Looking back on my 11 years with the RMC Foundation, Reunion Weekend is always my favourite time of year. The hustle, the bustle, the planning, the comradery, the competition, but more importantly it’s seeing our ex cadets come back together after 10, 20, 30 even 40 years and remembering it like it was yesterday.
From the Legacy Dinner, where ex cadet’s share their stories of their careers as officers, to the Obstacle Course where our future leaders are welcomed to the Wing, or the annual ex cadet vs current cadet Rugby game the memories we share are endless.
My favourite memories of Reunion Weekend have to be the Saturday ex cadet Rugby match. Besides the Obstacle Course, this is always my favourite event to shoot. The competitive nature these young (and not so young) men have on the field inspires me. I can see their determination, their drive, their sportsmanship, and more importantly their leadership. The warm up, if you will, to the annual OUA game played on home field in front of adoring fans. I sit and watch in the sea of Red Paladins gear the faces of the men and women ex cadets sharing memories with their families of their time at the Colleges.
These cadets step on the field together as brothers, fathers, sons, and competitors then walk off the field as friends, allies, and mentors.
I have worked very closely with RMC Rugby Coach Sean McDonaugh throughout the years. I see his passion for the Rugby program every time he comes across campus to my office. I see what he does to help us raise the funds needed to ensure that these young officers have the skill development and training tools they need to succeed, not just in the program, but also in their future careers as Officers. Coach has built a solid relationship with our ex cadet Rugby players. He truly believes in the relationship building between ex cadets and future officers.
When I look back on all the years I’ve been with the RMC Foundation I see the people who paved the way. I read the old yearbooks and reminisce of what the program used to be and where it has come. I see the past, the present, and our future. I have seen sons, and fathers battle it out until exhaustion, and then share a beer with their teammates after a hard fought match. I have seen the triumphs and the struggles. I have seen lifelong leadership development and friendships they carry with them throughout their careers that make this program so successful.
When I look through the lens of my camera, I see the potential of these determined young men. I see the poise and strength of the ex cadets who fund the program. I see the dedication of their coach to ensure that these young officers leave RMC with the skills and mentorship they need to be successful in their careers down the road.
To the past – thank you for paving the way. To the present – thank you for believing in this program and creating opportunities. To our future – never forget who helped you succeed along the way, as one day I hope to capture your memories on the field when you come back for Reunion Weekend.