Sports Day unifies schools after campus restructure

PO1 Jonathan Sorensen leads his team in the tug-of-war competition. Photos by Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

PO1 Jonathan Sorensen leads his team in the tug-of-war competition. Photos by Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

The soggy conditions didn’t seem to faze members of the new Naval Fleet School Pacific who cheered, high-fived and bonded during their unit’s annual Sports Day on Sept. 23.

The cool temperatures and light showers persisted for most of the day as approximately 400 personnel took to “the great outdoors” to compete in golf, soccer, ball hockey, softball, basketball, beach volleyball, tug-of-war and wild play tree trekking (zip line) competitions at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre in Colwood.

“The summer saw a lot of changes to the unit and it took a lot of hard work by many people, so this day was a much needed release for everyone and a way to come together as a big campus,” said Cdr Todd Bonnar, NFS(P) Commanding Officer.

Cdr Bonnar was referring to the recent implementation of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Future Naval Training System (FNTS) that saw the reconfiguration of Fleet School Esquimalt and the Naval Officer Training Centre VENTURE into NFS(P). Despite the logistical challenges of the transformation, and the sports day’s weather, Cdr Bonnar said he was impressed with the turnout and that it was an indication of the “can-do” attitude of students and staff.

OS Kendra Fitz-Gerald, a combat training student studying to become a sonar operator, said she was really looking forward to the event and getting out on the baseball field with her classmates.

“It gets everyone together and out of the workplace setting for a day and is certainly a morale booster for us all,” she said.

LS Josh Bear, who is studying to become a marine engineer, said the event was therapeutic and a good way to beat the stress of studying.

“It gives you a complete recharge,” he said.

By midday, the rain subsided and the sun poked through the clouds so participants could enjoy the complimentary barbeque, team trophy award presentation, and random prize draws.

Event organizer Lt(N) Bob Mackay, a course training officer, said the $500 donation by the PSP Sponsorship Program was used to pay for several gift cards for the random prize draw held at the conclusion of the event, which he said added to the level of enjoyment for participants.

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