New batch of RAVENS graduate

="Esquimalt, Ravens, Graduate"

RAVEN candidates stand ready during their graduation ceremony on Aug. 21.

Thirty candidates from the Canadian Forces RAVEN Aboriginal Youth Employment Program stood proud and hearkened to reviewing officer Capt(N) Tim Gijzen’s congratulatory words at their graduation ceremony held at the Work Point Parade Square last Thursday.

The six-week course – five weeks of Primary Army Reserve Basic Military Qualification and a three-day Culture Camp on Aboriginal traditions — attracted First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students from across the nation to explore the Canadian Armed Forces.

OS Katcheech was inspired to join the program through the Federation of B.C. Youth and Care Networks.

“I told [one of the caregivers] that I wanted to live a bit before I became a teacher and she told me there’s a program for native youth. I applied a week before the course; it’s a miracle I’m here.” said OS Katcheech.

“When I first got here I noticed how everybody was nervous. I thought people would be cocky, people would be ‘I’m the tough one’. I was surprised how even and equal we all were.”

The RAVEN program provides Canadian Aboriginal youth an opportunity to experience life in the Canadian Armed  Forces.

On successful completion of the program, it also offers RAVEN participants the option to pursue a career in the Reserve Force, Regular Force, or in a civilian occupation within the Department of National Defence.

The Culture Camp was designed to ease the transition from civilian to military lifestyle, and focuses on common spiritual beliefs conducted by Elders of different First Nations and Aboriginal groups.

Canadian Forces RAVEN Aboriginal Youth Employment Program, Serial 0085’s award sheet:

• RAVEN Candidate OS Perry Assu was presented with the Top Student Award as well as the Commandant’s Trophy for Overall Highest Achievement.

• RAVEN Candidate OS Brandi Lenglet was presented with the Comradeship Award.

• RAVEN Candidate OS Elijah Charlie was presented with the Personal Achievement Award.

• RAVEN Candidate OS Jolene Rockhill was presented with the Top Shot Award.

• RAVEN Candidate OS Ian Cunningham was presented with the Physical Fitness Award.

Lt Mireille Roman, Base Public Affairs Office

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