by FORP on January 14th, 2014

Operations Support, Heaman Communication Services
Sleeping Giant Ontario Ranger, 1990
In 1990 I was a shy, awkward teenager who was famously uncoordinated and spent most of my time with my nose in a book. I’m not even sure what inspired me to apply to become a ‘Junior Ranger’ - it must have been my love of the outdoors and a burning desire to get out of my small town! 
When I became a Ranger that summer at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay, it was the first time I had lived away from home, and it was by far the furthest I had ever travelled without my parents.  Although the Ontario Ranger program taught me how to wield a sandvik and plant a tree, the most valuable lessons I learned there were how to be myself, and that I could do anything I set my mind to. 
In conversations over the past few months with other former Rangers and supporters, I realize that I am one of many people who found great value in the Ranger program despite not going on to a career in natural resources.  At seventeen, we are at a crucial stage in forming our identity and making the choices which will lay our path for the future. Many of us grow up in small towns, where it can be difficult to act independently of our family and our friends.  Even in the cities, this can be an issue.  The Ontario Ranger Program, which allowed young people like me to travel far from home to work with youth from across the province, was transformative in the confidence, independence and sense of possibility it gave to us at such a crucial time in our lives.

After Rangers, I spent two summers working in provincial parks, and then moved on to university and other opportunities.  My path has taken me all over the world and back again to the same small town where I grew up.  Wherever I travelled and whoever I met, I was proud to identify myself as Canadian and to recount the tales of my “Ranger training”.  I now understand just how fortunate we are to have our parks and wilderness spaces, which are the envy of people in many countries who did not have the opportunity or the foresight to protect their land and wildlife as we have.  It is vital that we maintain and connect with the natural spaces that are an integral part of the Canadian identity.

This is what I ask of the government:  Please, listen to what thousands of people are saying, and reinstate the Ontario Ranger Program.  The benefits of this program are probably much greater than the Ministry of Natural Resources realized.  Although some of these benefits may have been inadvertent, that doesn’t make them any less valuable.  You had a program that prepared young people to become brave, confident, capable adults, who would be an asset to our province and our country no matter what they chose to do.  

​Don’t throw that away so lightly.

by FORP on October 13th, 2013

Water Resources Engineer
Wade Lake Ontario Ranger, 2000 
In the summer of 2000, when I travelled the Ontario Northland Train from Washago to Cochrane, and the Wade Lake Ontario Ranger Camp beyond, I had made a decision that would change the course of my career.  However, at the time, I had no idea that this was the case. 
My father and two uncles, each of whom had been a Ranger, told me how lucky I was to be spending my summer in the Ontario Ranger Program.  Initially, I didn’t want to spend the summer way up north in the bugs, working long hours in the bush away from modern conveniences.  But once I arrived, I found out very quickly that while there were indeed long hours working in the bugs, there was so much more than that.  I became hooked on the remote wilderness, the summer flew by and I didn’t want to leave.  At the completion of the summer, I came home with a number of certifications to put on my resume along with a newfound confidence and sense of accomplishment. 

The following summer I applied to return to the Ontario Ranger Program as an Assistant Sub-Supervisor and spent two summers at the Machesney Lake Ranger Camp.  After my first summer at Machesney Lake, it was back to Grade 13 and time to choose a university program.  Now back to that career-changing decision I mentioned.  I had always been on a path of math and science.  I still enjoyed math and science, but on its own, it no longer seemed fulfilling.  It was missing something.  In my case, it was missing nature, the environment, natural resources; all the things I had come to respect and care about during my previous two summers in the Ontario Ranger Program. 
I no longer wanted to design cars or work with electronics.  What a relief when I discovered the Environmental Engineering Co-op Program at the University of Waterloo.  Perfect!  Once I completed my co-op requirements, I managed to squeeze in two more summers at the Round Lake Ontario Ranger Camp before graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2007. 
By stepping onto that train in the summer of 2000, I had changed the course of my professional career.  Without my Ontario Ranger experience I would not be a Water Resources Engineer today. It saddens me deeply to know that the benefits this program provides may be taken away from future generations.  In my opinion, the Ontario Ranger Program needs to be brought back and expanded to afford future generations the opportunity, at the very least, to become aware of what the “environment” in Ontario really is. In some cases, it may change the direction of their career or even their life.  What a shame to take that away.  We should all aim for better. 

