Junior Canadian Rangers Set for Camp Loon 2014
GERALDTON – ANISHINABEK – Camp Loon 2014 is going to be the “best yet,” according to Captain Caryl Fletcher, the army officer commanding the Junior Canadian Rangers of Northern Ontario.
The camp is held in the bush on Springwater Lake, 50 kilometres north of Geraldton, and provides eight days of advanced training for about 160 Junior Rangers from 20 First Nation communities from across the Far North of Ontario. The program stresses safety on the land and water and in personal lifestyles and has been held annually since 2000.
The camp’s opening ceremony is on Saturday, July 12 and it closes on Sunday, July 20.
“There are two things that we strive to do at the camp,” Captain Fletcher said. “The first is to have fun and the second is to ensure that everything the Junior Rangers do is done safely.”
The Junior Rangers are a national youth program run by the Canadian Armed Forces for boys and girls aged 12 to 18 in Canada’s remote and isolated regions. There are 750 Junior Rangers in Northern Ontario.
Training Opportunities for Youth
Camp Loon provides a range of training activities that are not normally available to Junior Rangers in their home communities. They include specialized instruction in shooting (both rifle and paintball), boating (power boats and canoes), driving all-terrain vehicles, learning how to swim-to-survive, mountain biking, archery, lacrosse, and traditional arts and crafts.
Twenty of the older Junior Rangers receive an additional five days training prior to the opening of the camp. They help to erect the tents and work as assistant instructors. Their training and work, for which they are paid, helps to develop their leadership skills.
Much of the teaching and supervision at the camp is done by 50 Canadian Rangers, supported by another 50 military personnel from the headquarters of 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at CFB Borden, near Barrie, and other military units.
A highlight of the program is a confidence-building zip line that launches from a 10-metre tower and takes Junior Rangers for 130 metres over a river.
“There’s a lot of training during the camp and they learn a lot but they also have a lot of fun,” Captain Fletcher said. “They love the zip line and the paintball. Camp Loon this year is going to be the best yet.”
Food at the camp is provided by a military field kitchen. “There will be five professional military cooks who will go out of their way to give the Junior Rangers a variety of tasty and healthy food,” Captain Fletcher said. “The food is always one of the most popular things at the camp every year.”
Charter flights provide transportation to and from the camp for both Junior Rangers and Canadian Rangers.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.)