As promised the Formation Commander issued new orders and provided a statement together with the Formation Chief Warrant Officer. I have included this statement at the end of this post.
The main message is that for the safety and security of all who participate in our programs he has cancelled all in-person Cadet training activities until 31 August 2020.
The Officer in Charge of Ottawa Saint Lawrence Area has expanded on what that means for us.
- We are to continue to engage with our cadets through virtual means until 1 June 2020.
- All cadets registered on or before 13 March 2020 are granted their level.
- Merit Review Boards are authorized to be conducted virtually as required.
- All local awards / recognition normally awarded at the Annual Cadet Review, including those to aging out cadets shall be announced by alternate means (no in-person presentations) and awarded in the fall when conditions allow.
- No recreational trips until further notice.
- Flying familiarization is cancelled.
- All Cadet Training Centre summer training activities are cancelled.
- Further direction will be coming with respect to summer training and employment.
I realize that not all of my readers will understand all of the terminology so I will try to explain what each of these points mean.
In order to aid in the reduction of the number of people who become infected with COVID-19 and to protect cadets, staff, volunteers and their families we are not allowed to meet as we would have before March Break. This will limit what we can do, but we value the members of our Squadron and wish to continue to provide interesting and engaging activities. Not only will this keep us all socially connected and keep us ready to re-start in the fall when conditions allow; we also want to give you interesting and challenging things to do where-ever you are sheltering. We also want to keep track of the condition of our members. Our connection to the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of Defence means that we can draw on those resources and may be able to provide help.
All members of the Squadron have completed all requirements for completing the year. If you are in Level 1, you will start Level 2 in the fall; Level 2 cadets will start Level 3 and so on. This also means that cadets will be promoted as they reach the required time in rank. We will also be running the Merit Review Boards for current FSgt and WO2 cadets. In fact some cadets have already been promoted since the stand down.
We will not be holding an Annual Cadet Review (ACR) as the Level 2 and higher cadets will remember from last year. We will be awarding all the forms of recognition to deserving cadets, but will not be making presentations this Spring. For returning cadets we will hold an awards ceremony once conditions allow in-person parades to make these presentation. For graduating cadets we will do what we can to provide an appropriate ceremony to celebrate their achievements as well.
Our year end trip is cancelled. So is our gliding day and any familiarization flying we may have wanted to schedule with Mr Franklin.
Summer training activities have been cancelled; but we will receive more information on what will happen to summer training courses and employment opportunities for staff cadets. I don’t know what that might mean. Many people have already made suggestions or asked questions about this. The answer is that they are considering all options and will let us know. This is going to be frustrating those who hoped to attend summer training. The best course of action is to remain connected to the squadron, stay busy and wait for the information to come down to us. Summer training is a huge part of the cadet program. They have a lot of resources, people and money. The system has never had to do what we are asking it to do now. No one is better to responding to new conditions and environments than the military. Let’s give them time to come up with a plan and see what they have to offer.
Soon I will be providing a list of activities that we have in process or are planning for our cadets to participate in. First I will be reaching out to those cadets who have not checked in since we stood down to ensure that all of you are receiving all my communications.
I want to be clear on one point. Virtual or distance participation is entirely optional. If you are unable or your parents don’t want you to use some of the tools we are using to implement our virtual activities please have them get in touch with me using the absence notification form so we can explore alternatives. If you are busy keeping up with school and other activities and don’t have time to participate that is not a problem, but please get in touch so that we know you are well.
Captain / captaine HR Buckley, CD
The Formation Commander’s Update
The safety and security of all who participate in our programs is always one of my top priorities. Combined with our commitment to developing in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, it was clear to me that Canada’s Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers programs could not in good faith carry on with our planned summer activities while the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces is gearing up to assist Canadians in the face of COVID-19, and any other challenges they may face.
Therefore, that is why, I have made the decision to cancel all in-person Cadet and JCR training activities until 31 August 2020 and have directed that every Cadet and JCR have their training qualifications for this current training year marked as completed. This cancellation decision will affect local training, corps and squadron trips, cadet summer training and activities, in-person training for Cadet Instructors Cadre officers, and, in coordination with the Canadian Army, the JCR enhanced training sessions. This decision ensures the safety and security of everyone who participates in our programs and will ensure that the Cadet program, like the Canadian Armed Forces, does not become a vector to spread COVID-19.
This was not an easy decision, nor was it made in isolation. I have consulted far and wide to ensure that I am taking a measured response to the challenges that lie before us. In order to rise to that challenge, I will require Cadets, COATS members, our volunteers, and key stakeholders including League representatives, to come together – not only to bounce back, but to help improve and enhance the Cadet and JCR programs for the next generation of young Canadians when training is forecasted to resume in September 2020.
The Canadian Armed Forces have always done everything they can to support our programs, from providing medical support, instructors, and facilities which allow us to operate the summer training programs the way we do. The reality is that the Canadian Armed Forces now need to focus on the mission to protect Canadians during this pandemic. Their hard work and dedication will allow us to return stronger than ever.
Even in difficult times we are coming together in new ways. An excellent example was the Battle of Vimy Ridge virtual memorial through social media, which saw hundreds of cadets and JCRs honouring this important battle that shaped our nation. Putting a national-level effort together in this short a timeframe is just one small example of the work being done by local Commanding Officers and their staff, members of the formation and regional headquarters, and Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups to ensure that we remain focused on the Cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger experience. Thank you all for your support and contributions during these difficult times.
I encourage all of you to find new and innovative ways to stay engaged with our programs throughout this pandemic, while respecting physical distancing. I want to thank all of the Corps and Squadron staff as well for their exemplary communication effort – these are challenging times and you have clearly stepped up to the plate.
I have directed my staff to begin planning to explore innovative ways to take advantage of this pause in training to implement new and exciting solutions for today’s youth. Expect to hear more about what this may entail in the weeks to come, as I will be looking at options that will involve employment opportunities for COATS members, Staff Cadets and Civilian Instructors to help make these ideas come to life.
I understand many of you will be disappointed with today’s news. However, the safety and security not only of those involved in our programs, but of all Canadians must be our top concern. The Cadet and Junior Canadian Programs must not be a vector for the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. I am confident in the strength and resilience of the men and women who not only support and lead this program, but also participate in it. I am extremely proud of all Cadets, Junior Canadian Rangers and adult staff of how you have been adapting to this unprecedented situation and adhering to the Government’s social distancing protocols. Our role now is to demonstrate leadership and citizenship in the face of adversity, and I know that you are all up to the challenge.