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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Duty Day #06 (part 2)

10-August-2019
On Friday-9-August the  Cadets from the Emergency Services Youth Academy of Bogota traveled to Darlington Park to take part in the ultimate test for Class 08.  Commonly known as "Black Friday" this  comprises a series  challenges which forces the Cadets to use all the skills, and knowledge they have learned so far. Purposely planned at a location a good distance from their home, and occurring as day turns to night, the first test is to be trusting of the instructors now that they are far from the comfort of their home. Once the caravan of vehicles from Bogota arrived at base camp the Cadets disembarked, stored their gear and fall into formation.  The first order was to perform a quick march around what would be the centre of their lives for the next four to five hours. After this maneuvers the Cadets were  order to the beach at the lake front.  The beach would serve as the starting point to the Academy "Great Race Challenge".  The Squad leaders were then they were given their order, but had to wait for the signal to open them. When the order was given the Squads separated into their own groups and read the instructions. 
   The race was on as each Squad set-off in their own direction based on the orders they were given.  The first Squad back to the start, with all the correct items recovered, would be declared the winner.  The challenges covered the topics learned during Class work, or  the field activities, they received training in.  Some stations they would have to answer questions asked of them, while at others the Cadets need to find a token symbolizing the field of training.  Others station required the Cadets to perform certain task. That could have been applying bandages to a fellow Cadet, or performing CPR. Another station was to perform a quick short order drill to the satisfaction of one of the other Instructors. 

   After the winner of the race was  declared the Cadets returned to the Home base to re-hydrate  and change into their water shoes. After the break the Cadets were marched to a  a field where a series of fire hoses were set up. When each Squad took command of their fire hose a giant water battle began. With five squads involved there was not safe heaven to hide in, and attacks could come from any angle. When a field was fully soaked the hose were turned off the the Cadet moved to the back to the beach.
 This would signal the final test for the members of Class 08. The Cadets were ordered to physically hit the beach. Under a light rain, provided by the hoses of the Bogota Volunteer Fire Dept.  Engine Co #1.  the Cadets were march to the shore of the lake and waited further orders. This wait was short lived as they plunged themselves into chilly waters of an August night.  The first order was to find one of the 50 glow sticks in the water. With a class size of 60 not every Cadet was going to be successful. Those who found the prize needed to return to dry land.  The ones who were too late to get a stick were order face down into the water to do push-ups. The winners were reward with rolls in the sand to dry off. Back and forth they went in and out of the lake. Faces into the sand, then squat jumps in the water,  push-ups along the shore line to be followed by jumping  jacks back into the water. 
  All of the training of discipline, effort,  trust, and respect would be put on display for one final test. The orders were given by at a steady pace only to be broken by informing  an individual Cadet to move towards " The Pit".  Along the way each Cadet had to do a series of exercises, which main purpose seemed to be how much sand could a Cadet leave the beach with on their bodies. Once arriving at their destination they were met with questions and eggs, more questions and some Whipped Cream, more questions followed by flour, and syrup. A few more question and more eggs to top it all off with. Then some were topped off with rainbow sprinkles or coloured cereal. Each Cadet stood tall and held their ground, trusting no harm will come to them. Showing one more time the focus and comment to their duty that may not have been apart of them only one week earlier. The nervousness and fright of Orientation Day has been replaced  by a resolve to face whatever is thrown at them and survive it.  When they were finished being turned into a "Little Cup Cake" then they were ordered to clean themselves off. This was not to be  a warm bubble bath from their Parents, but, by a cold shower from above by fire hose  system in the middle of the night. After the last Cadet emerged for the pit is was time to move to the next stage. 
   Finally the Cadet were allowed to leave the pit and assemble at tables near Sgt Lynch.  He greeted by Sgt Lynch and allowed them to relax for a moment. He told each Cadet of the pride he felt towards each young Woman, or Man  for standing tall and facing the challenges put in front of them. Some cold, and shaking, other sore and tired but all determined to to finish their journey. Cadets grouped together to share of what had just happen. Some Cadets talked to teach other making sure each one was feeling alright, Some moved closer to each other to share warms, While other shared a smile and laugh.  The the Cadet moved back to the Home base. Some in pairs , other solo lost in their thoughts , and few helping those who need a shoulder to lean on. Once they came under the shelter of the base, and wrapped in the warmth of their towels the exhaustion over overcome by smiles. The fear, and uncertainty of the night was replaced by comradeship and pride of telling each other of what had just happen.  As Cadet congratulated each other some slipped off to "sick-bay" to get a little extra rest of fluids.
    On a dark night in August under the harsh glare of spotlights Sgt Lynch stood in front of them all and ask of them to perform on more duty.  The Class was brought to attention and waited for what was to happen next.  Sgt Lynch and Miss Elizabeth walked through the ranks and stopped at each Cadet. He looked them in the eye and ask if they would accept their dog tag as a symbol of becoming Cadet in The Bogota Emergency Services Youth Academy  Class 08. With their voice left in the pit, tears left in childhood, each in turn took their tribute with a firm hand. Some smile, others had to sneak a peek of the new jewelry all must of had thoughts of  what they have just accomplished. After the ceremony the Cadets had a chance to change into dry socks and shoes, re-wrap themselves in towels, and again shared with other the highlights of the evening. 
  Soon after base camp was broken down, and members of the Academy started the trip home. As the caravan made its way through the dark headed to Bogota the exhaustion from the past four hours disappeared in song and celebration. Class 08 arrived back at the High School  to proud Family members awaiting their return. The Cadets emerged from the vans more disheveled than they left and with a odd smell of pancakes in the air. The Cadets were greeted as heroes and while a joyful exchange hummed over the sidewalk.  There may have been a thought of, will the Cadets be able to stay awake long enough to change for bed. With another thought of should they be let in the house for a real shower, or just wash them down outside. But made their way back home to an evening of well desired rest.


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                       Select photos from the Bogota Blog NJ collection  are now available for purchase. 
                     These may  be order from the Bogota Blog NJ Zenfolio store at: Bogotablognj / ESYA

( To help  support Bogota Blog NJ with its coverage of Local stories & sports
                                               please contribute  at: donate to Bogota Blog NJ )


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