Every year we have several new cadets who, for some, may be going on their first trip away from home without a family member. It is exciting and even a bit scary. This “Frequently Asked Questions” can help ease some of those nerves – for both cadets and parents!
Like everything in the military, FTX in an acronym for Field Training Exercise.
The purpose of the FTX is to apply the knowledge the cadets learn during weekly training. There are 3 types of FTX that Army cadets participate in. A “Bivouac” weekend centers on bush craft and survival related things, a “Trekking” FTX focuses on hiking and navigating using various methods, and a “Winter FTX” concentrates on winter survival and activities. FTXs are what is referred to as “mandatory training” and is a required part of the Cadet program and as such, all cadets are expected to attend. There is no cost to the cadet for our FTX weekends – they are supported by the Department of National Defense (DND).
Cadets will meet up at a pre-determined time at the armory and will be brought to the to the FTX site by school bus. On the bus, there will be a staff member to co-ordinate the cadets and make sure they arrive safely to the FTX site. On Sunday cadets will be brought back to the armoury for parental pick-up. Cadets should wear their FTUs and combat boots to the FTX. If they have not been issued their FTUs yet, suitable civilian clothes should be worn.
There is a specific “Kit List” for each weekend, but basically a cadet will need to bring suitable clothes for a weekend of camping. It’s safe to assume they will be outside for the entire weekend so things like extra socks, toques, gloves and suitable footwear are important. The issued “cadet parka” could also be brought, if issued. Cadets will be provided with an army sleeping bag and liner, sleep mat and rain gear is available if needed. Cadets will also need personal toiletries and required hygiene products. Your personal kit will get dirty, and it’s safe to assume that it could get damaged so caution should be taken. Jeans and DEU uniform parts and parade boots are not to be brought on the FTX.
Cell phones and other electronics are not permitted on the FTX. In some cases, senior cadets are permitted to bring cell phones for emergency purposes only (for example, if we are going on a hike) but in most cases the cell signal isn’t good in our training areas. Official corps photographers, videographers and social media cadets are permitted electronics for documenting the training.
There are some things that, under the rules of the cadet program or under the law, are prohibited. Some examples of these are: (this is just an example-Refer to CATO 12-50 or speak to staff if in doubt):
- Alcohol, drugs, prescription medication not in the cadet’s name, explosive substances, pornographic material, tobacco products, e- cigarettes, firearms, knives, brass knuckles, ninja stars, nunchucks, etc., Laser pointer, Lighters...
- Unauthorized items will be confiscated for the duration of the FTX. In the event of illegal items military or civilian police will be contacted.
At different moments during the training or activity, the cadet may be subjected to an inspection of his/her sleeping accommodations, luggage, kit, equipment, locker(s) or storage area(s). These will be conducted or supervised by a Canadian Armed Forces member, and will serve to verify that:
- the cadet’s sleeping accommodations, locker(s) and storage area(s) are clean and orderly;
- the cadet is carrying the proper equipment and it is in good condition and properly maintained;
- the cadet’s health and safety is not at risk; and
- the cadet does not have prohibited, restricted or unauthorized items in his/her possession, as listed in the joining instructions or other information document provided under separate correspondence.
If needed, searches of a cadet’s person, property, lockers, luggage, kit or sleeping area for the purposes of discovering contraband, illicit or stolen property, or some evidence of guilt to be used in the prosecution of an offence, will be conducted only by the Military Police or a civilian police agency.
Cadets who that require medication should bring their medications in the original packaging and in a zip-lock or other suitable container, with clear dosing instructions. Medications are turned over to the bus officer and in turn handed over to the medical officer or “Med-O” who secures the medications. Cadets are expected to know their schedule. Any cadet that requires an EpiPen, inhalers or any “on-demand” medications will keep those on their person for the duration of the FTX. We also ask that only the required amount of medication needed for the weekend is brought as we don’t want any excess medication on the exercise.
Cadets should bring their health cards, in case of an emergency. Cadets are responsible for their cards so they should be kept in a safe spot for the duration of the weekend.
Cadets usually wake up around 0630 and start the day by doing their daily abolitions (getting washed, dressed etc.) Cadets will then prepare their own meals in tent groups. This function is spearheaded by the senior cadets under the supervision of staff. Cadets are then off to training, based on the approved training plan for the weekend. They are usually active all day and have some “down time” after diner. We usually have a “night-x” or night exercise in the evening which is something planned by the senior cadets to combine our lessons with some fun. This is usually followed up by “Mug-up” which is a bedtime snack and hot-chocolate. Cadets are generally in bed by 2200.
The senior cadets are responsible for maintaining the “fire picket” which involves keeping the fire going and making sure the lanterns are going all night. – This is also an important safety feature, should any cadet require assistance throughout the night the fire picket can alert staff of any difficulties.
Sunday is much the same except we have to clean up kit and get everyone ready to catch the bus home.
Cadets are expected to have a good meal on Friday as one is not provided. For the duration of the weekend, cadets will eat “MREs” (Meals Ready to Eat) Each 1,200+ calorie MRE consists of a three-course meal, with entrees like Beef Ravioli, Chili, Spaghetti, and Meatballs, as well as side dishes like Fried Rice and Hash Browns. Some breakfast entrees include Pork Sausage Patty and Apple Maple Oatmeal, with sides and desserts like Pop tarts, Strawberry-Banana Milkshakes, Pound Cake, and Hash browns with Bacon. - Cadets will soon find their favourites. MRE’s are supplemented by fresh fruits and water, granola bars and other snacks. We have also, on occasion, had a fresh meal prepared for us when we were in the field.
Cadets generally sleep in tents. The tents are arranged in groups of 6-10, depending on the equipment we have. Cadets are segregated by sex. Tent groups are lead by senior cadets. Staff does not share sleeping areas with the cadets, but are close by and available in case of emergency.
We hate to think about it, but sometimes things go wrong and someone gets hurts. There is always a designated “Med-O” who is responsible for first-aid. The med-o (and most of the staff and senior cadets) is trained in first aid to fix up the minor occurrences. In the event of a more serious event, there is a designated “safety vehicle” for transporting cadets to the hospital or home – whichever is determined to most suitable. Parents will be notified as soon as it is practical to do so. Also, as part of the paper work prepared prior to the FTX, the closest hospital is mapped out as well as the required information should emergency services have to be called.
It does happen, but we generally try to encourage the cadet to get involved with the other cadets in the daily routine...a busy cadet will soon forget that he is missing home!
If there is some unforeseen event that comes up at home and you need to contact your child you can use facebook to message the staff or you can text the staff using the REMIND service. The Officer in charge’s (OIC) contact information can also be found in the Ops-Order.