Zoom ceremony boosts cadets’ spirits

CFB Esquimalt Base Commander, Capt(N) Sam Sader participates in the Navy League Cadet Corps Annual Ceremonial Review.

CFB Esquimalt Base Commander, Capt(N) Sam Sader participates in the Navy League Cadet Corps Annual Ceremonial Review.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Members of Victoria’s Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC) were reunited for the first time in months at their Annual Ceremonial Review, but not in person.

Thirty-six of the youth program’s 43 cadets, ages nine to 12, logged into their ceremony on the morning of May 31 via Zoom.

Capt(N) Sam Sader, Base Commander, was the Honoured Guest at the virtual review. He was joined by Cdr(NL) Chris Willis, NLCC Vancouver Island Division Commander, with both men presenting awards and promotions during the ceremony.

“Their dedication to staying connected through creative virtual means and representing the Navy League was evident throughout,” said Capt(N) Sader. “I was honoured to review a group of cadets and corps leadership who demonstrate such strong professionalism in the face of challenges. Bravo Zulu!”

During normal times, the annual event is held at Work Point’s HMCS Venture building, but the cadets were ordered to stand down in early March due to the required physical distancing measures.

Capt(N) Sader said that despite the COVID-19 disruption, he was greatly impressed by the level of “dress, discipline and drive” displayed by the cadets virtually.

Award winner highlights include:

  • NLCC Coxswain, CPO1 Caleb Bourgeois who received the HMCS Malahat Cadet of the Year Award and the Medal of Excellence of his division.
  • Fellow cadet, PO1 Isaiah Hammuda was recognized with the Don and Jean Bendall Citizenship Award for his exemplary fundraising efforts. This award recognizes the efforts of cadets who work outside of their normal duties and responsibilities within the unit.
  • NL Cadet, PO2 George Donnelly was the recipient of the Officer’s Choice, Most Improved cadet award. PO2 Donnelly is 12 and will move on to the Royal Canadian Army Cadets next year. While noting it was an honour to be recognized with an award, he said it was also equally important to be reunited with the other cadets.

“It was nice to see my friends and great that we could still do this ceremony even though we are all so far apart. I am looking forward to joining the army cadets and being able to rank up.”

Despite the adjustment to a virtual ceremony, Navy League administrative officer, A/SLt(NL) Tara Amell said the reactions of the cadets on screen was proof the event boosted their spirits and morale, including her step-son Leading Cadet Troy Shortt.

“The cadets were so excited to see each other and our staff,” said Amell. “It was a successful attempt to keep the momentum going in the wake of the stand-down order, keep them engaged, and ensure they didn’t disappear into the fringes during the shutdown.”


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