By Lieutenant Dykens Sauvageau, ADM(IM) –
“Let’s go! We’re in this together, keep going.” These are the words Corporal (Cpl) Eric Nolan kept saying this past September during Exercise (EX) RAPID THUNDER.
EX RAPID THUNDER was a five-day long adventure training session held at Wilderness Tours in Forester Falls, Ontario. Organized by ADM(IM)’s Director Knowledge and Information Management (DKIM) member Cpl Jacob O’Connor, the training was an opportunity for military personnel to maintain and develop their basic soldier skills, while enduring physical and mental challenges.
This new challenging training session attracted eight ADM(IM) military members: Major (Maj) Keven Arsenault, Lieutenant Dykens Sauvageau, Warrant Officer Kenneth Wilson, Sergeant Henry Lescot, Master Corporal Jakov Marinic, Cpl Jacob O’Connor, Cpl Eric Nolan, and Cpl Nick Bolek. Going into the training, the Officer in Charge, Maj Arsenault, did not know what to expect, but “if all goes to plan, we’ll come out of this stronger – physically, mentally, and as a team.”
On Day 1, the group went mountain biking through narrow tracks that demanded high precision and balance. An ice-breaker activity was also organized, which saw two teams battle it out on an obstacle course.
Day 2 saw participants engaged in a guided sport raft activity. The eight members underwent a series of drills such as learning how to recover from a flipped raft as a team, jumping from high terrain into rapids, safely swimming down a rapid, surfing waves with a raft, and swimming through a whirlpool.
The following day, the group participated in a self-guided sport raft activity that promoted group cohesion. Their task was to effectively steer down the rapids together as a team, without their raft flipping.
Day 4 was arguably the most intensive day, with participants using sport yaks to navigate down the rapids. Sport yaks are small two-person raft, where the front provides power and the back steers. Avoiding flipping down the rapids was difficult and required constant effort and teamwork from the yak’s two pilots. Participants agreed that though this was the most challenging day, it was also the most rewarding.
A reconnaissance exercise was organized for the last day of EX RAPID THUNDER. According to Cpl O’Connor, “This was the perfect way to end the five days. It helped soldiers prepare for redeployment.”
The itinerary over the five-day period was rigorous, yet all participants pushed through and triumphed over the challenges they faced. This adventure training not only pushed participants to their limits, but also allowed military personnel to step back from their daily tasks and objectives to develop team work, leadership, and group cohesion skills.
EX RAPID THUNDER 2020 is currently being planned. With this year’s successful results, they hope to host a similarly positive experience, with white-water rescue certification as possible objective.
Bravo Zulu to the eight ADM(IM) EX RAPID THUNDER participants!
If you are interested in learning more about adventure training and EX RAPID THUNDER, please contact Cpl O’Connor.
All photos provided by Lieutenant Dykens Sauvageau
This post is also available in: Français (French)