All Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers in-person programs are being cancelled this summer through Aug. 31.
The decision will affect local training, corps and squadron trips, cadet summer training and activities, in-person training for Cadet Instructors Cadre officers, and with the Canadian Army, the JCR enhanced training sessions.
For Comox, this means events such as the Ceremony of the Flags from HMCS Quadra and ongoing glider operations will not take place this year. Cadet and JCR who have training qualifications for this current training year will be marked as completed.
Brigadier General Dave Cochrane, Commander National Cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger Support Group, made the announcement April 15 in response to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he understood there will be disappointment at the news.
”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,” Cochrane said in a statement.
“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.”
Cochrane said the decision was neither easy nor made in isolation but through consultation to make sure the response was measured.
“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,” he said.
Cochrane also said the mission now is to focus on protecting Canadians during the pandemic, and he cited how they have shown they can come together in new ways. As an example, he pointed to the Battle of Vimy Ridge virtual memorial using social media. Through this, hundreds of cadets and JCRs honoured the battle that shaped the nation. Cochrane encouraged participants to stay engaged with programs through the pandemic, and he has directed staff to look for new ways to engage with young people.
“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,” he added.