Soldier for a day drums up interest in the Army

Soldier for a Day

Students check out a mortar tube under the watchful eye of gunners from 5th (British Columbia) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery during the Army Reserve’s latest Soldier for a Day program.

 Capt Jeff Manney, 39 Signal Regiment PA

Students from as far away as Campbell River gathered in Victoria Feb. 24 to see if being a soldier for a day could lead to being a real soldier.

Held at the Bay Street Armoury, the Army Reserves’ popular Soldier For A Day program allowed students to check out army vehicles and communication equipment, practice their marksmanship on the small arms weapons simulator, taste military rations, take the Canadian Armed Forces fitness test, and even try their hand at a military drill.

The glimpse into life as an Army Reservist must have been compelling; 20 per cent of those attending submitted an application to join.

“We aimed to properly showcase the equipment, benefits and lifestyle of Army Reservists and I think it went over well,” says Capt Sean Breckenridge, the event’s coordinator. “The students were surprised at the number of opportunities available, how technical some of them are, at their similarity to many civilian jobs, and just how compatible the Reserve experience is with civilian life.”

Soldier For a Day has been running in various forms since 1996.  In that time it’s emerged as one of the Army Reserves’ most effective recruiting tools, Capt Breckenridge says.

“There’s so many upsides to becoming a citizen soldier that it takes a little time to soak them all in,” he says.  “We’ve found that a day-long event is ideal for showing what the Reserves is about. Those thirsting for adventure, challenge, great friends and unforgettable memories will find everything they need here.”

That’s on top of the many benefits now available to Reservists, such as up to $8,000 in tuition reimbursement, guaranteed summer employment, high school credits, competitive pay, and even dental coverage. 

“The Army Reserves wants to grow from our current 18,000 or so to over 21,000 by 2020,” Capt Breckenridge says.  “We’re pulling out all the stops to get there; so there’s definitely never been a better time to join.”

Photo by 2Lt Cameron Park, Canadian Scottish Regiment



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