Junior Canadian Rangers participate in Basic Enhanced Training Session

Canadian Ranger Master Corporal Daniel Maldonado, 19, from Fort St. John, B.C., instructs Junior Canadian Rangers from 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group’s JCR company on leadership skills July 2 in Albert Head. Photo by Second Lieutenant Christopher King, 4 CRPG Public Affairs

Canadian Ranger Master Corporal Daniel Maldonado, 19, from Fort St. John, B.C., instructs Junior Canadian Rangers from 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group’s JCR company on leadership skills July 2 in Albert Head. Photo by Second Lieutenant Christopher King, 4 CRPG Public Affairs

Dozens of youth travelled by land and air to Vancouver Island July 3 from across western Canada to be a part of something that will leave a lasting and positive impact in their lives.

Junior Canadian Rangers (JCRs), aged 12 to 18, belonging to the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (4 CRPG) arrived at Albert Head for the 2019 Basic Enhanced Training Session (BETS).

The enhanced training session mandate is derived from the Canadian Armed Forces responsibilities for diligent development and optimizing partnerships with communities. One of the goals is to bring together diverse populations and create common experiences and bonds, something which Michael Nichols, volunteer and retired Canadian Ranger, believes the JCR program does very well.

“I think the JCR program does an awful lot bringing young Canadians together and uniting them,” Nichols said. “It brings JCRs from different town sizes, different cultures, and different languages, and we’ll put them together in a section. Very quickly they’ll learn what they share in common.”

Over 90 JCRs are attending BETS this year between July 3 to 11. The exercise is run by the 4 CRPG JCR Company, which includes JCRs from their local patrols in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Leigh Auld is a JCR corporal from Ucluelet, B.C., and is working as a mentor for BETS. Auld has been in the program for five years, and this is her first year as a mentor. She said the mentor’s role is to provide support to the JCRs and help motivate and lead them.

“For a lot of us it’s our first time out of our small communities. It’s a huge experience to see new faces and new sights,” JCR Auld said. “I remember from five years ago the camps I went on and they were some of the best experiences of my life.”

For those JCRs leaving their communities for the first time, the whole experience can be overwhelming, but according to Nichols, the BETS staff have a plan.

“We try to encourage them to find their comfort zone, and then go a little beyond it.” Nichols said. “The whole point is to give them experiences doing a number of outdoor activities, all designed to increase self-confidence.”

The 2019 BETS will also take place at Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre west of Campbell River, B.C., where a trained guide will work with JCR staff, CRs, volunteers, and mentors.

Maj Scott Macdonald, Officer Commanding JCR Company, 4 CRPG, said the activities include canoeing, camping, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, and a high ropes course.

“Basic ETS is a terrifically fun adventure for all of us who are fortunate enough to participate,” Maj. Macdonald said. “The best part for me is seeing the happiness of new friendships being made, new confidence gained, and new skills learned.”

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