Hello everyone, I am Connor MacDonald, and I have the privilege of being your Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) for this training year. My job as the RSM is to bridge gap between the officers and the cadets, and ensure that the unit runs smoothly. My journey through cadets began in 2012. The first year I was a cadet, didn’t do much outside of regular parade nights. I learned drill and participated in activities, but didn’t have any optional involvement within the corps. That changed in my red star year when joined the band. My involvement in the band is one of the best parts of my cadet career. The band allowed me to form relationships, some that I consider my closest friends, and I began involving myself within the corps. My journey through cadets got me into many different activities, but my favourite has been the band. I started as a swing tenor drummer and switched to bass drumming and lead of the midsection. Eventually, I became the Drum Major, and was placed in charge of the drill and deportment of the band. Last year, I finally left the LHQ band when I achieved the goal of becoming the Company Sergeant Major. I didn’t want to leave the band completely, though, so I continued to play the bass drum in the 21 Pipes and Drums competition band. After all those years as a joint band, or being unable to compete because we were too small, we finally were able to play in a competition on our own. I couldn’t miss that! A second highlight during my time in Cadets was the opportunity to follow the expedition training track through cadets, culminating with my participation in the 6-week (expedition instructor – Charlie Company) camp at CTC Blackdown. If you’re considering expedition, watch this video – you’ll be hooked, too. See if you can find me: While I was on my Charlie expedition, I found out that my application was accepted to go on a two-week Madawaska River regional expedition. Madawaska also gave me a new appreciation for the outdoors, and allowed me to experience the joys of canoeing rapids. However, my real favourite part of the expedition was the bond you form with the other people around you. Everyone has heard of these bonds where you are in the other people’s heads, but I experienced it for the first time at Charlie and on the Madawaska Expedition. We could have done anything or gone anywhere with this group. We laughed together, cried together, and had a trial for a duck together (no, really). I’ve never had relationships like I shared with my teammates on that trip before or since, and I believe that the other expedition instructor qualified cadets will concur. Outside of cadets, I have used my skills developed in cadets to continue to have several other great opportunities. First, through my initial involvement in the band program I had the opportunity to join another civilian band, and have been playing in the midsection with them for three years. In that time, I continued to develop my skills, but I’ve had some pretty great experiences with them. I played the bass drum on stage with Rod Stewart in Toronto. I was also able to spend 2 weeks the summer of 2017 in Switzerland performing in the Basil Tattoo, and I spent the whole month of August in Scotland playing at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As performers in these tattoos, I only had to pay for my flight overseas – the rest was paid for by the shows! While I was part of these shows, I was able to rub elbows with people from around the world, and made a bunch of friends. I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished at 21 in the last 6 years, and I have great memories of the places I’ve gotten to go because of the skills I started learning here. My advice is to jump into cadets. Ask questions. Make connections. You never know where it might take you. I’m looking forward to a great year with you. Please feel free to ask me any questions and bring forward any concerns that you may have.