THUNDER BAY – Four Junior Canadian Rangers from Northern Ontario have received prestigious national youth medals for their work with the Junior Rangers and as volunteers in their communities.
They are Beth Baxter, 19, of Moose Factory, Jack Linklater Jr., 19, of Attawapiskat, Elaina Matthews, 19, of Kitchenuhmaykoosib, and Amber Lawson of Pickle Lake, who is a member of the Mishkeegogamang First Nation Junior Ranger patrol.
“They earned their medals based on their leadership in the Junior Canadian Rangers and in their communities,” said Captain John Mc Neil, the Canadian Army officer commanding the 750 Junior Rangers in 20 First Nations across the Far North of Ontario. “They richly deserve them.”
Junior Ranger Baxter received two medals, the Lord Strathcona Medal and the Order of St. George. The Lord Strathcona Medal is the highest award that can be bestowed on a cadet or Junior Ranger in recognition of exemplary performance in a range of leadership roles. She also received the Order of St. George, which also recognizes excellence in youth leadership. Junior Rangers Mathews and Lawson received the Lord Strathcona Medal.
“Beth Baxter is very articulate and outspoken in her community of Moose Factory, especially with regard to the rights of youth and females in general, and she’s done a lot of work to promote the Junior Ranger program in her community,” Captain McNeil said.
“Jack Linklater received the Order of St. George because he has done a lot to promote a number of causes in Attawapiskat. He’s helped with addictions. He’s done walks for causes, such as fighting suicide, and not only that but he saved the lives of two of his young cousins in a house fire. He has already been awarded the Lord Strathcona Medal for his outstanding work as a Junior Ranger.”
The other two Junior Rangers won their medals, in part, for overcoming a lack of self confidence and “coming out of their shell” to assume leadership roles within the Junior Rangers and their communities, Captain McNeil said. “Elaina Matthews of Kitchenuhmaykoosib received her medal because she was recently named the top Junior Ranger in Ontario and she’s really stepped up and shown that she is a leader within her community.
“Amber Lawson has also come out of her shell and developed into a leader. At Camp Loon for example, our annual Junior Ranger camp this summer, she did extraordinary things to help kids by talking them through problems.”
The medals were presented to them during a national Junior Ranger leadership course they are attending with 34 other top Junior Ranger leaders from across Canada. During the two-week course they will visit Canadian Forces Base Borden, Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at CFB Borden.)