Kristin Locke of Buchans is a Master Corporal with Junior Canadian Ranger (JCR) Buchans Patrol. She just returned from a very interesting trip to Kananaskis, Alberta where she participated with two JCRs from Labrador and another 84 JCRs from different areas in Canada in an Enhanced Training Session. The JCRs and 16 leaders spent six days at the Tim Horton’s Camp, teaching, learning, and having fun too.
The Kananaskis camp is about an hours drive from Calgary and after a night’s sleep, the youth and leaders were divided into three platoons for the different activities – each taking turns at those activities. There was snowshoeing, rock climbing, building a komatic (sled), kick sledding, soccer with a yoga ball, and presenting slide shows of their snow shoe trip. Other activities included “Small Ropes” challenging participants to get from one side of a path of swinging tires to another without falling or touching the ground. Another activity challenged them to walk across a cable wire while trying to keep balance holding a rope in front of them. The “Spider Web” game was a team game where team mates passed each other through the web without touching any part of the web – participants had to keep in mind that they had to trust peers to help them get through the web.
Because of previous camps in Goose Bay and the Lion Max Simms Camp, Locke and the two girls from Labrador, Ocean Lane and Cassandra Pye, already knew each other. This made for a more comfortable trip for Locke, knowing these two and her chaperone Corporal Lori Rowsell who also attended.
“This was my very first time being off Newfoundland actually, except for Labrador,” Locke said, “I wouldn’t really say I was nervous – more excited. The excitement took over the nerves most definitely.”
“The best part of the trip from a teenager’s perspective was being able to go to a totally different place and meeting up with people from different places in Canada, seeing different cultures come together and cooperate – then having to leave and know that you are still going to be in touch with all these people and keep them as friends – was such a great experience,” she said.
Locke said everyone she was from different cultures, and had different beliefs. “One person I met there – her name was Kyla. She made me realize a lot of things and she taught me to drum dance which was very interesting to learn and participate in even though I wasn’t very good at it,” she said. “It’s all about having fun and enjoying yourself and meeting new people, which is exactly what I did.”
One evening the komatic that had been made was presented to the Tim Horton’s ranch and certificates were passed out to everyone. Drum dance and throat singing were performed, and a few of the Inuit JCRs showed some of their games. The staff at the camp played guitars and sang.
“As a JCR, I would have to say that the best part of the trip was learning life skills, how to help yourself and others in different, maybe life-threatening situations,” she said.
The JCRs were taught ice and water rescue and first aid. Locke was able to improve on the first aid skills she already had and she said that the ice rescue was the most interesting activity for her.
“It was a hands-on activity,” she said, “We actually had to jump into the water and rescue yourself as well as your friends. We had dry suits on and wet suits of course, but still jumping into the water and trying to get yourself out was a bit of a task. I can only imagine actually falling through ice in your normal clothes.”
A couple of the out trips included going to Banff and having a ride on the gondola which climbs a height of 698 metres to an elevation of 2,281 metres in 8 to 10 minutes, a visit to the hot springs and on the last evening everyone got the opportunity to attend an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Philadelphia Flyers (Philly won in a shoot-out 5-4).
With everything funded by the Canadian Rangers, all Locke needed was some spending money when the group took one of its side trips to shop.
“This trip was a great life experience for each of us,” said Cpl. Lori Rowsell, “and will not be forgotten any time soon. On behalf of me, Kristin, Ocean and Cassandra, I would like to thank 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (CPRG) for the invitation to come and participate in this enhanced training session. Also a big thank you to 1, 2, 3, 4 CRPGs and the Tim Horton’s staff at the camp for making us feel like friends even before we met. Finally, a great big thank you to our own 5 CRPG for letting us take part in this successful and memorable experience.”