Ceremonial Guard: an exciting and rewarding summer job!

Article / April 1, 2019 / Project number: 19-0026

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By Jeremiah Hemens, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — A position with the Ceremonial Guard (CG) is a great opportunity for a rewarding and unique full-time summer employment experience with a variety of benefits and professional development opportunities.

The Army Reserve is currently hiring, and joining is the first step towards becoming a member of the CG. In addition, qualified Reservists are guaranteed full-time summer employment for their first four years of service, with paid, full-time work opportunities between May 1 and August 31.

What does the Ceremonial Guard do?

CG members execute Public Duties from June to August every year in the National Capital Region while proudly wearing their distinctive ceremonial scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats. Guardsmen, musicians and support staff are all essential positions supporting Public Duties.

Examples of Public Duties include being posted at the residence of the Governor General of Canada, participating in the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill and providing ceremonial musical performances and honour guards for visiting dignitaries.

There is also Fortissimo, a military and musical spectacular event that has attracted thousands of spectators to Parliament Hill in Ottawa every July since 1997. It features massed military bands, pipes and drums, artillery fire and period rifle drill. Guest performers from around the world join the CG soldiers and military band to present an impressive traditional sunset ceremony.

Who can become a member of the Ceremonial Guard?

Regular and Reserve force members of the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force may participate in these highly sought-after duties.

Becoming a part of the CG is a great opportunity for participants to showcase their abilities while representing Canada. Members serve on behalf of the Queen, the Royal Family and the Governor General.

Meet members of the Ceremonial Guard

Master Corporal Gaelen MacIntosh was a member of the CG in 2017 and currently serves as a section commander training recruits for the Governor General’s Foot Guards, a Reserve infantry unit based in Ottawa.

“Anyone participating in the CG will learn to develop self-discipline and a meticulous attention to detail,” said MCpl MacIntosh.

“This comes from having to ensure your uniform and boots are always in pristine condition. Most importantly, they will learn teamwork. Teamwork applies with regards to helping others with their uniforms and practicing drill with one another so that they may represent the CAF [Canadian Armed Forces] in the public eye to the fullest of their ability.”

Corporal Gregory Tselis and Corporal Raquel Bitton are Reserve infantry soldiers with the Canadian Grenadier Guards in Montreal, Quebec. Both soldiers were CG members in 2018 and plan to return for the summer of 2019.

In addition to their commitment to the Army Reserve and the CG, both Cpl Tselis and Cpl Bitton are students with civilian jobs.

Cpl Tselis’ area of study is currently in English Literature but he is switching to applied human sciences with a goal of becoming a military social work officer. He also volunteers at a veterans’ hospital in Montreal.

As for Cpl Bitton, her area of study is digital marketing and she also works as a civilian freelance photographer.

A continuation of family tradition for this soldier

Cpl Tselis is the most recent member of his family to join the CG.

“I have two older brothers that are current serving members of the Canadian Grenadier Guards and my father was also a member of the regiment back in the 1970s,” he said. “It was an honour to finally share the great feeling of being a guard on Parliament Hill.”

Cpl Tselis said there are benefits beyond becoming a part of his family’s history, and the greatest is the social environment.

“I was constantly communicating and working on my interpersonal relationships. It’s a great place for anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone and improve on their skills related to small group leadership.”

Professional development and self-discipline

Cpl Bitton has received a wide variety of benefits as a member of the CG, including the opportunity to be part of special national events and developing new skills. These include personal discipline and orderliness, mental and physical resilience, confidence, teamwork and leadership.

“Participating in Public Duties employment opportunities would be a good career move for current Army Reservists due to all the new skills that can be learned and applied to any career, such as the honing and display of high levels of discipline and reliability,” Cpl Bitton added.

“I strongly believe the CG and Public Duties are good employment opportunities for Canadian students. The full-time tasking takes place in the summer, when most students are off from school. Also, the stable, full-time salary, in combination with the free lodging and meals and all the other benefits, make it a great way to get ahead financially.”

Friendships and rewarding experiences to last a lifetime

Cpl Tselis said his fellow soldiers were the greatest highlight of his experience. “It was a great privilege getting to work closely beside so many other members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The friendships I made there will last a lifetime.”

“For me, the most rewarding thing about being in the CG is the opportunity to be a part of something of such high national importance,” said Cpl Bitton.

“In 50 years from now, I imagine such memories as having paraded on Parliament Hill or having met the Governor General and been one of her guards, will carry far more meaning than the memories of more typical summer jobs,” she said.

How to join

Interested in joining the Army Reserve and becoming a member of the Ceremonial Guard?

Talk to a recruiter from your local unit. To find your nearest recruiter, visit Canadian Army Reserve

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