Regina Armoury open house looks to beef up reservist recruitment

David Slywka with the Regina Rifles estimated they recruited around 10 people to join the Canadian Army Reserve at the Regina Armoury open house Sept. 30, 2017. (Jessie Anton/980 CJME)

The Regina Armoury was open to civilians Saturday, in hopes of boosting the number of part-time reservists in the city.

Over the last few years, as a recruiter, Sgt. David Slywka with the Regina Rifles said numbers have dwindled. However, he said it’s not solely due to the lack of recruitment but retention.

“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 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 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 is 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 is history and English literature before going on to achieve his Masters 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.

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