Every year, I set a theme for the new year. One fine day in November 2015, I decided that the theme for 2016 would be travelling. Thirty minutes later, I received an email from a friend to invite me to a Diversity Recruitment Event, with the Canadian Armed Forces, in Gauge Town, New Brunswick. The invitation also said that ALL your expenses would be covered! It did not take me much time to make the decision to go.
Coincidence? If you have been following me long enough, you know that I love it when synchronicity happens and dreams manifest right before my eyes. I call them my miracles and for me, this was certainly a sign from the universe to say – GO GIRL!
The Diversity Recruitment Event happened from February 24th-26th, and a group of us from across Ottawa, Montreal and British Colombia had the opportunity to learn more about the Canadian Armed Forces. It was educational, informative, life changing and inspirational. Prior to this, I never thought much about the Canadian Armed Forces – as a matter of fact, I thought that that the Canadian Armed Forces was just the military and their work was about wars and using guns. I thought that people joined the Canadian Armed Forces when they were desperate and had perhaps run out of choices. I was so WRONG.
We met with some of the most amazing people who serve in the military from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Every single uniformed person was respectful, well-spoken, excited to work for the CAF and spoke very highly of the integrity of their jobs nad the CAF. Members of the group kept on expressing amazement about the career opportunities which exist within the armed forces and best yet, the fact that education can be subsidized and that there is career progression through professional development. We met men and women who joined right out of high school, mid-career professionals who made a career change in their late thirties and people who joined in their forties. Very importantly we met newcomers who chose to have a career with the Canadian Armed Forces.
Here are some of my inspirational moments:
Meeting with great community leaders, guidance counsellors and people in influential positions to help others make informed career decisions.
Meeting with CORPORAL NADINE WAITR. She is the only female combat engineer in Canada and only female heavy equipment operator. She joined the CAF at 33 and spoke highly of the interesting work which she has done as an engineer and also of her experience in assisting with the earthquake in Nepal. The machinery below was what she used to clear the roads in Nepal after the earthquake!
We tried some elements of the physical training test and realized that it was not as hard as it sounds. If you are a woman and you are wondering about it… worry no more. You can do it.
THE CAF held a formal dinner for us where we heard some very inspirational stories from CAF members. All of them reinforced that joining CAF was a decision which they have not regretted because they love the job, they feel financially stabled and the many other benefits which CAF offers, including paid education!
Captian Verge Charlery was one of the main organizers for the event. She was a former teacher in Ottawa. She joined the armed forces a few years ago and she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work. I was doubly proud to know that we are from the same island – St. Lucia.
Here are some more photos to enjoy.
Captain Ann Chamberlain and I.
We had an interesting discussion with two of the corporals who are trained to get inside of this robot. The robot is used to detect explosives and it is made of a very special technology which will protect the person who is inside of it, if there is an explosion.
One of my most surprising moments – discovering that there are collapsible bathrooms with showers, sinks and toilets! It takes 2 hours to mount it all up on location! The young woman who gave us the tour is a plumber and she is so proud of her work. There are great opportunties in the trades area for both men and women.
I had some great conversations with the young men who work with the LAVS and in the infantry. This face to face interaction with them created a huge shift in my perception of infantry soldiers. I experienced humour, intelligence and a great spirit of calmness around them. They take their responsibilities quite seriously.
We experienced the training room where new recruits are taught how to use the various guns and rifles. The training is set up like a video game. The aim is to shoot at targets on the screen. The process has been specifically designed for this type of training. I am very anti-gun yet I found myself quite immersed in the experience of trying to hit a target.
If you are a looking for a career change or starting a new career, consider CAF.
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