Northern Junior Rangers wrap up week in Whitehorse
Youth from 36 communties learn skills used by Canadian Rangers to patrol the North
Throat singing, drum dancing and Arctic traditions mixed with military culture this week, as more than 300 Junior Canadian Rangers gathered in Yukon.
The youth came from 36 communities across Yukon, N.W.T. and Nunavut.
"They learn lots of life skills that can help them save people in the future. They learn survival so it's a good program for the youth of the North," says Kevin Kullualik, a platoon commander who travelled with Iqaluit youth.
The Junior Rangers took part in white-water rafting, trapping workshops, a mini-Olympics and shooting competitions.
While the games are competitive, the week didn't pit communities against each other. When the youth arrived in Whitehorse they were mixed into different platoons which were given animal names such as muskox, wolves, caribou, ravens and more.
The mixing is a way to encourage friendships across different communities.
A new generation of rangers
As young people watched on June 23, a Canadian Ranger was honoured for longstanding service.
Master Cpl. Richard Newell of the Carcross, Yukon, patrol was commended for 52 years of service in the armed forces. Twenty-nine of those years have been as a Canadian Ranger.
Newell said he enjoyed seeing all the Junior Rangers, many of whom are excited to become Canadian Rangers.
"This camp is wonderful, and these kids are going to benefit in their growing up," says Newell.
Josie Stoney of Iqaluit agrees. He's been a Junior Ranger for five years and says he's learned leadership, wildlife and survival skills.
"One day, for sure I will be a Canadian Ranger," he said.