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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Interesting Recruiting Drive

    Aboriginal youth get taste of military life

    Rob Shaw, Times Colonist

    Published: Friday, August 24, 2007

    Alexis Petterson has a hard time keeping a straight face when she's ordered around. Her navy instructor barks commands at an ear-splitting volume, but when faced with the military bluster of the Canadian Forces, she starts to grin.

    Her instructor, who is shouting orders at her to turn sideways and reposition her gun, pauses his commands. "Your belt buckle is upside down," he points out. She keeps smiling.

    Maybe the navy isn't for Petterson. But she said she's glad she gave it a shot by enrolling in the Raven summer program for aboriginal youth.

    Alexis Petterson, 17, of Comox, and Campbell River's Kalvin Hackett, 17, practice yesterday for today's ceremony.
    Debra Brash, Times Colonist

    "This is the first thing I've ever done on my own and the first time I've been away from home," said the 17-year-old Grade 12 student from Comox's Highland Secondary School. "I think I've gained a little independence."

    Sixty-three aboriginal and self-identified aboriginal youth, aged 16 to 25, will graduate from the program at a ceremony at CFB Esquimalt today.

    The Raven program is part First Nations cultural workshop, part military boot camp and part savvy recruiting campaign by a Canadian Forces looking to diversify their ranks and bracing for the first wave of baby-boomer retirements expected this year.

    The six-week program includes four days of lectures from aboriginal elders, powwows and craft-making. Then the youth go through the Canadian Forces standard boot camp, including obstacle courses, firearms training, lessons at sea, and first-aid workshops.

    Raven has run the past four years with Vancouver Island youth, but it was so successful the navy expanded it to a national program this year. Eighty-one people enrolled from as far away as Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

    The navy covers all the expenses, including travel, food and board. It also offers other incentives, including four course credits for high-school graduation.

    "I was like, dude, I needed those credits," said Petterson.

    The force also pays more than $3,500 in salary for the summer. That attracted Campbell River's Kalvin Hackett, a 17-year-old Timberline Secondary student in Campbell River. He said the experience on his resum would help him get a job at a company on his Homalco reserve. But he also enjoyed training with the Canadian Forces' ubiquitous black C7A1 assault rifle.

    "How many people get to use a military rifle?" he said, grinning. "I've learned how to handle a weapon, what and what not to lube, and how to clean it and maintain it."

    The youth automatically become naval reserve members. They are honourably discharged after four months if they don't want to continue the commitment, said Chief Petty Officer Debbie Eisan.

    Those who live in communities without a naval office can transfer to other units, such as the army's Canadian Rangers in northern Canada.

    "It's a recruiting initiative," Eisan said. "We get tenfold out of it. But we give the youth self-determination, self-assessment and pride and honour in being aboriginal."

    "The aboriginal people have a mixture of culture within themselves. And so they are learning about one another as well. It's a very interesting concept."

    Hackett said he likes the military life enough to enrol in a year-long program in Kingston, Ont., next year.

    But Petterson and her grin-in-the-face-of authority attitude said she has other plans.

    "I don't like the stress," she said. "It was fun for the summer. It was a good experience, but it's not for me."

    Still, she said she'll stand proudly with the 62 other classmates during today's graduation ceremony.

    "It's a huge accomplishment," she said.

    "You each have some things in your life you do that are important, like your first car, [high school] graduation and now Raven graduation. It's a stepping stone."

    rfshaw@tc.canwest.com

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Question

    I couldn't even whistle when I read this one....

    Stretched Forces issue call for ex-personnel. Senior non-commissioned officers in high demand as mission in Afghanistan strains army's resources

    David Pugliese, CanWest News Service Published: Friday, August 24, 2007

    OTTAWA -- The Canadian Forces has sent a request to experienced ex-military personnel to rejoin the ranks as it tries to recruit enough soldiers for the future and deal with the fallout from the mission to Afghanistan.

    Letters were sent at the end of March by Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk to non-commissioned officers, captains and majors saying their services are needed to shore up the army.

    The general points out the military is not only working to expand the regular and reserve forces, but "we are also facing greater demands for Canada to support more and more overseas missions while maintaining a healthy force within Canada to respond to domestic crises."

    In the letter, directed to members of the supplementary reserves, the general says there is a high demand for experienced personnel. "We are looking for trained professionals to assist in a variety of ways in various locations and under a range of employment options," writes Natynczyk, the vice-chief of the defence staff.

    A retired officer who received one of the letters said he was told the Afghanistan war is overstretching the army and that experienced personnel are desperately required both to train new recruits at home and to fill ranks left vacant because of the number of soldiers who are in Afghanistan. The bulk of the 2,500 military personnel assigned to the Afghanistan mission are from the army.

    To keep such numbers in the field, the army is required to have at least the same amount training back in Canada ready to deploy to Afghanistan.

    Senior non-commissioned officers are in particularly high demand for international missions because of their experience. But in a Catch-22, the army also needs them to train new recruits at home. Canada's regular army is around 21,300 strong with 23,900 reservists, military officials said yesterday.

    In a posting on the Defence Department's website, the military points out that retired officers are needed for jobs in the infantry, armour, artillery, intelligence and electrical and mechanical engineering areas, among others. For non-commissioned members, the army is seeking artillerymen, weapons technicians, combat engineers, infantry and other occupations.

    Natynczyk writes instructors are required for training, full-time support at reserve units and staff within national or international headquarters.

    Military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Pierre Babinsky said yesterday the letter was sent to about 2,000 former captains, majors and senior NCOs. About 200 have indicated an interest in rejoining, he added.

    The letter was also later posted on a Forces website. "By recruiting people who have previous CF experience, this allows us obviously to use them immediately in supervisory roles or specialist roles," Babinsky said.

    Natynczyk states in his letter that the military is open to welcoming back personnel in the regular forces, the reserves or as civilians.

    The Canadian Forces is primarily looking for a full-time commitment, the general writes, but "we are also willing to be flexible in the amount of time you commit." He wanted to hear from retired personnel by June 15 but added that applications would also be taken after that date.

    In the past, military officials have said the Canadian Forces is exceeding its targets for new recruits, but there is a growing concern the Forces will face an exodus of experienced personnel as many retire over the next decade.

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007


    there is a growing concern the Forces will face an exodus of experienced personnel as many retire over the next decade.
    Yep, that will be ME in about 5 years. Just call me R.S.M. {Retired Service Member}
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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