And to get a better idea of the reserves, the public was recently welcomed to an open house at the Truro Armoury where they could draw their own conclusions.
“This is a great opportunity for people within our community to come in, meet some of the soldiers, talk to them,” said Lieut.-Col. Colin Todd, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia Highlanders.
“It’s really about showing the community who we are, what we do, our capabilities, what we bring to the community, which is significant.”
The reserves, open to ages 16 to 52, often serves as a stepping stone to the regular armed forces and gives members a taste of military life. But it can also be a rewarding and rather lucrative part-time job, particularly for young people.
Soldiers make $96 for a full day’s pay, according to Todd, who has been in the service 31 years. After being in the army two years and with the required courses completed comes a promotion to corporal, and $140 per day.
There is training Thursday evenings and, on average, one weekend a month. It can be full time in July and August with courses.
“Most of the recruits are young,” Todd said, “largely because they have July and August off. So they can go away and do that block of training.
“Young people, if they’re in high school, they’re in community college, they’re in university, we’ve got some excellent opportunities, no only for army training but for leadership training.”
Basic training is a lot about discipline and teamwork, Todd said. They learn first aid, and receive drill and weapons training. They also learn about workplace hazardous materials through WHMIS training.
The discipline they pick up is particularly beneficial.
“It’s an environment that’s very structured,” Todd said, “and we’ve got dress, deportment, discipline. These are not just army skills, they are life skills.”
Other employers in the community, he added, are pleased to find potential employees coming equipped with these skills and training.
There is also a pension plan and health benefits to take into account. As well, the provincial Department of Education recently announced that doing basic training now counts toward a Grade 11 high school elective credit.
“I can’t say enough good things about what we have to offer,” Todd said.
For more information on the Army Reserves, contact Sgt. Jim Hunter, 902-893-6893 or James.firstname.lastname@example.org .