By Peter Moon
THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Police have been awarded two Canadian Army commendations for their work with Junior Canadian Rangers. Nine members of the police service spent up to two weeks running archery and paintball programs at Camp Loon, an annual advanced training camp for Junior Rangers in July.
The commendations were presented to Police Chief Sylvie Hauth by Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski , commander of the army’s 4th Canadian Division. One commendation was from him as the commander of the largest military formation within the Canadian Armed Forces and the second was from Brigadier-General David Cochrane, commander of the National Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers Support Group at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa.
Both cited the “exemplary support” provided by the police officers at the camp, which provides advanced training for selected Junior Rangers from across Northern Ontario.
The officers continue to work with Junior Rangers who are attending Dennis Cromarty Franklin High School, an Indigenous school in Thunder Bay, as well as Junior Rangers attending the city’s other high schools. They are currently providing the Junior Rangers with a weekly indoor archery program.
The commendations were presented in the gymnasium at Dennis Cromarty Franklin High School.
“I am extremely pleased with what happened here tonight,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Shane McArthur, commanding officer of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. “It is another example of the success story of a program that we are conducting that is paying dividends for these youth.”
The Thunder Bay Police have had a strained relationship with the city’s large Indigenous population and is working to improve it. The work done by the police at Camp Loon and the weekly archery classes with the Junior Rangers attending high schools in the city are examples of their efforts to improve the relationship.
The ceremony was attended by Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 First Nations in Northern Ontario. He said he was impressed by the commendations. He said the work the police are doing with the Junior Rangers is an example of bridge-building.
“it is a relationship we need to work on,” he said, “especially with the Indigenous youth of our cities. There has to be a relationship that is built on respect, that’s based on trust, and I think this is the beginning of that. I think the police recognize that it’s important for them to work with youth in very positive learning environments like Camp Loon and the Junior Canadian Ranger program.”
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)