Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) from across the North spent a week under marching orders while attending the advanced Enhanced Training Session (ETS) hosted by the First Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (1 CRPG) from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27.
Over 80 youth from northern Alberta and the NWT stayed at the Tim Horton Children’s Ranch in Kananaskis, Alta. where they learned traditional, Ranger and everyday life skills. About 20 of those youth traveled in from Aklavik, Fort Good Hope, Fort Providence, Fort Resolution, Sachs Harbour and Whati to take advantage of the session.
Some of the top priority items covered at the winter camp included courses on ice rescues, small party tasking and responsible leadership.
“The JCRs were exposed to opportunities that are not normally available in isolated or remote communities.” said Major Craig Volstad, commanding officer, 1 CRPG.
For one day, the military students were also able to participate in a fun cultural day in Banff.
“The youth learn valuable skills that will last a lifetime,” said Cpt. Sharon Low, JCR Officer. “We challenged them with different experiences, enhanced their Ranger and life skills, while respecting and incorporating their individual cultural and traditional skills.”
For some Jr. Rangers, like Krischan Smith, 16, this was their second round of advanced training, having attended a similar, intensive summer session.
“My favourite activity was hiking because I was able to go out and enjoy nature,” Smith said. With warm temperatures all week, the youth were happy to complete their drills in the snow.
“I enjoyed the people there and I was able to learn a lot,” he said.
Smith, who hails from Whati, comes from a family of Rangers. His mother, a Canadian Ranger, leads both himself and his sister in their community group. Someday, he hopes to follow in his mom’s footsteps.
“I was 12 when I started. I joined it so that I could learn new skills and meet people,” he said. “I want to join the Canadian Rangers too some day.”