Training helps Junior Rangers boost skills

North Vancouver Island youth took part in the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group’s Enhanced Training Session (ETS) Aug. 18 in Vernon.

Canoeing, paddle-boarding and rock climbing were just a few of the activities featured as more than a dozen North Vancouver Island youth took part in the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group’s Enhanced Training Session (ETS) Aug. 18 in Vernon.

In addition to the fun, physical activities, which included whitewater rafting and helicopter rescue training for more advanced Junior Rangers, the ETS also featured first-aid training and a “pay it forward” day devoted to community service.

“To me, the basic level training is designed for kids to get together, develop new relationships and enhance their skills beyond what they would do in their home patrols,” said Kevin McGhee of Port Hardy, who attended the training as a patrol leader. “For the advanced training, it goes beyond that to developing leadership skills.”

The annual ETS brings together Junior Canadian Rangers from 28 patrols across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Upon arrival, junior rangers are separated from the hometown compatriots and placed in groups of mixed members from the many participating patrols.

The groups then rotate through a series of activities designed to challenge the members physically while teaching them to work cooperatively.

“I think it’s a very physical-oriented youth program, a very active outdoor program,” said Chuck Lok of Port McNeill, who served on the ETS adult committee. “It’s strongly supported by our friends at (the ministries of) National Defence and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and it’s a great benefit to all who take part.”

Adam Gough was Port Hardy’s representative in the advanced ETS. Port Hardy’s basic ETS trainees were Patrick Miller, Jamie Flanagan, Jaylon Grenier, Jodie Korhonen, Rory Korhonen, Sarah Case and Brandon Sparling. Buddy Miller attended as a mentor, and McGhee’s wife, Marnie, served as a phase facilitator.

“They loved it,” McGhee said of the troopers from his patrol. “We were originally given one spot for an advanced trainee and five for basic (ETS), but we got a couple extra spots due to cancellations. It was nice another couple of kids got to go that wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Alert Bay sent six Junior Rangers for ETS — Damian Hallsworth, Lexi Chapman, Evan Gordon-Valan, Paul Voyageur, Spencer Stauffer and Cynthia Jones-Laughington — and Chelsea Colcol as a member of the ETS adult committee.

Port McNeill’s delegation included troopers Rebecca Cyr, Courtenay Guindon, Matthew Harder, Sarah Hoskin, Anthony Shepley and Joel Waines, along with mentors Meara Trevor and Josiah Waines.