By Peter Moon
The hunting and outdoor survival skills of five Junior Canadian Rangers from Northern Ontario impressed 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 on their skills and it was nice to see them do it.”
The five representatives from Ontario at the event were among the top 36 Junior Rangers who attended an annual eight-day leadership course, called the National Enhanced Leadership Training Session, at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, just north of Quebec. The Junior Rangers are a Canadian Army program for young people aged 12 to 18 living in remote and isolated communities in Canada’s 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.” said Sergeant Botelho. “They had a great time and they learned a lot.”
The training included both in-class and off-campus classes. They were occupied for eight days.
Outdoor events included a challenging yet fun zipline, shooting, canoeing, a visit to a bowling alley, shopping mall, and a visit to the Huron-Wendat First Nation Cultural Center.
One of the highlights 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. This included challenging portages, negotiating whitewater rapids, and working together.
“It was the best thing we’ve done,” said McCartney Beardy, whose paddling partner was a Junior Ranger from Nunavut. “The connection with her was great. We talked about our different backgrounds, how we hunted and how we lived differently. We learned from each other.
Junior Rangers from Ontario and those from elsewhere in Canada encountered, some for the first time, life with the French language. “Yeah, I wasn’t used to it,” McCartney said. “I found it fascinating to discover how different some lives were from mine.”
“The children helped each other to communicate with the Junior Rangers who did not speak English well or did not speak English,” Sergeant Botelho said. “It was beautiful 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.)