By Ranger MCpl Chris Vernon
The Third Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3CRPG) recently expanded its successful Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) youth program to include the northern Ontario First Nation communities of Aroland and Long Lake 58.
Similar to the national cadet program, the JCR program is open to youth between the ages of 12 to 18 who live in remote isolated locations, and is managed and facilitated by army personnel, local Canadian Ranger patrols and community volunteers.
Following the successful launches last week, there are 10 JCR recruits signed up in Long Lake 58 and 27 JCR recruits in Aroland First Nation.
Major Gary Johnson, Officer Commanding of the JCRs, said the JCR program plays a crucial role in promoting health and wellness within their host First Nation communities.
“The importance of bringing these Junior Canadian Ranger programs to these communities cannot be understated in the development and fulfillment of youth in their communities,” said Major Johnson.
Funded by the army, there is no cost to join the JCR program or for training, and participants also receive a uniform free-of-charge.
“The Junior Canadian Rangers will be training on The Three Circles, life skills, traditional skills and Ranger skills. These will be taught to them by the Canadian Rangers supporting the JCR patrols,” said Captain Courtney Giles.
The Three Circles components taught to JCR members include:
- Map and compass navigation;
- Hunting and fishing skills;
- Conflict resolution;
- Wilderness survival; and
- Arts and crafts.
Aroland First Nation Chief Dorothy Towedo said the community and council believes the JCR program will provide much-needed opportunities for young people in the community.
“It’s a great thing for the community. I am delighted with the turnout. We have wanted this for a long time. We are happy for the youth,” said Chief Towedo.
Although suspended for the last two years due to COVID-19, the training year culminates with Camp Loon, a 12-day summer camp held at Springwater Lake north of Geraldton.
The camp offers a range of activities, including instruction on air rifles, boating, ATV riding, and traditional arts and crafts.
“I joined because I want to join the army. I think (the JCRs) are awesome for the community,” said Aroland recruit Makenna Mendowegan after receiving her new JCR uniform.
3CRPG and the JCR program are based at CFB Borden near Barrie and is staff by military personal and army instructors who travel regularly to northern Ontario to train Rangers.
The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Primary Army Reserve who live and serve in remote. Isolated and coastal areas of Canada.