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Junior Canadian Rangers take part in largest winter survival exercise

Tuesday February 11, 2014
Capt. Bob Munroe/Special to Wawatay News
Junior Rangers Tina Winter from Kingfisher Lake and John Anderson from Kasabonika Lake watch Lac Seul patrol Sergeant Roy Ningewance prepare a trap. Lac Seul was the host of the largest attended Junior Ranger winter exercise in Ontario from Jan. 24-27.

Lac Seul was the host of the largest attended Junior Ranger winter exercise in Ontario from Jan. 24-27.

Sixty-three Junior Rangers from five communities quickly adjusted to the unseasonably frigid conditions.

“I can not say enough about the Junior Canadian Ranger programme,” said Lac Seul Chief Clifford Bull. “This gathering provides the youth the opportunities to learn about winter survival skills but it also gives them an environment to learn about values, respect and discipline.”

The Junior Rangers spent the weekend learning about snowmobile safety and maintenance, fire starting, shelter construction, trapping, gill nets, snow shoeing and chain saw maintenance.

Ten Junior Rangers, two from each community, were selected for enhance leadership development. They were taught about public speaking, planning, team building and leadership roles.

The weekend was made possible due to the 20 Rangers, two volunteers and members of the army who mentored the Junior Rangers. Besides Lac Seul, Junior Rangers were flown in or driven from Constance Lake, Kasabonika Lake, Kingfisher Lake and Mishkeegogamang.

Temperatures averaged between -30 to -45 C with the wind chill for the entire weekend.

“The best part of the weekend was driving snowmobiles,” said Junior Ranger Ashley McKeown, 13 of the Mishkeegogamang patrol. “The cold didn’t bother me much as I dressed for it. I would definitely attend future Junior Ranger events as there were so many nice people I got to meet.”

“Seeing all the young faces eager to learn was very rewarding,” said Lac Seul patrol commander, Sergeant Roy Ningewance. “The feeling is very rewarding to be able to pass on my knowledge of the land to the Junior Rangers and see results. I liked seeing that the older experienced Junior Rangers stepping up to assist the younger ones. That is what a good role model does.”

“The support from the community of Lac Seul was amazing,” said Warrant Officer Wes Jenkins. “From Friday night to Monday afternoon, Lac Seul provided their school gym and library, in the evening the Junior Rangers skated for free at their NHL-sized arena. Each day Tim Horton’s dropped off coffee and muffins and Johnny’s Fresh Market Foods in Sioux Lookout gave us 70 pounds of hamburger so we could cook hot suppers for the Junior Rangers.”

There are nearly 450 Rangers and 700 Junior Rangers located in 23 communities in northern Ontario.

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