280 Junior Canadian Rangers gathered at Valcartier for the 24th Camp OKPIAPIK

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Yves Bélanger - Servir

From June 25 to 30, 280 Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) from 35 remote and isolated communities in Quebec were at Valcartier Base to participate in the traditional Camp OKPIAPIK.

At the opening ceremony, participants were able to attend the change of command of the Group Sergeant Major. Thus, Chief Warrant Officer Yves Proulx, who occupied this position and now retiring after 42 years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), handed over the duty to Chief Warrant Officer Mathieu Giard.

"It is with great emotion that I leave not only the 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, but also my second family, the Canadian Armed Forces and all my brothers and sisters-in-arms. Many things have changed since my enrollment in 1975. I will keep very good memories of all my assignments, my years at the Royal 22e Régiment and my missions,” indicates CWO Proulx.

For his part, the new Group Sergeant-Major warmly thanked his predecessor for the work he has done. "It is a privilege that the Opening Ceremony of the 24th edition of Camp OKPIAPIK marks the beginning of my new assignment as Group Sergeant Major at 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. For more than 18 years, I have worked in this unique unit and I accept this new challenge with enthusiasm."

Learn while having fun

Captain Julie L. Pagé, 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2 CRPG) Unit Information Officer, explains that during the seven days of this training session, the Canadian Junior Rangers will gain knowledge, skills and life experience. "They will be able to use this experience once back in their community. "

She goes on to say that Camp OKPIAPIK, which means "little snow owl" in Inuktitut, is an activity that meets the objectives of the JCR Program. "Through instructional activities and challenges, we convey to these deserving JCRs traditional, healthy lifestyle and Ranger skills in a group setting while having fun outdoors. "

Lieutenant-Colonel Benoit Mainville, 2 CRPG and Camp OKPIAPIK Commanding Officer, says this annual event is one of the most important youth programs in the Federal government. "This camp allows for a cultural exchange between Cree, Inuit, Innu, Naskapi, Francophone and Anglophone children aged 12 to 18, from our 35 isolated and remote communities in Quebec. We want to stimulate their curiosity, broaden their horizons, fuel their dreams and allow them to aspire that everything is possible. "

 

Some testimonies

"We are taught beautiful values and it is a way of learning new things and keeping the traditions of the village. We learn how to react to serious situations and help others.” Camp OKAPIAPIK is her favourite activity and she "recommends it at 110%"! She is in secondary 2 and loves physical education, history and English.’’

JCR Savanah Perron, 14, JCR Chevery Patrol

 

‘’I like being able to meet  new people, keep busy and get out of the house, learn new skills, surround herself with better people and learn new languages. I mostly enjoy outdoor activities like sports, trapping, hunting, setting up tents and tipis.’’

JCR Juwanna Duff, 15, JCR Chisasibi Patrol

 

"I really enjoyed the tree-to-tree activity and problem-solving activity at the Escaparium"

JCR Michele Georgekish, 16, JCR Wemindji Patrol

 

"I think this camp is a great activity for travelling and learning new things. "

JCR Arianne Marcoux, 15, JCR Chevery Patrol

 

 

 

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