Summer Camp on Vancouver Island

Article / September 7, 2016 / Project number: w-ar-16-summer-camp-vancouver

By Canadian Ranger Jane Wilson, Port McNeill Patrol, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) biked, hiked, searched, and gained leadership skills at the Advanced Enhanced Training Session (ETS) run in Comox, B.C, between July 29th and August 7th.

This is the second year the camp has been run in Comox, and it followed immediately after the Basic ETS held in July for 95 JCRs. “At the basic level we are providing them with new experiences, having fun, and trying to keep them from feeling homesick,” said Captain Scott Macdonald, Officer Commanding of 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group’s  JCR Company.  “On the Advanced the real focus is on an introduction to leadership and improving confidence in their own abilities to be leaders and to get things done. They walk away with the building blocks to better support their patrols.”

As JCR patrols are based in the same remote, coastal and northern communities where Canadian Ranger patrols are based, the young members are often not able to access the kind of opportunities available to young people in more urban environments, or to meet and socialize with other young people from different communities and backgrounds.

“The ETS about expanding experiential horizons (for the JCRs),” said Capt. Macdonald. “We offer them experiences and training that they generally do not get back in their communities.”  The training in the camps also compliments the community JCR programs the youth attend, he said. “The community program is the number one focus of the JCR program nationally and is the reason the why we offer summer camps. We can bring lots of people together in one place and we can do some great training.” For Capt. Macdonald and his team, their hope is that the JCRs will go back to their communities with new skills and experiences to continue working and serving in their communities.

The 38 JCRs attending the Advanced ETS took classes in ground search and rescue, leadership, radio procedure, tying knots, drill, bush craft, snaring, first aid, air rifle marksmanship, and chainsaw safety and maintenance. The youth also had opportunities to ride mountain bikes, swim and visit the Horne Lake Caves, the Parksville Sand Sculpting Competition, take in a movie, and toured Beaver Meadows organic farm.

“I was hoping that the kids would have a new appreciation for where their food comes from, and I thought the best way to do that was to learn about organic farming at its most pure basic sense,” said Capt. Macdonald. The JCRs learned about organic farming and tasted the farm’s award winning cheeses.

The extensive training would not have been possible without the support of the Canadian Rangers. “I’d like to give a shout out to the Canadian Rangers,” said Capt. Macdonald, “they are an invaluable support in the community, and they are the leadership of the JCR patrols. We need supervisors, leaders, and workers to support the youth when they come to ETS.  We couldn’t do it without them.”

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