by maralyn ellis
If a student is accepted into the Forces co-op, a whole semester is spent at their participating Armoury. In Hamilton it's with the Primary Reserves for the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (the RHLIs or "the Rileys") or the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders ("the Argylls" - who incidentally have a real badger head for their "sporran" or waist pouch with their kilt... I've seen it!).
- 07:50 - Roll Call
- 08:00 to 12:00 - Military Classes
- 12:00 - Lunch (catered)
- 12:30 to 14:30 - Math/English/Other
- 14:30 - PT (physical training) on some days
The application process for this military co-op program is quite rigorous and can take up to 3 or 4 months. It includes going to your school's guidance office, filling out applications, including the online Forces app, a PT test, practicing and writing an aptitude test and more (click here for a "how to" in the Halton/Hamilton area). Before going ahead with applying, you will want to put more research into the Primary Reserves and the expectations of you as a Reservist (click here for more information) and consider attending an information night (contact your local Reserves to find out if they support this co-op program and have an event planned for students and parents/guardians).
The decision to join the Forces or the Reserves is a big one. This co-op program allows students the opportunity to have a hands-on experience in the military that they may or may not choose to pursue after high school. In the words of another friend of mine who was a Reservist for 9 years (4 in school and 5 in service), "I think most young men [and some young women!] think about the military at some point. In retrospect, I don't regret it because it allowed me to learn a bunch about myself and about society... and remember: the vast majority of people that join the forces do so because they want to make things better in the world and the military seems to offer this chance. So this desire to join is probably coming from the right place."