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From Junior Ranger to Ranger
Young man takes leadership in stride

Michelle LeTourneau
Northern News Services
Monday, August 24, 2015

Brent Nakoolak, an 18-year-old Junior Canadian Ranger (JCR) from Coral Harbour, attended the second annual National Leadership Enhanced Training Session (NLETS) in Portneuf, Que from Aug. 2 to 8.

NNSL photo/graphic

Brent Nakoolak, a Junior Canadian Ranger from Coral Harbour, took part in the second annual National Leadership Enhanced Training Session in Portneuf, Que., from Aug. 2 to 8. - photo courtesy 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group

He was lucky to get there. Sadly, most of the youth from Nunavut set to participate were weathered into their communities and unable to travel.

Once there, his best activity was rock climbing.

"Because it was the hardest," said Nakalook by phone, the day before he completed the leadership training.

"I was scared but I was facing my fear. I didn't show my fear," he said.

Finally, he added, it was fun.

The training Nakalook took part in included about 40 other Junior Rangers selected from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups. Those in attendance represented the rich social and geographical Canadian landscape. That included a blend of aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth from coast to coast to coast.

The training was as ambitious as Nakalook, challenging each youth physically and mentally "proving our JCRs are up to the task to become great leaders and mentors in their own communities," said Capt. Steve Watton, unit public affairs representative for the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group.

Nakalook proves this. Another aspect of the training he notes is learning to lead other Junior Rangers.

At age 18, this is Nakalook's last year with the Junior Rangers.

"I've been in the JCRs for four years," he said.

In that time he's taken part in training in Whitehorse and Alberta, each experience teaching him more about the skills and qualities needed to be a Ranger.

He is ready to join the Rangers, he said.

"I'm going to become a Ranger when I turn 19. Back home, the Rangers already agreed that as soon as I turn 19 I can become a Ranger right away. So I can take care of the JCRs."

He's looking forward to taking the youth under his wing.

Nakalook also enjoyed the social aspect of the training.

"It's good to meet new people, make new friends," he said.

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