Graduate joins Army Reserve following positive experience in Indigenous Summer Program

Article / June 20, 2019 / Project number: 19-0027

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By Jeremiah Hemens, Imare Amine and Captain Nicolas Drescher-Brown, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario – Private Jared Daschner is an accomplished graduate of Bold Eagle, one of four Indigenous Summer Programs run by the Canadian Army. He joined to honour his ancestors and become a role model to youth in his community – and found himself embarking on an exciting career with many options for his future.

Canadian Army expands opportunities for Indigenous people

In light of the success of graduates like Pte Daschner, the Canadian Army (CA)has created two new Indigenous Summer Programs (ISPs) – Carcajou and Grey Wolf. These new programs, led by the 2nd Canadian Division in Quebec and the 4th Canadian Division in Ontario, respectively, will run for the first time in the summer of 2019.

Existing programs:  Bold Eagle and Black Bear

Bold Eagle, which is the program from which Pte Daschner graduated, is the CA’s oldest and largest ISP to date. Created in 1990 and based at the 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre in Wainwright, Alberta, Bold Eagle welcomes Indigenous people from across Western Canada and Northwestern Ontario.

Black Bear, originating in 2008, is open to Indigenous people from across Canada and is based at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

New Programs for 2019: Carcajou and Grey Wolf

The two new programs starting in 2019, Carcajou and Grey Wolf, will allow an even greater number of Indigenous people to take part in the experiences and training offered by the ISPs run by the Canadian Army.

Carcajou is open to Indigenous people from across Canada and is bilingual, with candidates training at 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier in Valcartier, Quebec.

Grey Wolf candidates are drawn from Ontario. Indigenous people living in Ontario within a commuting distance of approximately 75 kilometres from an Army Reserve unit can apply to the Grey Wolf program. Candidates train at 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford, Ontario.

Military and Indigenous activities provide personal and professional growth

From July to August, candidates on the Bold Eagle, Black Bear, Carcajou and Grey Wolf programs take part in a six-week program that combines military training and Indigenous cultural teachings. They are given the opportunity to experience life in the military and benefit from new skills, as well as learn Indigenous values and traditions as taught by Indigenous Elders.

During the first week of the program, the candidates participate in a culture camp. There they learn valuable teachings about self-confidence, self-discipline, teamwork and respect, all part of shared Indigenous spiritual beliefs.

Then, they participate in the Army Reserve’s five-week Basic Military Qualification, where they learn various skills such as weapons handling, navigation with a map and compass, first aid, drill, as well as outdoor field craft and survival skills.

These programs develop personal and professional skills and prepare candidates for successful futures. The skills acquired throughout these six weeks are valuable tools that participants can later apply in their everyday lives and work experiences, whether that be in the Canadian Army or elsewhere.

Once registered in the programs, the candidates are automatically enrolled in the Canadian Army as part-time Reservists, earning approximately $4,200 in salary during their program.

Upon graduation, they can choose one of three options: continue serving part-time in the Army Reserve, become Canadian Rangers, or join the Regular Force full-time. They can also choose to release from the Canadian Armed Forces.

Meet Bold Eagle graduate Private Jared Daschner

“Joining the Canadian Army Reserve was always on my mind for years, but I finally convinced myself to join, and I do not regret it,” said Pte Daschner.

Pte Daschner participated in the 29th Bold Eagle program in the summer of 2018. He chose to remain in the Forces and is now an Army Reservist and aspiring medical officer with 18 Battery, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery in Regina, Saskatchewan.

“The skills I am currently using in my current Reservist job that I learned from Bold Eagle are navigation, basic communications with radio, and teamwork. As an artillery man, grid location and relaying is important!”

Pte Daschner joined to honour great-grandfather among other reasons

“I joined the Bold Eagle program because I am always interested in the military experience and the skills it has to offer. The main reason is to honor my great-grandfather, Corporal Charlie Thomas, who served in both the First World War and the Second World War,” he said.

“Also, to show an alternate positive influence for the youth members of my home community, Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation [in Saskatchewan], and to pursue my aspirations to become a medical officer with the Canadian Armed Forces.”

“The course staff's mentorship helped teach me the skills I was lacking. Other candidates motivate you to push your limits and work harder to become greater person. I am confident that it works, because to this day, I still use the motivation I was taught with my co-workers, friends, and family to achieve greater things for themselves,” said Pte Daschner.

“There are plenty of skills I learned from Bold Eagle that I still apply today, such as navigation, proper dexterity, discipline, physical and mental strength, and the most important one, teamwork!”

Culture camp aspect brought feelings of reconciliation

“The culture camp is really important to me because I felt a reconciliation between Indigenous people of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. The culture camp made an impact on me to learn more about myself and what I want to do in the future, as it brought clarification to some of my Indigenous identity.”

He added, “The transition from civilian to military life was still a little difficult, but the program helped me by introducing some of the military’s discipline slowly with the culture camp.”

Bold Eagle program memories and highlights

“The activities I was involved in were challenging and memorable. For example, during the one week of Indigenous culture camp, learning to set up a tipi as a team, attending a sweat ceremony, and listening to Indigenous military heroes' stories from the past,” said Pte Daschner.

“Waking up every morning and doing productive training in class or outside was beneficial to my health, and events such as the obstacle course, rappelling, gas hut training and attending Edmonton's armoury are always going to be memorable moments of my Bold Eagle Program experience.”

Pte Daschner said his favourite experience from the program was the field training exercise. “I had the opportunity to apply all the knowledge and skills I recently learned to the field, and I enjoyed being outdoors with my fellow candidates learning tactical skills during the day and night.”

Encouraged to see Indigenous leaders in the Army Reserve

“What I gained from this Indigenous Summer program will benefit me for years on any path I choose for my future goals. I became extremely interested in the artillery guns; however, I still want to become a medical officer in the future.”

“I continued my Canadian Armed Forces career because of my course staff in my platoon – each one of them taught me some of their wisdom that I will never forget – and seeing other Indigenous leaders in the army during my training.”

“I would highly encourage anyone to join an Indigenous Summer Program for the experience and new reinforced mentality.  You achieve more respect for yourself and make new lifelong friends, all while you get paid to do something new!”

Please refer to Related Links if you are interested in taking part in one of the Indigenous Summer programs or other programs for Indigenous Peoples.

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