What is 1188 really like?
At the 1188 Lorne Scots Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps (1188 RCACC), we gather on Wednesday nights from 6pm-9pm from September to June. Parade nights are a blend of classroom learning and drill, with specific nights reserved for sports. At the beginning of the night, you sign in and form up on the parade square in your platoon for the opening parade. You’ll receive information on how the night will progress. The night is split into 3 periods, with a break between the second and third when canteen (a small break where snacks and drinks can be bought) is available. At the end of the night, cadets form up again on the parade square for final announcements. Parents are welcome to join at this point to hear about upcoming events or other announcements, and to observe promotions or awards ceremonies.
Drill and Ceremonial
There is an old saying that everyone loves a parade. This is even more true when there are well executed and coordinated movements! Drill helps to teach group cohesion, develops physical coordination, self-control and leadership. Modern drill is an evolution of movements originating from maneuvers used by troops in battle. Throughout the centuries, drill has evolved from the coordination of pike-men and knights on horseback, to archers in the field and finally to infantry. Many of the historical maneuvers can still be seen today. However, drill is not just a throwback to a bygone era, it is still the backbone of the modern military. Watching a cadet corps in action you will notice it is senior cadets who are giving the commands, not the officers. As a cadet moves up through the ranks, they are given more and more responsibility.
Each year, cadet drill teams from different units throughout the region have the opportunity to compete against other Corps in an annual drill competition. Run by cadets, the drill team works hard to take their skills to the next level.
A Field Training Exercise (FTX) combines the lessons learned during regular training with fun in an outdoor setting. Two to three times during the training year, the Army Cadets head into the bush for field training. We typically leave the armoury on Friday night around 6pm and head to our weekend camping site. After a weekend of fun teambuilding and bushcraft activities, we return back to the armoury on Sunday afternoon. There are three themes for FTX weekends:
Bivouac - Survival skills, camping, using camp equipment and tools and being part of a group
Cold Weather - A perennial favourite, we learn winter survival techniques, snowshoeing, fire starting and sleeping in the cold
Trekking - Since we are based on the military, we can't just call it "going for a nice walk in the woods". The cadets learn to test their endurance, develop their navigation skills as well as an understanding of the basics of survival. Trekking can really help to build self-esteem and confidence.
We also combine other aspects into our FTX weekends such as abseiling, obstacle course, marksmanship, and snowshoeing. FTX weekends are a chance for cadets to put their hard-learned outdoor skills to use and to learn new ones. Cadets learn outdoor survival skills, navigation, leadership, communications and much more. In addition, cadets get to test their leadership abilities through various taskings, improve physical fitness and help build self-confidence. The FTX is one of the things most warmly remembered by those who have been in cadets. Officers and senior cadets work hard to plan events that make the weekends a lot of fun for everyone.
Another favourite for the cadets are the Meals Ready to Eat or MREs. These rations are designed to provide energy and nutrition during periods of high activity. Despite being military rations, Cadets often enjoy experimenting and trading meal components while in the field. For cadets, the MREs are supplemented with fresh rations such as fruit. The unit Support Committee makes efforts to provide a fresh meal, such as barbecued burgers with salads, grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and veggies, or pasta and Caesar Salad during the exercise. We make sure that there are appropriate rations for cadets with dietary restrictions(such as vegetarian needs, allergies, or religious requirements).
Ultimately, these weekends help build camaraderie and esprit de corps. The friendships Cadets make on these weekends can last a lifetime.