The Regina Armoury, along with all the others across Canada, was open to civilians Saturday, in hopes of boosting the number of reservists throughout the country.
Over the last few years, as a recruiter, Sgt. David Slywka with the Regina Rifles said numbers have dwindled. However, he said recruitment isn’t the only contributing factor; it also has a lot to do with rentention.
“The numbers weren’t coming in to replace the members that we’ve been releasing,” explained Sgt. Slywka. “It’s the reserves, people can get out whenever they want — they’re not tied to a contract.”
It’s that aspect of joining the reserves that Sgt. Slywka said many find appealing.
Those who enlist in the reserves often have full- or part-time jobs and most never serve overseas.
Sgt. Slywka said a major part of being a reservist is serving in domestic operations, such as helping fight forest fires in Northern Saskatchewan and British Colombia or assisting with flood relief efforts in Quebec and Manitoba.
He added that the central message at the open house was educating those who are curious about joining the part-time force about what exactly it entails.
Bombardier Alan Kilpatrick said he remembers being recruited at an armoury open house in Nanaimo, B.C. in 2004.
Six years later, Kilpatrick said he was a part of the security efforts at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“That took several months of training and a couple months at the Olympics. It was definitely a highlight of my military career,” he said.
During that time in between, Kilpatrick said he completed his undergraduate degree in history and English literature before going on to achieve his master’s degree in library and information science, which eventually led him to be a full-time law librarian in Regina.
“(The reserves) are quite flexible,” he said. “It’s really up to you to determine what your commitment is going to be.”
In Regina, Sgt. Slywka said the Canadian Army Reserve is hoping to fill approximately 200 empty spots to level out each of their units.
Towards the end of Saturday’s open house, he estimated they recruited about 10 people.
The federal government has committed to increase the number of reservists by 1,500 to a total of 30,000. In order to achieve this, the Canadian Armed Forces have accelerated the application process for joining the Reserve Force to about a month. Before, it took approximately six months to a year to be accepted.