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Change-of-command ceremony ushers in new cadet leadership

'These young women and men are our future Canadian leaders,' says Lt.-Col. Shaun O’Leary

A virtual change-of-command ceremony took place today at Canadian Forces Base Borden with the new leader of cadets in the province taking the helm.

The Regional Cadet Support Unit (RCSU-Central), which is responsible for the Cadet Program in Ontario, welcomed a new commanding officer on Friday, who will assume regional leadership of one of Canada’s top youth development programs.

Lt.-Col. Shaun O’Leary, a long-serving member of the Canadian Forces, most recently assigned to an adult training role with the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre in Kingston, will bring a wealth of experience to the role, which is focused on the development of leadership, citizenship and community service skills in Canadian youth.

“I am a true believer in the Canadian Cadet Organization, and I am honoured to play a role in this organization focused on developing citizenship and leadership qualities in youth, promoting healthy living, and stimulating an interest in the maritime, military and air activities of the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Lt.-Col. O’Leary. “These young women and men are our future Canadian leaders.”

O'Leary is succeeding Lt.-Col. Barry Leonard, who is leaving after two years to serve in a diplomatic post at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C.

Leonard held the position during the past 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a very challenging period that saw the region’s approximately 280 corps and squadrons, including almost 17,000 cadets, successfully transition what is traditionally an in-person program to an almost entirely virtually one. 

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, this change-of-command ceremony was delivered virtually. 

As RCSU-Central has almost 20,000 members (both adults and youth/cadets) spread across the vast province of Ontario, the virtual adaptation also allowed for more audience members to attend than in a traditionally in-person event.

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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