5 Sqn – Papa Flight