By Peter Moon
The hunting and outdoor survival skills of five Junior Canadian Rangers from Northern Ontario made an impression on Junior Rangers from across Canada at a national leadership training event in Quebec.
“Their outdoor skills impressed,” said Sergeant Steven Botelho, a Junior Ranger instructor who accompanied the five to the event. “They passed their skills along and it was nice to see them doing it.”
The five representing Ontario at the event were among 36 top Junior Rangers who completed an eight- day annual leadership course, called the National Leadership Enhanced Training Session, at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, just north of Quebec City. The Junior Rangers is a Canadian Army program for youth aged 12 to 18 living in remote and isolated communities across the Canadian North.
The five were McCartney Beardy of North Caribou Lake, Ryan Kakekaspan of Fort Severn, Thunder O’Keese of Kasabonika Lake, Summer Southwind of Lac Seul, and Madden Taylor of Constance Lake
“They all enjoyed their time and they all learned something new about leadership skills that they can take back to their communities.” Sergeant Botelho said. “They had a good time and they learned a lot.”
The training included instruction in classrooms and in the outdoors. They were kept busy for eight days.
Outdoor events included a challenging but fun zip line, shooting, canoeing, a visit to a bowling alley, a shopping mall, and one to the cultural centre at the Huron Wendat First Nation.
A highlight of the training was a two-day canoe trip on the spectacular Jacques-Cartier River in Jacques-Cartier National Park, 50 kilometers north of Quebec City. It included challenging portages, negotiating white water rapids, and working together.
“It was the best thing we did,” said McCartney Beardy, whose canoe partner was a Junior Ranger from Nunavut. “Connecting with her was great. We talked about our different backgrounds, how we hunted, and how we lived differently. We learned from each other.”
The Junior Rangers from Ontario and those from elsewhere in Canada encountered, some for the first time, living with the French language. “Yes, I wasn’t used to it,” McCartney said. “I found it fascinating to find out how different some lives were to mine.”
“The kids helped each other in communicating with Junior Rangers who ether could not speak English well or spoke no English,” Sergeant Botelho said. “It was nice to see. It was all part of their learning process.”
(Sergeant Peter Moon is a Canadian Ranger with the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)