A Year of Challenge

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by Peter S. Milsom,  President, Kemptville Navy League

In our past nine articles, we strived to introduce the Navy League of Canada Cadet Programs in Kemptville to our Community. Cadet parents and relatives are well aware of their value, and of the benefits, they contribute to the cadets in individual development and growth, both personally and as citizens. In our articles, the cadets have told you in their own words just how rewarding an experience the Program has been for them.

For cadets and all of us alike, this COVID year has been hard on everyone, and for those of us with families grown and living away, we miss our close, hug-rich family time, especially those of us blessed with amazing and delightful Grandchildren. FaceTime helps, but doesn’t really cut it! After all, it is a hug-deficient environment! Sitting down in this Season to write Christmas cards brings forcibly home how this strange and challenging Pandemic year has caused us to become sadly out of touch with family and close friends.

The year has also dislocated our accustomed comfort zones. It is requiring us to work at home, or certainly to work very differently, or school our children at home, take virtual lectures, and live with all circumstances of our daily lives ruled by unrelenting directives about masks, gloves, social distancing protocols, answering surveys, or giving names and phone numbers wherever we go. And then we have the misfortune of being confronted with alarming daily reports in the media about spiralling levels of infection, and where the heck is the promised antidote anyway? The constant barrage of negative vibes is enough to drive one into HUMBUG mode, just before our Season of Joy!

But, thinking about it, life here in North Grenville has been very good to most of us – the family is all well, are succeeding wonderfully with their lives in spite of CoVID, and we have, so far, mostly remained untouched by the virus. Our Cadets in our Kemptville corps – RCSCC DEFIANT for girls and boys aged 12–18, and NLCC ASSINIBOINE for the boys and girls aged 9-12, – have shown themselves to be remarkably resilient, flexible, and adaptive. Though not able to meet safely in person, of the 60 Branches in Ontario, our cadets are way up there in the percentage of active participation by cadets in virtual training. Thanks to the innovative and creative programs created by their excellent officers, they are continuing to make real progress with their training and development goals. In all, a hugely positive performance certain to blow away the HUMBUG impulses!

And we live in an amazing town – a town full of the nicest people! We meet them every day! Great stores, restaurants, medical and dental services, a superb hospital, community-sensitive and top-line food stores, excellent fire and police services, many new stores and services, and more coming. The incomparable Ferguson Forest complex, with miles of sculpted forest trails, bike paths, a superb dog park, veteran’s memorial drive, and wide-open spaces away down to the river, all in range by foot from many of our homes, has been a wonderful gift in a time when getting out to exercise and staying out of crowds has been both physically and mentally beneficial.

As the Navy League is a truly effective educational youth charity, offering services to children without cost to parents, and based 100% on contributions and the effort of dedicated volunteers, perhaps our readers will spare our cadets and their best interests some careful thought during the Christmas holiday period.

In January, many Executive positions will be turning over – we are looking for a new Treasurer (on-line QuickBooks), a new Secretary, a Vice-President Navy League Cadets, a new Fundraising Team Chair, and Team Members, and several other portfolio Directors. Nothing arduous, a 1.5 hour meeting one Saturday morning each month, and a wonderful opportunity for an ex-military, a retired person, or a person who likes working in support of children, to give back to the community, doing something truly meaningful. I would be happy to talk to those with talents and/or experience who are interested in giving back or paying ahead. It’s all about these wonderful cadets!

In the meantime, very best wishes to all from our Navy League family for a safe and healthy, HUMBUG-free Christmas with “in-bubble” family members, and for a rapid emergence into a pandemic-free and rewardingly successful 2021!

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