A significant change of command ceremony took place at CFB Greenwood Friday.

Lt.-Col. Bernice McKenzie was sworn in as the new commander of the air cadet program, making it the first time in the camp’s 62-year history that a woman has had the top job.

“It's an honour, not one I take lightly,” says McKenzie. “It's also not a card I play too often. I think a strong leader is a strong leader.”

During the ceremony, the cadets performed two march pasts – one to honour the out-going commander and one to welcome the new one.

Lt.-Col. Noel Hand is passing the post and some advice on to McKenzie:

“It is so important that every child out there, every cadet out there, gets treated equally and that’s a big job that comes from the commanding officer all the way down,” says Hand.

McKenzie, a school teacher and mother of two, got her start as an air cadet on the same base she now commands.

“I started off on base here in 1987 and have been here nearly every year since. I was a shy kid and the program did wonders for me,” says McKenzie.

Leah Sheppard has moved through the ranks too. The 18-year-old was awarded the honour and responsibility as the top cadet for six weeks at camp. She says she looks up to McKenzie.

“It is nice to have a woman here as a CO, however I don't think gender matters when it comes to being a Commanding Officer or a good leader,” says Sheppard.

McKenzie will head the air cadets for three years.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl