Learning to Lead: ALOY Cadets Tested on the Rideau

ALOY Final Exercise Begins

By: Captain Cynthia Kent –  RMCC, Public Affairs Officer

With a steady rain beginning to fall, 17 cadets from the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year at the Royal Military College of Canada began their final test along the Rideau Canal on Friday, June 1, 2012.

During Exercise Eagle Quest, the ALOY cadets will conduct a week long, 102 kilometre trek down the Rideau Canal, testing their leadership skills and abilities. Each cadet will have the opportunity to lead a group and put into practice what they have learned at RMCC over the past year. The trek ends next Friday, June 8th, in Kingston.

As part of the Ex, the cadets will be looking for species at risk, such as the turtles that live along the Canal, and will report back to Parks Canada about what they see.

For Officer Cadet Kyle Hall from Queen Charlotte Islands B.C., the trip is another opportunity provided by the ALOY program to learn something new.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of new things,” he said. “I’ve never seen a turtle!”

Hall will attend university in B.C. next year.

The intent of the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year program is to help develop leaders whether it’s for First Nations communities, the Canadian Forces or Canada as a whole. The program runs for one year and focuses on academic education, military skills, leadership skills, athletics and cultural awareness. The main aim of the program is to help individuals develop their leadership potential to better serve their communities and their country.

Officer Cadet Donlee Shingoose from Moosomin First Nation, Saskatchewan, has found the ALOY experience has helped him grow.

“I found out a lot about myself and how to interact with people,” he said. “And I will find out (through the Exercise) how I lead.”

Shingoose has applied to the Regular Officer Training Program (ROTP).

Officer Cadet Reagan Savard from Kelly Lake B.C., who has also applied to the ROTP program, says the best part about the ALOY experience is “learning about your people and the aboriginal way of life.”

In particular, he says, he is grateful for what he has learned from ALOY’s elder, Bernard Nelson.

“Where I come from our way of life is being lost,” he said. “I come here and see Bernard Nelson and the way he lives and I see it’s alive and thriving.”

The final pay off for the cadets will be on the morning of June 15th – that’s when, with their loved ones looking on they will honoured with a Completion Parade. Of the class of 17, three have applied to the Regular Officer Training Program (ROTP); three will join the Canadian Forces as non-commissioned members; and a number have also applied to civilian universities. Wherever they go, they will all bring the leadership lessons they have learned at RMCC back to their communities and their future careers.