Change of command ceremony honours leader

By TARA MUNN & DIANE ZUNDEL, 868 YMM Rotary Northstar RCACS

Captain Erica Angel receives a self-portrait by local artist Russell Thomas, as a gift from the 868 YMM Rotary Northstar Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron. The command role has been passed on to Lieutenant Marilyn Donaldson. PHOTO: Joanne Leith, Connect Weekly.

Captain Erica Angel receives a self-portrait by local artist Russell Thomas, as a gift from the 868 YMM Rotary Northstar Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron. The command role has been passed on to Lieutenant Marilyn Donaldson. PHOTO: Joanne Leith, Connect Weekly.

On September 15, 2015, the 868 YMM Rotary Northstar Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron experienced a major change as Captain Erica Angel – a leader in the Squadron for the past twelve years and Commanding Officer for the last five and a half years, stepped down from her command role and passed the squadron’s leadership on to Lieutenant Marilyn Donaldson.

The event was marked by a change of command ceremony at the 868 Squadron Headquarters downtown, with guests in attendance representing the Air Cadet League of Canada, the Fort McMurray 2803 Army Cadet Corps, Fort McMurray Rotary Club, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Emergency Services, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among others.

The Squadron was inspected by Reviewing Officer Lieutenant Colonel Michele Claveau, Commanding Officer of the Regional Cadet Support Unit (RCSU) Northwest.

Captain Angel began working with the Air Cadets when she first moved to Fort McMurray in 2003. Fresh out of University and moving to a new community, she felt this was an excellent way to get involved with Fort McMurray immediately.

As a former Sea Cadet, she was familiar with the Cadet program and had already put in some volunteer time as a Civilian Instructor with her home unit in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador. She enrolled as an Officer in November of 2004 and progressed through the ranks to reach her current rank of Captain.

She has held the position of Commanding Officer since the spring of 2010. Normally, the role of CO is only held for three years, but Captain Angel served the Squadron for over five years.

During regular training on Tuesday and Thursday nights, Captain Angel tirelessly mentored, coached and helped train the future leaders in our community. These youth learn how to plan and execute training exercises (this can involve a full weekend of activity), supervise younger cadets, develop their inter-personal skills, and in short become accomplished leaders by the age of 18.

Citizenship is a huge component of the Air Cadet program and Captain Angel has always looked for ways to have the cadets participate in community events. They have volunteered for the Keyano Gala, the Portraits of Honor, the RCMP Gala, Community Clean-Up, Remembrance Day activities, and the Volunteer Wood Buffalo Timeshare Event.

As Commanding Officer, Captain Angel also coordinated the squadron’s civilian instructors, staff officers, senior cadets and volunteers, successfully leading and motivating these individuals to work as a team.
She also works closely with the parents via the Squadron Sponsoring Committee to determine the training budget, cooperate in fundraising efforts, and organize the Annual Ceremonial Review.

Captain Angel has made herself very available to parents and cadets, willing to offer support and guidance when asked for advice. She has contributed immensely to the positive attitude displayed on parade nights, and to the community of Fort McMurray. 868 YMM Rotary Northstar Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron thanks Captain Erica Angel for her years of service to the squadron and community, and we wish her continued success as she relocates to Calgary.

– Connect Weekly –