225 junior rangers complete 'enhanced' training in Whitehorse

Junior Canadian Rangers from 35 communities across the North wrapped up a week of training in Whitehorse Saturday.

'They are going home with pride:' Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett

More than 200 Junior Canadian Rangers from 36 different communities across the North completed training in Whitehorse Saturday. (Mardy Derby/CBC)

More than 200 Junior Canadian Rangers from 35 communities across the North graduated from a week of enhanced ranger training in Whitehorse.  

The rangers, aged 12 to 15, had the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities — everything from white-water rafting, to rock climbing, to trapping and horseback riding.

The 225 junior rangers of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group were chosen from their home communities to attend the annual event. They came from five different communities in Yukon, 11 in the Northwest Territories, and 19 in Nunavut.

Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett, centre, who's Chief Reserves and Cadets in Canada and who presided over Saturday's closing ceremony, says there's a national initiative to expand cadet and ranger programs for young Canadians. (Mardy Derby/CBC)
Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett, Chief Reserves and Cadets in Canada, led the closing ceremony on Saturday.

"I think one of the things that I learned today was that for a lot of them, they challenged themselves." she said.

The idea behind the "Enhanced Summer Training" course is for the rangers to experience seven full days of diverse training and challenging activities in a fun, outdoor environment. 

Bennett says the rangers will remember the lessons learned this past week for the rest of their lives. 

"They were quite nervous about being here, but now they are going home with pride. They were able to do things they didn't think were possible. That will carry them for a long time and I think influence their lives into the future."

The Junior Canadian Ranger program is meant to help strengthen remote communities in the North by helping youth embrace their culture and traditional lifestyle alongside the Canadian Ranger program, which promotes sovereignty in the High Arctic. 

There are 1,600 Junior Canadian Rangers and 1,750 Canadian Rangers in the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which includes people from all three territories as well as Atlin, B.C.