By Peter Moon
An 18-year-old Junior Canadian Ranger from Fort Severn is one of five Junior Rangers from across the Canadian North who has won a Canada Company bursary to assist in their education.
Ian Kakekaspan received a plaque and a cheque for $1,000 at a ceremony at Lac Seul First Nation. He is a grade 12 student at Sioux North High School in nearby Sioux Lookout. He is attending school in Sioux Lookout because Fort Severn, a small Cree First Nation on Hudson Bay and Ontario’s most northerly community, has no high school.
He plans to use the money to help him achieve his ambition to become a commercial pilot after graduating.
The Junior Canadian Rangers is a Canadian Army youth program for boys and girls aged 12 to 18 in remote and isolated communities across the Canadian North.
The plaque and cheque were presented to Ian by Kerry Vance, a director of Canada Company, a charity that provides a range of supports for the military. Ms. Vance’s husband is General Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff.
‘Ian really deserves this honour,” said Warrant Officer Mark Kendall, a Canadian Ranger instructor. “He’s been in the program since he was 12 and he’s stayed with it since coming to Sioux Lookout to complete high school. He’s been a leader in Fort Severn amongst the youth there. He’s been instrumental in setting up the high school program for the Junior Rangers in Sioux Lookout. It’s a challenge for kids when they come down from the north to attend high school. He’s been incredible at keeping kids out of trouble.”
Ian captained the Junior Ranger team representing Ontario at the National Junior Ranger Marksmanship contest in Quebec City in the fall.
He was a staff Junior Ranger, or assistant instructor, at last summer’s Camp Loon, an annual camp that develops leadership skills for Junior Canadian Rangers from across the Far North of Ontario.
“He led in mentorship, teamwork, and leadership,” said Captain Jason Dech, the Canadian Army officer who leads the Junior Ranger program in Northern Ontario. “He was always the first to volunteer to help out with extra tasks. His ability to lead by example set a high standard for other Junior Rangers to meet.”
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)