The 768 Jet Rangers Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron stands at attention during their 2023 ceremonial review. (Karen Powell photo)

HOMETOWN HEROES: Quesnel’s 768 Jet Rangers Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron

Local air cadets lead the way for local youth

Some of the city’s ambitious youth stood at attention for their annual commanding officers’ review. The city would like to salute them right back.

The 768 City of Quesnel Royal Canadian Jet Rangers Air Cadet Squadron is 56 years old. For about 10 years, the group has been under the command of Capt. Joanne McCallum, with the help of deputy commanding officer Capt. Mike Forster, Capt. Poonam Miglani, and others.

At this year’s annual ceremonial review, the following honours were bestowed on deserving young members.

Lord Strathcona Trust Medal: Flight Cpl. Phoenix Marion

Royal Canadian Legion Medal of Excellence: Flight Cpl. Delilah Ledgerwood

Betterment Award: Flight Sgt. Layden Marion

Dress & Deportment Award: Flight Cpl. Kayla Erickson

Esprit de Corps: Flight Sgt. Merrill Ringwood

“Our local Quesnel Squadron, 768 Jet Ranger Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets, has been slowly recovering from the troubles I’m sure all group organizations, particularly youth-oriented organizations, experienced during the COVID-19 restricted years,” said Forster. “We are rebuilding our numbers slowly but are always eager to attract new members.”

The Canadian cadet organizations are a federal program connected to the Canadian Armed Forces to “help develop skills that will help youth transition into adulthood. From good citizenship, leadership, and a focus on physical fitness, cadets have experiences that you don’t find anywhere else,” said the Government of Canada’s statement on the program. “Sea cadets learn seamanship skills, including navigation and how to sail. Army cadets participate in expeditions, trekking, orienteering and abseiling. Air cadets (the kind Quesnel has) focus on aviation related activities including flying, gliding and studies in aerospace.”

It is highly subsidized by the federal government, so families of all economic backgrounds can take part equally.

Forster said the orgaization is always evolving but what remains constant is the personal development always built into what the cadets do, no matter which uniform they wear.

“Exciting new additions to the training program are being introduced that should draw more interest in our group. There has also been a lot of recent shifts in the cadet culture focusing a great deal on acceptance and mental health alongside our traditional ethos of leadership, teamwork, and physical fitness. These new changes include completely revised dress regulations that allow members to maintain their individuality, meaning far less restrictions on hair, jewelry, piercings, etc. There has also been a lot of restructuring to accommodate all members, again focusing on acceptance and teamwork. Our squadron strives to be completely gender-neutral in every way we can. All of our cadets are equal and welcome.”

McCallum is moving away from Quesnel, said Forster, so leadership changes are underway and were well prepared for. New adults are urged to step forward to help mentor and encourage these motivated young people. One of the committees in need of help is the sponsoring committee which helps look after the group’s finances; the other main squadron committee is the training presonnel who help deliver the programs to the kids.

Under the right circumstances, there are even sometimes paid positions available.

For information on how to get your youth aged 12-19 involved in the life-skill hotbed of cadets, or to inquire about being a leader with them, email Forster at:

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Canadian Armed ForcesQuesnel