Reunion Weekend Through the Eyes of the E.D., Bryan Bailey
It is hard to believe that it was just last week the entire peninsula was consumed with the frenetic energy of Reunion Weekend. While the Class of 2019 marked their final rites of passage to gain entry into the Cadet Wing, hundreds of ex-cadets converged on Kingston and celebrated class reunions. Everything about this year’s weekend was exceptional and the balmy weather was appreciated by all for the third consecutive year.
The unsung heroes that make Reunion Weekends so successful are the individual classes and their dedicated and hard-working Class Secretaries and reunion organizers. It is these few who motivate their classmates to assemble at the College. Without their collective efforts, the alumni participation would not be as impressive. My hat is off to them as it is very much a surge effort requiring their time, energy, and persistence.
Golf Tournament on Friday
The presence of the incomparable Rick Mercer
Three Club President’s Awards were announced
Badging Parade was again very well attended by the families and friends of the cadets and ex-cadets
The Wall of Honour Ceremony
The Club organized two Dinners on Saturday evening
450 ex-cadets marched to the Arch
For those fortunate to attend the Legacy Dinner, it was again a wonderful evening which excels in connecting returning alumni with the Cadets of the College. In my opinion, this event has no equal in that regard. The Foundation, as usual, delivered a sold out, high class affair that was marked by casual elegance and exceptional camaraderie. Richard Fadden, the National Security Adviser, was the Guest of Honour and he spoke with clarity about the myriad of global and domestic security threats and the complex environment in which the cadets of today will soon serve. Also making the evening more entertaining was the Master of Ceremonies, LGen (Ret’d) Michel Maisonneuve, RMC Saint-Jean’s affable Director of Studies, who hosted the evening with his usual panache, humour, and eloquence for the second consecutive year.
New this year was the addition of a Club Golf Tournament on Friday which was greatly enjoyed by everyone thanks in the main to Jim Simpson and the Class of 1970. The Club looks forward to building upon the success next year. Thanks to generous sponsors from ex-cadets and their companies, the tournament raised $10,000 for the Club.
The obstacle course is always one of the weekend’s highlights and this year was no exception. The obstacle course concluded with members of the Old Brigade presenting College coins to each cadet including the eight new Otter Squadron members. The afternoon was further enhanced by the presence of the incomparable Rick Mercer who has a strong affinity with RMCC. Rick personally participated in four of the 12 events and his orchestration of the Beer-Esses-Emma Cheer at the conclusion of the coining ceremony was spine tingling and one which surprisingly improved with each take. It will be great to watch the forthcoming episode!
Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the weekend commencing with the Club’s AGM in Currie Hall. A few brief highlights of the AGM are:
- Approval of KPGM as the Club’s Auditors for 2015
- Appointment of Col A. Britton Smith as the Club’s new Honorary President.
- Approval of the new slate of Club Honoraries and Directors (slate enclosed)
- Approval of two new Club Honorary Members: S172 Honorary Colonel Geoff Molson and S173 Professor Florent Tremblay
- Announcement of the Club President’s Awards
This year three Club President’s Awards were announced with two of them related to the Royal Roads 75th Anniversary Sunset Ceremony. The first award will be presented to Dave Bindernagel and the Vancouver Island Branch for the planning and conducts of an impressive ceremony. The second will be presented to the President of Royal Roads University in recognition of the University’s support and assistance in making the ceremony a reality. The third award was presented to Jim Simpson during the Sunday parade in recognition of his many years of contributions to his Class, Club, and the College.
The Badging Parade was again very well attended by the families and friends of the cadets and ex-cadets. In keeping with the venerable tradition, members of the Old Brigade traversed the 50 plus year generational divide by presenting the first year class with their College cap badges.
The Wall of Honour Ceremony was another highlight as LGen (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire was this year’s living inductee who paid personal tribute to both other inductees; Dr. Stanley and Gen (Ret’d) Ramsay Withers. He also spoke passionately concerning his two principal causes: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Child Soldiers. He made a plea for Canada and the West to demonstrate leadership in the eradication of child soldiers as contemporary weapon systems.
The Club organized two Dinners on Saturday evening with the Old Brigade, under the leadership of its Adjutant Gerry Stowe, enjoyed a wonderful evening at Four Points Sheraton which formally welcomed the entry of the Class of 1970 as Old Brigade recruits. The Club Dinner dance was attended by the Classes of 75, 80, and 1990 in a sold out event at the SSM.
On an idyllic Sunday morning, blessed by great weather and strong class numbers, more than 450 ex-cadets marched to the Arch making it one of the largest turnouts in recent years. Pastor Paul Robinson, the Club’s Honorary Chaplain, led the Memorial Service at the recently refurbished Arch. This year the service included a new Hymn based on one which was previously used by Royal Roads. Both Gerry Stowe and Paul Robinson collaborated in its refinement which will be reviewed by the Club’s Board for possible adoption as a sanctioned Club Hymn.
Lastly, I must acknowledge the incredible efforts of Bill Oliver, Mary Darlington, and Isabelle Laferriere and the supporting cast of cadets and volunteers for coordinating the ex-cadet portion of the weekend.