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Ticket to guide

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (July 01/05) - Carl Gaule can foresee himself owning and operating his own river guiding company some day.

"I love being outdoors; it's what I do best," he said.

NNSL photo

Seven Fort Simpson residents - some paddling this raft - took part in several days of training on the Kakisa River last week. Resha Korotash, Michael Modeste, Edwin Isaiah, Jeremiah Martineau, Vicky Williams, Tina Visser and Carl Gaule were involved. Gabe Byatt and Dawn Moses, summer students with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs also took part.

He and several other young adults from Fort Simpson - known as the Youth Guiding Corps - have been building their credentials over the past three years. In the month of June alone they have been on the Trout and Kakisa rivers for various expedition and guiding lessons.

At Trout River, there were cultural and spiritual activities such as setting fish nets, learning about the medicine wheel and Dene drumming.

It was about "how to get in touch with yourself," Gaule explained. Instruction on setting up camp, food preparation, wilderness first aid and canoeing was also offered.

Last week in Kakisa, the youth were introduced to white-water rafting and swift-water rescue techniques. At times, the participants were asked to plunge into the river wearing a wetsuit and life jacket.

"If you don't know how to swim you could probably panic pretty easy," Michael Modeste, a member of the Fort Simpson Youth Guiding Corps, said of the raging water. "It was fun. I like going out in the bush a lot."

The highlights included "surfing" the rapids in a raft and paddling behind Lady Evelyn Falls with instructor Marvin Lizotte.

"That was awesome," Gaule said. "They were really good instructors this year."

Keeping clients excited and entertained is a key part of the guiding industry, Gaule noted.

"They're out there to learn and enjoy the experience, so you've got to make it really fulfilling for them," he said.

Dawn Moses, a summer student with program sponsor Municipal and Community Affairs, added that Lizotte also emphasized that teamwork and discipline are required for success.

Lizotte described the Youth Guiding Corps members as "keen" and said they were quick learners.

The young adults continued their training earlier this week, spending two days getting certified in the fundamentals of canoeing.

"It certainly opens up a lot of doors," Moses said of the wide range of lessons.