From the formation commander:
Since my announcement on 15 April that cancelled all in-person activities until 31 August 2020, the leadership throughout the cadet program has fielded a number of concerns especially as it pertains to some of the most senior courses that are offered within the cadet program.
My staff and I have been analyzing courses of action across the cadet portfolio. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of viable options when we consider physical distancing protocols, the fast approaching summer timeline and associated federal government guidelines and policies regarding contracts.
We are living in unprecedented times and, like all Canadians, we all must adapt to the changing environment and, although difficult, we need to accept the impact it has had on our lives.
We do not yet know what the future will hold, and I appreciate your understanding as we all move through this difficult journey together, dealing with this new normal. However, my primary concern remains unchanged; safety of all youth and staff is paramount, and the cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger programs will not become a transmission vector of the COVID-19 virus.
As such, all in-person activities remain cancelled until end August 2020. During this time, we are focusing our efforts on engaging cadets and staff virtually. I hope you have enjoyed the “Stay at Home Challenges”, as well as both the Cadet and Adult online learning portals. I am also quite impressed with everyone’s imagination and priority on keeping connected with fellow cadets and corps/sqn staff.
I know that many of you who were accepted for senior courses have some concerns regarding the future, in particular those chosen for flying courses, exchanges and senior training opportunities. After careful and thorough analysis, the options available for this summer are extremely limited, and very uncertain for the summer of 2021. The fact remains that we still do not know how long we will be operating in a COVID-19 environment, and what impact it may have on future Cadet training opportunities. I am therefore, for the majority, unable to offer priority standing or alternative activities for those who may have already received course offers for summer 2020. In case of rare exceptions, you will be receiving notification from your Regional Cadet Support Unit on what may be possible.
This summer, we will focus effort on exploring online training options and experiences, and studying ways to improve the cadet program for the future. There may be some areas where we could act earlier while others will require longer term to mature. We continue to explore options.
Going forward, we are analyzing how we are going to operate in a COVID environment for the Cadet training year commencing in September 2020, and adapting the program, where necessary, virtually and through limited in-person activities when conditions will permit.
One of our main concerns during this pause is the sustainability of the cadet program throughout this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We will be looking closely at force generation aspects revolving around key components such as the Air Cadet Flying Program, sailing and marksmanship to name a few.
As you know, the Cadet Program aims to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership, promoting physical fitness and stimulating the interest of youth in the Sea, Army and Air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces. These core principles will continue to be preserved, but the approach used may look a bit different from what we were used to prior to the arrival of COVID-19. Flexibility will be key.
Rest assured that we are always looking for opportunities both now and, in the future, to enhance the cadet experience you enjoy. Please note, if employment or online training opportunities do arise, we will notify you as soon as possible. I do ask though for your patience and understanding.
We are in this together. Be safe everyone.