4th Canadian Division commander visits Junior Ranger camp
By Peter Moon
Brigadier-General Jocelyn Paul, Commander of the Canadian Army’s 4th Division, met with 140 Junior Canadian Rangers during a July visit to Camp Loon, an annual camp that provides Junior Rangers with a week of advanced training north of Geraldton, Ontario.
The highest ranking Indigenous officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, BGen Paul says the Junior Canadian Rangers of the Far North of Ontario should be proud of their identity and work to preserve their culture.
BGen Paul, commander of the Army in Ontario and the largest military formation in Canada, told the assembled Junior Rangers that he grew up on the Huron-Wendat First Nation near Quebec City, where he owns a house and goes back regularly to hunt and fish. After his military career, he said he plans to retire there and live in the community.
He told the Junior Rangers their culture is important to them and to their communities. He encouraged them to complete their education, and even if they need to move away from their home reserves, they should maintain connections to them.
He shared some news from his own reserve, which has recently seen one of its members graduate as its first medical doctor, bringing great pride to the reserve. “You can do that too,” he told the Junior Rangers.
After his visit, BGen Paul said the camp left a powerful impression on him. “For most of the time I’ve been here, they have been super interested in what they are doing,” he said. “They have big smiles on their faces. I’m going back home with a big smile on my own face.”
Training at the camp focuses on safety on land, water, and in personal lifestyles. BGen Paul noted that the Junior Rangers were learning “skills that are extremely valuable when you’re living in a remote community. But it’s also giving them a sense of pride. It’s reinforcing their identity.”
BGen Paul encouraged the Junior Rangers to become Canadian Rangers when they are old enough. “What the Rangers are doing up north is fantastic,” he said. “They’re saving lives, but they’re also protecting a lifestyle, the knowledge of how to survive on the land. They are preserving an important part of the Northern identity. And they are passing that knowledge on to the Junior Rangers.”
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)