Reflections on Week 1 of FYOP at RMC / Réflexions sur la semaine 1 de POPA au CMR

Above: First Year Cadets enjoy morning PT during the First Year Orientation Period (FYOP). Photo courtesy RMC Public Affairs. / Ci-dessus: Les élèves-officiers de première année bénéficient de l’entraînement physique le matin pendant la période d’orientation de la première année (POPA). Photo gracieuseté des Affaires publiques du CMR.


OCdt Wojtasiak (First Year)

As First Year Cadets coming to RMC, the First Year Orientation Program (FYOP) is an experience we all walked into blindly. The beginning of FYOP was unexpected and hectic, but 100% worth the stressful takeoff. Personally, I had heard various different things about FYOP before arriving at RMC, yet I have still been challenged physically, and mentally. However, that is the beauty of FYOP; facing unexpected challenges, and surprising yourself by persevering.

Easy is not the first thing that comes to mind when I reflect on this first week of FYOP. Alarming 0510 wakeups, grueling inspections, quick timings, and adapting to the lifestyle of an RMC cadet thus far has been nothing short of a challenge. However, my experience has been amazing. Each day we are faced with new challenges and are pushed harder, as the expectations our staff hold us to become greater and greater. The biggest lesson learned thus far is the significance of communicating efficiently, proper leadership and most importantly proper followership. In order to be a good leader, you must be a good follower first. My flight has faced many difficulties in adapting to this mindset, but we have come a long way in learning how to lead, follow, communicate together and work as a team. No task presented to us during FYOP can be completed as an individual. We have established strong bonds, instilled a great amount of trust in one another, and created many inside jokes (to keep morale strong) in a very short period of time in order to overcome this first week of FYOP.

I am having more fun than I ever thought I would all while being in the midst of creating a second family. I look forward to what is to come during the rest of FYOP and continuing to push myself to become the best RMC cadet possible. I am excited to see how my flight can continue to grow as a team.


Mlle Perrault/M. Paquette/M. Goulet (First Years)

Le Programme d’Orientation des Premières Années (POPA) est une étape fondamentale dans le cheminement d’un élevés-officier au Collège Militaire Royale du Canada de Kingston. Nous devons apprendre à gérer notre temps développer notre esprit d’équipe et dépasser nos limites constamment afin de prouver qu’on mérite notre place à l’école. Une journée typique du POPA commence par un réveil musical suivi d’une session d’entraînement physique de mandante. Les entraîneurs démontrant les techniques adéquates dans le but d’augmenter nos attitudes physiques. Ensuite le restant de la journée est composé d’inspections, de différentes classes et de défis diverses autour du campus. Nous nous préparons pour notre futur en tant que fier membre des Forces Armées Canadiennes. Les cadets en charge de l’escadrille Whiskey nous pousse à devenir le meilleur de nous-mêmes et à percevraient malgré notre fatigue. Quotidiennement, chaque cadet a des expériences de vie différentes qui aide a l’équipe. Les faiblesses de l’un sont des faiblesses d’un autre, nous apprenons à travailler ensemble afin de devenir uni, une famille, la famille Whiskey. POPA n’est pas facile, et le personnel nous force à dépasser chaque jour. M. Boucher, Mlle Timon, Mlle Yuzichuk, M. Carroll et M. Lisgo travaillent fort tous les jours afin qu’on aille la meilleure expérience d’un POPA possible considérant les circonstances de COVID- 19. Comme ils nous rappellent souvent nous devons développer notre esprit d’équipe et notre leadership afin d’atteindre l’excellence. Standard et attention au détail. Merci au staff.


OCdt Hamilton (First Year)

When I think back to just five weeks ago, I can remember my flight mates and I wearing civilian clothes, running laps around the track by ourselves, and spending hours on end quarantined in our rooms. Today, we wear the same uniform, we do the same workout, and we spend almost every waking minute together. We are currently on day 5 of FYOP and I can confidently say it is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I was aware of the teamwork aspect and expected to strengthen my collaboration skills, but that is just a fraction of what I have actually learned so far. Understanding the intent behind the tasks we are given has left us feeling emotions as a group, rather than individuals at the end of the day. Transitioning from isolation to MIP, and then MIP to FYOP has not been easy in the slightest, but it is constantly rewarding. The 5km run we did this morning began with whispered comments amongst the flight about personal concerns and “I hate running”, and it ended with cheering each other on and pulling the slower runners up to the front. That run itself perfectly embodied FYOP so far; we are no longer individuals with personal burdens – our flight mates’ performance is just as much of a responsibility as our own now. As challenging as the days can feel, I am beyond excited to see what the next few weeks of the program hold, and how much stronger of a team Merritt will be by then.