by FORP on September 30th, 2013

Bruce Telecom, Kincardine, ON
Moose Lake Ontario Ranger, 1990
 When I was accepted into the Junior Ranger program, I was so pumped. I remember having the information on my nightstand, and I would look at it every night before going to bed. In the welcome package about Moose Lake, we were told to bring butane curling irons, lots of batteries for your cassette tapes, and that there was no telephone in camp.  The day going there was a long car ride and there were so many butterflies in my stomach!
At Moose Lake, I was out of my comfort zone, with no electricity, away from everyone and everything in my world.  I remember being very tired each night and very hungry at meal time. We rose early for kitchen duty, but we had a few hours off in the afternoon. I also recall having a lot of time in the bush, painting at the Leslie M Frost Centre and using the term "Work Crew." We were all up for breakfast and if you were late…well you had to do something crazy. A thing like acting & quacking like a duck in front of everyone.
If I remember correctly, Fridays we had classroom time at the Frost Centre. Here we were learned about the MNR, forest fire management, resource management, wildlife, minerals. Saturday mornings we cleaned our camp. We had Saturday afternoon and Sunday off, and went on various day trips. We all had to take turns using the pay phone to call home or friends. I recall going to Robinson's General Store in Dorset and the Minden movie theatre, where we saw Days of Thunder and Dick Tracy. We took part in the Junior Ranger Olympics and the Leslie M. Frost Centre Open House. I also recall a long drive to visit another Ranger camp. And portaging for days!
I still have my work boots, hard hat, pictures, Ranger badge and certificate, autograph book with various Rangers’ messages, and my Junior Ranger Work Performance Appraisal.  The Performance Appraisal rated us on Quality of work, Working relationship with supervisors, Working relationship with Peers, Punctuality, Attitude, Leadership and Initiative: All important things that would be a foundation for subsequent work life.
Unfortunately, I did not stay in contact with any of my Ranger friends. It was different time in 1990. We did not have Facebook, and calling long distance was expensive. I do remember sending out Christmas cards one year.
But I have held onto many important things I learned that summer, including the realization that being in nature is a wonderful gift, as is the experience of strangers coming together, learning to get along, getting work done and becoming a team.  I learned to canoe that summer and learned how, after a long hard day of work, jumping in the lake was the best way to cool down. I learned the importance of safety at all times when working, and I gained new confidence. I went back to Grade 11 more determined to work harder at school and reach out to new peers.  Most importantly, Rangers, which provided me with my first experience of really being away from family and friends, planted a seed in me and gave me the confidence to take on new adventures.  I have embarked on many different “off the beaten path” adventures in my life since then.
I am so deeply saddened about the Ontario Ranger program cancellation. This program provides such important things on so many different levels. It provides for a valuable contribution to natural resources in Ontario, and an economic impact in many regions.  Rangers learn work skills, life skills, appreciation of on our natural resources, and leadership. Over and over past Rangers tell our stories, and one commonality is the fact that this program was a life changing experience.
Thank you to the Friends of the Ontario Rangers for providing this platform.  And lastly, a shout out to all my Ranger friends and forewomen from Moose Lake, 1990.  I hope you all are creating ridiculously amazing lives.

by FORP on September 23rd, 2013

Whitney Lake Ontario Ranger, 1971
High school auto mechanics teacher (retired), Innisfil, Ontario
I am almost sixty years old now and thinking of Rangers has brought a smile to my face on many days since 1971.    I grew up in the Toronto area and as such had not spent much time in the area north of Temagami.    For a seventeen year old from the big city, learning to spot forest fires, fly in small planes, manage forests, do park maintenance and canoe were not a part of the everyday experience. But these experiences have helped to shape and encourage many of the activities I have enjoyed throughout my life.
My experience fighting fires on the rear lines taught me how quickly a dangerous situation can arise and I am careful with each and every campfire and have taught my children and students the same respect.    I continue to enjoy flying in small planes and have even taken some flying lessons.    I have hand built my own canoe.    I can maintain my own buildings and property.    I now own two acres of bush and maintain it regularly as my contribution to a lesser carbon footprint. Rangers encouraged me to continue my education in natural science and sociology, and I now have two university degrees and a trade licence. 
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I took away from Rangers was the importance of working together with others with an optimistic look to the future.  I taught high school mechanics shop for twenty-eight years, and part of that time as the technical director for the school.    Each and every day was a chance to pass on the lessons of respect for others and nature that are so important in this changing world.    I tried not to miss the opportunity of recommending the Ranger Program to all students as a great learning experience and a valuable part of their high school and lifelong education.    Some of the experience and knowledge gained by me from Rangers, hopefully became the knowledge and experience of twenty- eight years of shop class students.    I encouraged my own children to participate in the program and two of them have worked on staff at at least four Ranger Camps while attending university.  

