The Annual Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s (RBDF) Rangers Hike commenced on March 2. The participants hiked a distance of 16.5 miles from the Department of Public Treasury office at Tall Pines Plaza to Snake Cay eventually ending at Camp Abaco.
In total, there were 57 participants comprised of 35 Ranger recruits (those who are uninstalled) and 22 Ranger cadets (those already installed).
According to RBDF Able Seaman Marco King, the hike was scheduled to take place last year, but was delayed because of Hurricane Matthew’s passage. They ended up combining two of the hikes this month that the Rangers must complete: the one-day hike and the overnight hike.
The purpose of the hike is reinforce the information the Rangers are taught throughout the program namely special parade drills, rope work, core values, the Rangers pledge and motto, etc. While on the hike, they also learned about water evolution with man overboard exercises, and back at the camp they went over knot assessment, which entails knowing what knots are used in various situations. The mud exercise was to teach them military knowledge for example in the event they are caught in crossfire and need to know how low to get down to avoid being injured.
All in all, though, Able Seaman King said that the hike was in no way a rigorous one, and that he was confident in their ability to complete the hike.
“The hike teaches them how far they can go because a lot of them want to give up,” he observed. “It’s a teaching method to teach them mind over matter because the mind is only as weak as the body tells it. They are taught to train themselves to say they can keep going.
“If you train yourself to say hey I’m just going to go this next five steps, and every five steps thereafter you go another five and another five and another five…so we try to teach them mind over matter.”
With the hike now completed, upcoming events for the Rangers include a fundraiser on April 1 in the form of a J’ouvert, which traditionally refers to a large street party held during Carnival throughout many Caribbean cultures. However, the event will be held for children only at the Government Dock.
Able Seaman King said the J’ouvert event is well organized, and that is has received approval from the RBDF as a way of raising funds for the Rangers program seeing that it is a non-profit organization. He said without money, they are always looking for sponsors to assist them.
Additionally, the Rangers will attend a symposium during Easter weekend in either New Providence or Grand Bahama where Abaco Rangers have made their mark already as the reigning champions.
On May 28, the Rangers Installation Ceremony takes place at the Bahamas Government Complex for the 35 Ranger recruits.
Able Seaman King concluded: “I’m thankful for our Parents In Action Group (PAIG) – without them the program could not function. I would like to thank Amber Newbold, Telanna Newbold, Hosa (Josefina) Curry, Cerizia Thelus, and Karen Rolle. They stayed the entire time with them at the camp, and I greatly appreciate that.”
The RBDF Rangers program has been offered on Abaco for approximately 12 years. The program is offered to students enrolled in Grades 7-12 from September to June. The Rangers program services all schools on Abaco, and it is a voluntary program that allows students to be a part of it until one year after their graduation. The Rangers program is also a feeder program into the Royal Bahamas Defence Force for those interested in joining.
For more information about the Rangers program or to become a sponsor, contact Able Seaman Marco King at 1(242) 727-1474 or 1(242) 225-7630.