Ravens spread their wings on career day

="Raven Career Day"

LS Jessica Spence (left), Base Foods; Katerina Stewart, Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt; and Sgt Moogly Tetrault Hamel, 39 Service Battalion, pose with the Raven statue as the troops fall in during the Raven program’s career day at Work Point Aug. 14.

As recruits in this year’s Raven program prepare to soar into adulthood, they are learning why a career in the Canadian Armed Forces may be the right flight-path for them.

On the morning of Aug. 7, participants in this year’s Aboriginal youth employment program received words of inspiration and encouragement from CPO2 Gus Greer and six other guest speakers during a career day at Work Point’s Nixon building.

“Nothing but good can come from being part of the Raven program,” said CPO2 Greer of HMCS Calgary.

“You got out of your comfort zone, got off the ‘res’ or your small town and saw how the rest of the world operates. When you get back to your community you have more tools in your tool kit to deal with life.”

CPO2 Greer grew up in Creighton Mine, a small mining town southwest of Sudbury, Ont.  Many of his days were spent with his grandparents and other family members on a nearby reserve. He told the group he understands why leaving their tightly knit communities is both a “challenging” and “completely new experience” for most of them.

A former Raven recruit also spoke to the youth. LS Jessica Spence, Galley Manager for Base Foods, grew up on the Peguis First Nation reserve, 140 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

She was a member of the Raven program in 2006, before joining the military in March 2009 as a cook. 

She encouraged this year’s class to appreciate the significance of their Raven experience.

“Ravens this is your family right now,” said LS Spence. “You spent the summer with them but you remember them and these weeks for the rest of your lives.”

LS Spence also emphasized how the “opportunity to see the world” and sailing the South Pacific, Panama Canal and Mediterranean aboard HMCS Vancouver have been the most rewarding moments of her Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) career.

Raven recruit OS Coral Fenner was leaning towards a career in the RCMP, but now the RCN is on her radar after hearing speakers CPO2 Greer and LS Spence share their stories.

“It was empowering after hearing the speakers explain who they are, what they had gone through and where they are now,” said OS Fenner.

“I looked back at the rest of the students and could immediately tell it hit them and they too were saying ‘I could do this’.”

Others guest speakers included MCpl Stephanie Henry, 11 Field Ambulance; Sgt Moogly Tetrault-Hamel, 39 Service Battalion HQ; PO2 Michael Ironstand, CF Fleet School; MS Katerina Stewart, Fleet Maintenance Facility; and LS David Eaglestick, HMCS Calgary.

The afternoon portion of career day offered participants the opportunity to speak with recruiting officers about the possibility of a career in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Peter Mallett
Staff writer

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