It saddens me greatly that the Government of Ontario has cut such a valuable education and work program.

by FORP on September 16th, 2013

University student (Environmental science), McGill University
Dividing Lake Ontario Ranger, 2008
In 1976, my mother travelled ten hours north from her home in southern Ontario to Five Mile Lake Ranger Camp, outside of Chapleau, Ontario. She was the first of her seven siblings to go, but many more would follow. A family tradition was beginning. In 2006, my brother turned 17, and headed north to Wade Lake Ontario Ranger Camp. When my turn came in 2008, I too headed north to Dividing Lake Ranger Camp. Two years ago, I was very proud to see my little sister pack her bags and head north to Esker Lake Ranger Camp. I have another little sister, and next summer she would have applied to the program, to follow in our family’s footsteps.
For our family, the Ranger program had become a tradition. For each of us, it was a summer of growth and independence unparalleled by any other two-month period in our lives.  The experience weighed somehow on our decisions later in life. My mother’s decision to live in Northern Ontario was inspired by the summer she spent in the north. My brother and I decided to study environmental science, and my little sister and I returned to work as ranger staff. In just two months, the Ontario Ranger Program had profoundly affected the directions our lives would take.
The Ranger program has become a tradition for many families, not just for ours.  Year after year,  youth arrive at Ranger camps across the province, telling stories of their parents, siblings or friends who had been through the program. And as each of the over 65 years of the program passed, the ranger family grew and grew. Despite closures of some camps over the years, links between families, camps and communities were solidified as another generation of rangers headed north or south from home.
Since the announcement of the closure of the program, new members of this ranger family have come forward. Photos from the early years of the program have been scanned and surfaced on the ranger blog. The photos posted on Friends of the Ontario Rangers facebook page span more than 60 years, and show the enormous network of the Ontario Ranger Program. Some photos are in black and white, some in colour, but the same message seems to predominate: “this was one of the most important summers of my life”.

Being an Ontario Ranger is a summer experience which is passed on from generation to generation in this province. I am very grateful to have experienced my ranger summer, but I want the Ontario Ranger Program to be around for my children, too.

by FORP on August 19th, 2013

Sandbar Lake Junior Ranger, 1977
It began several months before the summer of 1977.  I got a letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources that advised I was accepted into what was then the “Ontario Junior Ranger Program.”  My dad brought the mail in and said “Here’s something for you.  What’s this all about?”
You see, I applied for the program on my own accord and did not tell my family until, well, until that notice came.  The fact I took the initiative to apply and was not only accepted, but stationed “half way to the arctic circle” impressed my dad.
When I said where I was going, my sister said “Wow, that’s way up there!”  My whole family was both delighted I was going to be a part of this incredible adventure and impressed that I had taken the initiative to make it happen.  I matured that day.  The following months were filled with preparing for the summer in the north and getting me there.
The train ride up to northern Ontario was an experience in and of itself.  What seemed like hundreds of 17-year old were heading off for the adventure they had no idea was in store for them.
I met Mike Wood at Union Station in Toronto.  Mike, from Kingston, had already been on the road for several hours and we struck a friendship immediately when we discovered we were both heading to Ignace.  Mike was my “room-mate” for the remainder of the summer.  We were buddies and shared a section of the bunkhouse.  Other than the 1 week I was out on a canoe trip and the week he was out on a canoe trip, we were room-mates.
The summer was filled with much of the activities you read elsewhere on this blog.  It is an incredible time and an experience I will never forget.
The “Sandbar Lake Boys Camp” and the “Sioux Lookout Girls Camp” had several “interactions.”  This was highlighted by the “JR Olympics” Sandbar Lake hosted.  Several camps from Thunder Bay through to Dryden and up to “the Sioux” met at Ignace for a weekend of sport, interaction, and, well, just plain old partying.  It was a weekend that made great experience even better.
We learned about forestry, natural resources, and all that goes along with the outdoors.  We became friends with people who up until a month or two before, did not know existed.  There were clashes as one would expect when you get 2 dozen 17-year olds together for 2 months but these were always ended with a hand-shake and a better understanding of our fellow man.  That’s what I take away from the summer of 1977.
On our way home the train tracks were washed out about 75 miles south of Thunder Bay.  The train had to reverse to the “Lake Head” where we were quite literally “cattled” onto a plane to take us to Toronto.  I am sure for many, this was their plane trip, making an awesome summer even more so.  Once at Toronto International Airport we were advised the buses to take us to Union Station would be a couple of hours.  Mike and I decided a cab to Union couldn’t cost “that much” and agreed to split the fare.
Into the cab we got and 45 minutes later we paid the $40 fare.  As we got into Union Station I don’t recall how we parted.  I truly wish I did for Mike and I became very good friends that summer.  I have not heard from him since.  I find that a bit strange but that’s life.
It is my sincere hope other 17-year old Ontarians get to experience a summer like I did in 1977.  It appears the current government again doesn’t “get it” and has deemed this program a “luxury” Ontario cannot afford.  My question is this: if this program and the great things it achieves are axed, how will the work Ontario Rangers did, be completed?

