The RMC First Year Obstacle Course – a Parent’s Perspective

Obstacle Course – 2010

The Sky Hawks, the Canadian Forces premier parachute demonstration team kicked off festivities last Friday just before the start of the Obstacle Course.

The 13 obstacles were strategically placed all around the RMC campus and were designed and set-up by the Class of 2013 (II Years). Each obstacle proved challenging; teams navigated through walls, rope ladders and a wide variety of other complicated and difficult tasks which required a great deal of teamwork while being timed.

The annual obstacle course that is the symbolic entry into Royal Military College for first-year cadets wouldn’t be the obstacle course if it wasn’t a mudbog, and it didn’t disappoint this year.

Thanks to a day of rain on Thursday — augmented by a few strategically-placed hoses Friday — the course was in its preferred condition for the first-year cadets who took part in the annual ritual.

When cadets finished the gruelling two-hour race Friday afternoon, they officially ended their recruit orientation terms and became members of the college.

Celebration and Coin Presentations – Following the completion of the obstacle course, on the Parade Square, the I year cadets each received a “college coin” from members of the “Old Brigade” as part of their welcome into the Cadet Wing at RMC.

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The RMC First Year Obstacle Course – a Parent’s Perspective

I have seen quite a few Obstacle Courses during my life – and my husband ran the Obstacle Course in CMR way back when. We’ve cheered on many unknown first year cadets over the years, and marvelled at their tenacity and strength. I’ve been to the parent briefings, and been advised on what to expect. However, I am here to tell you that nothing can prepare you for watching your child compete in the Obstacle Course! You think you’re ready, you have their squadron colours on, the cameras and video recorders are set to go, but nothing can really prepare you to watch your child push, crawl and slide through mud, climb over seemingly impossible walls and nets, carry, lift, and roll telephone poles and truck tires, pull themselves over ropes and push themselves to limits that they (and we as parents) didn’t know existed!

The Obstacle Course is always an inspiring event but even more so when we watch our children compete. Seeing them work so hard, push through obvious pain and discomfort, and dig so deep within themselves to complete those 13 obstacles is almost indescribable. As a parent, the Obstacle Course is exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at once. Watching, I was a seesaw of emotion, at one moment screaming “YOU CAN DO IT – YOU OWN THAT WALL”, the next moment succumbing to tears to see my child working so unbelievably hard! I was truly moved not only to see such amazing demonstrations of physical strength and ability, but to also see such personal intensity, teamwork and deep camaraderie amongst the flight and the entire squadron.

We often talk about life’s ‘big’ moments – graduation from university or college, our wedding day. As parents, we add on to the list of these monumental events – the birth of our children, their graduations and their marriages. Little did I know that as a parent this two hour period in the month of October would become one of my life’s ‘big’ moments. But is has and I am so incredibly proud and honoured to have been a part of it!! Sincere congratulations to the class of 2014 and deep thanks to the staff and leadership that saw our children safely through the last 5 weeks!!