Tuesday August 18 2015 11 SPORTS RECREATION JUNIOR RANGERS www.rmwb.cachampions CITIZEN RECOGNITION PROGRAM 2015 Do you know an outstanding resident who deserves recognition by Mayor and Regional Council Wood Buffalo residents are invited to nominate fellow individuals or groups for their contributions to improve the community. Nominations are open until September 30 2015. Forms are available online and at your local municipal contact office. Visit www.rmwb.cachampions Junior Canadian Rangers head to Quebec for training By DALI CARMICHAEL Every year Junior Canadian Rangers JCR from across the North are invited to attend a specialized summer camp in Whitehorse and in the wintertime a lucky few of the older members are chosen to participate in lead- ership exercises in Kananaskis. That said only a select handful were chosen to attend the second annual National Leader- ship Enhanced Training Session held along the St. Lawrence River in Portneuf Que. from Aug. 2 to 8 including three members from the NWT. Derrick Vandell from Fort Providence Krischan Smith of Whati and Grace Illasiak from Aklavik joined 42 JCRs from the 1st 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th Canadian Ranger Pa- trol Groups in la belle province for a-once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with their fellow Rangers from across the nation. Over the course of the week the youth underwent an ambitious training program including both in-class and on-the-land ses- sions meant to challenge the youth physically and mentally. The group participated in a series of team- building and leadership-testing exercises like hikes through the bush small party missions and four-day camping trip all the while learning how to follow task procedures and efciently allocate human and material resources. Organizers strived to mold the young minds to create a force of people who could return to their home communities as mentors for other youth. Representing the North Smith 17 has been a JCR for ve years. In his hometown of Whati his mother heads up the local JCR unit. Its been a lot of fun here Smith said breathlessly explaining he had just returned from the camping trip. Weve been canoe- ing we did rock climbing up a mountain and we also rappelled off of it. Through this our teachers tell us how to be better leaders and instructors. Before attending the recent training Smith already had an extensive background with the JCRs. In addition to helping his mom run the show hes also attended both the Yukon and Alberta training camps twice. A few years ago Smith moved to Yellow- knife to access a wider array of academic resources than were available in Whati. Ul- timately he said he views the extensive JCR training as another part of his education. Eventually he hopes to use his Ranger skills in a professional setting. Im planning to join the military after I nish high school Smith said. Im just try- ing to follow my dream. Ive wanted to join the military since I was a kid. Illasiak 15 doesnt have her sights set as far down the road as Smith but the three- year JCR veteran does believe the training will help her in her existing leadership roles at home in Aklavik. We do a lot of stuff with the JCRs back home like on-the-land trips and I do work withkidsintheafterschoolprogramshesaid. Ive gained new leadership skills here I can show the JCRs back home what I learned so if they do get picked to go to the same train- ing theyll know what theyre going to do. Im just trying to follow my dream. Ive wanted to join themilitarysinceIwasakid. Krischan Smith Junior Canadian Rangers PhotocourtesyofJuniorCanadianRangers Hay Riverites free to be at local Pride festival By MEAGAN WOHLBERG As adults to be able to go out in your own community and be accepted for who you are is the best thing ever. Thats the positive feeling that motivates Storm Larocque to organize the annual Pride festival every year in her home community of Hay River - an event that has grown over the last six years from cake served by the local union to a full-blown day of activity for kids and adults alike. This year families gathered at the library on Saturday afternoon for face painting cup- cakes and to share resources before adults gathered at the pub for an open mic musical event featuring Northern musicians and for the rst time burlesque. Larocque said the expanding community support for the event shows how much Hay River is growing in terms of its acceptance and acknowledgement of LGBTQ people in the small NWT community. The town has grown so much. The schools are vocally supportive. Theres zero toler- ance against homophobia now and instead of a teacher coming in to explain the stu- dents themselves arent accepting it she said. When I was in high school you still heard homophobic language all the time. A lot of kids are out now compared to when I was younger. Larocques own experiences growing up queer in Hay River are part of what told her she needed to do more to bring Pride to the community. The reason I started doing this was that my experience as a youth in Hay River was different from my friends she said. Grow- ing up queer they didnt know how to interact with me. It wasnt just a part of my identity it was like it was all they knew. I know they were trying to be supportive but it didnt translate well. I also didnt have any role models to look up to. All grown up she believes she should now be the adult she needed as a kid. And it isnt just youth in Hay River who are responding positively. I had a couple parents come up to me and mention how exciting it is that something like this is happening because their children had come out to them and they were unsure how to be supportive Larocque said. So its a great way to start the discussion. Beyond the celebration Larocque said there is still a lot of work to be done in the NWT to support the LGBTQ population especially youth and hopes bringing queer issues to the forefront with events like Pride will build a collective demand for such changes. What Id like to see is enabling the ease of those resources in our community like safe spaces GSAs gay-straight alliances queer focused mental physical and sexual health courses for educators and those who work with youth on queer specic issues she said. Theres a difference between queer and straightcisyouthespeciallytransyouthgoing through the health system. So access might become easier if more people push for that. ARTS CULTURE PRIDE FESTIVAL Derrick Vandell of Fort Providence left Grace Illasiak of Aklavik and Krischan Smith of Whati represent the NWT in Quebec at a national training camp for Junior Canadian Rangers.