ARCHIVED - Take Our Kids to Work Day at the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence across Canada

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Article / December 2, 2014 / Project number: 14-0254

Ottawa, Ontario — They got a close look at a big Howitzer artillery gun and the brawny vehicle that tows it. They shot pellet rifles at a training range. Viewed a thermo chamber and bio-molecular lab. Saw Navy diving equipment in action. Got inside an experimental dive chamber. Ran an obstacle course. Toured the Human Technology and Human Interaction lab. Got to remotely control bomb disposal robots. Met a Canadian Forces Base Commander. Had a flying lesson in a training cockpit from a real pilot. Used a small arms trainer video simulator.  Tried on chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear protective gear. Became invisible – even to infrared – in a sniper ghillie suit. Saw how combat rations are prepared. Watched an air force engineer make ice cream with military tools, liquid nitrogen and ingenuity.

What’s this all about? It’s the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence version of Take Our Kids to Work Day held on November 5, 2014 in the National Capital Region, at Canadian Forces Base Shilo, at Defence Research and Development Canada`s Toronto Research Centre and at the Canadian Forces Environmental Medicine Establishment (CFEME), also located in Toronto.

Falling annually on the third Wednesday of November, Take our Kids to Work Day was founded in 1994 by The Learning Partnership, a national charity dedicated to advancing publicly funded education in Canada. Today more than 250,000 students, 18,000 teachers and more than 75,000 organizations participate each year across Canada.

The day provides students with a different perspective in support of, but not in contradiction to their classroom learning, to help contribute to an intelligent and informed Canadian workforce of tomorrow.

     CFB Shilo

Shilo has hosted students as part of Take Your Kids to Work Day for several years,” said Lori Truscott, Public Affairs Officer, CFB Shilo.  “Parents with students in Grade 9 are encouraged to bring their children and we also host large numbers of students who don’t have family or neighbours who work here but are interested in the CAF as a possible career.

About 30 students participated, some travelling locally from Brandon and area communities and others from as far away as Winnipeg. Quite a number of students visiting were from immigrant families.  “This was likely their very first exposure to the CAF and soldiers,” said Ms. Truscott.  “At every stop on the tour they met soldiers and civilian employees, asked lots of questions, and left here with a better knowledge of what CFB Shilo is all about and who works here.” 

Over the course of the day they met the Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Joudrey, Commanding Officer of CFB Shilo, visited nearly every section and unit, got to try their skills in the Smalls Arms Trainer (video simulator), saw a LAV 6.0 and a LAV 3.0 and visited the Military Police unit and the base fire hall.

     DRDC – Toronto and CFEME

Shandu Mutambirwa hosted five students for the Take Our Kids to Work day at DRDC – Toronto and CFME.  “The students were all engaged, intrigued and motivated,” she said.

They were given the opportunity to see the centrifuge while a pilot was being tested.  “I’m surprised that the pilot was able to not lose consciousness while going around so quickly in the centrifuge,”   said a student.

Parents, including Warrant Officer Christopher Townson, an Aero Medical Technician, conducted tours of the Thermo Chamber, Dive Chambers and a presentation of protective equipment. WO Townson asked the students if they might pursue a career in any of the areas they toured, and when one student responded, “I want to be an astronaut,” he advised her that she may want to study plenty of math and science and become a pilot first.

 “The students were so amazed and interested to learn what DRDC was all about,” said Ms. Mutambirwa.  “I heard comments like, ‘This tour is so cool – I had no idea that my dad did this, and ‘My friends are gonna be so jealous.

 “Overall, it was a very inspiring for the students to learn what makes DRDC and CFEME such a success. The only fallback was that the tour was too short, the students wanted and asked to do more,”  she said.

     Connaught Ranges, Ottawa

More than 350 Grade 9/secondaire 3 students were given an inside look at the vast spectrum of Defence Team jobs at events put on by the Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) at Connaught Ranges and Primary Training Centre.

  “This was a great opportunity for my son Douglas and his friend to learn about the military. I came three years ago with my older son as well,”  said Captain (Navy) James Cotter in Ottawa.  “You open the doors and they either pass through or they don’t. It really is their choice,”  he said.

His two ninth graders were intent on exploring every aspect of a military vehicle being demonstrated by CAF members on site.  “It’s actually pretty cool,” said son Douglas Cotter. His friend Brendan Schock, an air cadet, added,  “It’s educating.

Marlene Duke, an Ottawa civilian employee, brought her twins Jonathan and Julie to the event. Cadets with 5 Cyclone Squadron in Embrun, Ontario, they play flutes in the band and are aspiring pilots.  “If I could become a general someday, I’d be so proud of myself,” said Jonathan.

Ryan Campbell, whose father Don works in information management for the Department of National Defence in Ottawa, was impressed with the ice cream made by Captain Sandy Owega, an RCAF engineer who works in the area of fluids research and testing.

Intended to show the value of ingenuity and technical know-how, Capt Owega’s MacGyver-style recipe involved the safe handling of the hazardous liquid nitrogen and the use of military tools to produce the tasty treat.  “I loved the ice cream,”  said Ryan.

 “There are plenty of bells and whistles in this place,”  he enthused. Nearby was a Military Police vehicle, a field ambulance and firefighting equipment as well as the pellet gun range.  “I’m interested in trying out the pellet guns again. I’m a crack shot,”  he confided.

Warrant Officer Pat Eglinton works in the Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa. He said his daughter could have gone to her mother’s workplace and watched her do paperwork and filing, or looked over his own shoulder as he set up and coordinated survey jobs, but  “we knew the event here at Connaught would be a much more interesting option for a school outing.” 

Ottawa student Julie-Ann Tremblay was impressed by Master Corporal Lukas Pawlowski’s passion for all things geographical as he demonstrated mapping and charting.  “He explained it so well. You don’t know there is work like this when you sit in geography class,” she said.

MCpl Pawlowski, a geomatics technician who uses a wide range of data sources to help provide geographic information about areas of operations, was a reservist for eight years before becoming a Regular Force member.  “I have always had a fascination for geography,” he said.  “It’s something I love and I was glad to find an application for it in the Forces.

Student Kasandra Bergeron has been a member of 3018 Army Cadet Corps in Orleans, Ontario for about three years.  “I’m not sure if I will join the military,”  she said.  “But if I did, maybe it would be as a combat engineer.” 

Her father, Master Warrant Officer Joel Bergeron, had a very positive view of the Take Our Kids to Work Day event,  “It’s interesting and very well done.

 

By Lynn Capuano, Army Public Affairs

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