OCdt Roche (FYOP staff)

As a fourth year Officer Cadet (OCdt) at the Royal Military College of Canada, I have the privilege of orienting members of the class of 2024 to their new life at the College. This year has provided us with unique challenges as a result of Covid-19, and the select group of third- and fourth-year cadets working as part of the First Year Orientation Program (FYOP) have been entrusted with the overall success of these new OCdts/NCdts.

One of the biggest challenges we have had to face is that the new first-year class was unable to complete their first phase of basic training (Mod 1) this summer due to Covid-19 restrictions. As a result of this, we are their first exposure to leadership in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Everyone remembers their first section commander from basic training, and now they will remember us. This places a unique level of responsibility on our shoulders: to facilitate their success from scratch with only two or three complete years in the CAF and holding the same rank I am honoured to have earned my role here as FYOP staff in my final year at RMC, and I hope that my involvement with the first-year class will have a positive impact on their trajectory at RMC and in the CAF.

En tant qu’Élof de quatrième année au Collège Militaire Royal du Canada, j’ai le privilège de pouvoir orienter les membres de la classe de 2024 dans leur nouvelle vie au collège. Cette année nous a apporté des défis uniques à cause de la COVID-19, mais le groupe composé d’élof de troisième et de quatrième année spécialement choisie afin de travailler sur le programme d’orientation des premières années (POPA) a été enthousiaste envers le succès général des premières années.

L’un des plus gros défis auxquels nous avons dû faire face est le fait que les nouvelles recrues n’ont pas eu l’opportunité de compléter leur cours de base (Module 1) cet été en raison de la COVID-19 et de ses restrictions. Par conséquent, nous sommes leur premier contact de leadership au sein des Forces armées canadiennes (FAC). Tout le monde se souvient du premier comandant de section qu’ils ont eu durant leur cour de base, et maintenant, il se souviendront de nous. Cette place vient aussi avec une charge de responsabilité unique sur nos épaules : facilité leur réussite dans les FAC à partir de rien tout en ayant le même rang et seulement deux ou trois années d’expérience. Je suis honoré d’avoir mérité mon rôle comme membre au POPA à ma dernière année au CMR, et j’espère que mon dévouement avec la classe de première année aura un impact positif sur leur parcours au CMR et dans les FAC.


OCdt Alexandra Collette (First Year)

Avant mon arrivée à RMC, je ne savais pas à quoi m’attendre, le train de vie militaire m’était plutôt inconnu, ceci était donc le début d’une nouvelle aventure pour moi. Après la période d’isolation et nos deux semaines d’initiation à la vie militaire, POPA débuta. La première journée, fut un choc puisque je ne m’attendais pas à retrouver tous mes effets personnels partout dans le Fort Frederick, par contre avec notre travail d’équipe en tant qu’escadron ainsi que l’aide et l’encouragement venant du personnel j’ai pu accomplir cette tâche et pousser mes limites. Ceci fut le cas pour le restant des jours durant POPA, nos limites sont poussées nous permettant donc de travailler plus fort que nous l’imaginions possible. Ce style de vie me plait beaucoup puisque chaque jour c’est une nouvelle aventure et j’apprends constamment de nouvelles choses. Mon but premier durant POPA est de travailler fort sur notre travail d’équipe afin d’avoir une équipe forte, pour pouvoir gagner la course à obstacles qui termine POPA. Gagner la course à obstacles prouvera que notre effort et notre résilience durant les 3 semaines à portée fruit.


OCdt Ulteras Ortiz (First Year)

Prior to coming to the Royal Military College of Canada I knew that we would be groomed into becoming the next generation of junior officers in the Canadian Armed Forces, into individuals with high moral standards. What I didn’t know was how we will eventually get there.

I’ve been at RMC since August 3rd, 2020; arriving at the school during times much different than other years. This summer, none of us first years got a chance to go to the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, meaning we had little to no military knowledge, the former coming from any previous cadets experience. From the time of our arrival until now, I have experienced how a group of 19 young men and women who were total strangers prior to arrival, all who came from different places, have had different upbringings, differ in age, and have different personalities have learned to work together in order to prepare for the Memorial Arch Parade, numerous inspections and team activities. From my experience so far, I have learned that family and teamwork rely on one simple value, one that sits without challenge on the College’s motto: Truth, as I have quickly learned is what makes or breaks teams. It is not only necessary to trust that others will see their tasks to completion, but also trust that your brothers and sisters will gave your back when challenges arise.

Knowing this, I can look forward to the challenges that may come because not only does the school provide a vast support network, but it has also sprouted the growth of new relationships that I know will help in difficult times. I would also love to experience being a member of a competitive club, or perhaps even a varsity team at RMC, as I am sure that comradeship in the teams would be like no other.