by FORP on August 12th, 2013

Senior Technologist, Public Health Ontario
Ivanhoe Lake Ontario Ranger, 1977
I was fortunate to have the experience of participating in the Junior Ranger program, as it was known back in 1977, at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park near Folyet.

I was not a neophyte outdoors person, as many of my fellow campers were.  I had spent a few summers at Camp Kandalore near Minden, and at Youth Outdoors Unlimited on Lady Evelyn Lake in Temagami doing camp craft, canoe tripping, mountain climbing and rappelling.   All of this previous experience was put to use as a Junior Ranger.
The first work that we Rangers were put to was building a fence around our compound; the fence posts we made by cutting down trees, debranching them, debarking, and then cutting to size. We cut the grass of the baseball field with grass whips. We learned how to set up a fire line with pumps we primed with water, and then attached “football” rolls of fire hose to as we ran the line out through the forest.
We did a number of Provincial Park maintenance duties like collecting the trash from the campsites, cleaning the fire pits of the campsites, hosing down the outdoor toilets, planting trees, fixing a guardrail on the corner of a camp road, and waterproofing the exterior of a newly built toilet base. We did rotations helping the camp cook prepare the meals for the day and cleaning up afterwards.
We had a few visits from some of the other camps in the area, a canoe trip, and a jamboree of all the camps near the end where we had competitions like canoe jousting, fire line setup, orienteering, baseball, and tug of war. Later we had a demonstration from a water bomber that dropped water on a dummy in the centre of the baseball diamond, which it flattened.  When it came for a second pass, people ran - but it had dropped the water from higher up and it came down like rain.

I have had many jobs since then and have completed two diplomas and a B.Sc. and now work in the Public Service at the Public Health Ontario (PHO) Public Health Laboratory –Toronto as a Senior Technologist.

My son just managed to get accepted this final year into the Ontario Ranger Program in Cochrane at Wade Lake. He spent the first week in safety training, which I hope every kid gets when they start a job.  He participated in a number of community initiatives like the Gathering of the Cree. Hopefully the experience he gained as an Ontario Ranger will lead to further jobs and further education, as it did for me.

by FORP on August 5th, 2013

Secondary School Principal, Superior Greenstone District School Board
 Obatanga Ontario Ranger, 1977
My toes curl instinctively around the rough wood at the end of the dock.   Thinking about how cold the water will feel, I glance up at the opposite shore to see a fine layer of early morning mist rising up from the water. Without warning, the music begins to play in my brain:
“Good morning Obatanga,
Good morning Burnfield Lake,
Good morning Obatanga,
Another working day.

My first memory of morning mist on a lake was during the summer I spent as a Junior Ranger, far from home, in Obatanga Provincial Park.  Always an early riser, I would wake up each morning and go out on the dock for some time alone before the morning breakfast bell and the scramble into work boots, work gloves and hard hats to begin another work day.
That mist was magical to me.  A light, gossamer curtain in July, but almost a fog as the air became cooler and cooler in August. Back when natural resources were important in the political landscape in Ontario, there was money to fund artists to come to Provincial Parks and write music.  Our songwriter wrote a piece for every job in the park.  It was an instructional presentation so the campers could be shown, in an entertaining way, how so many people worked together to make the park a special place and to make their visit just perfect.  There was even a song for the Junior Rangers:
“We are Junior Rangers, strangers one and all,
We love to lie out in the sun, when there’s work to do we get it done,
And the foremen make it so much fun…., we are the junior girls…”
I can’t remember the other verses but the tune was infectious.
In the 35 summers since that experience, there has never been another one like it.  Many will say Rangers was “a life-changing experience”.  That should not be taken as a frivolous comment because for many of us, it was.  The job application process did not discriminate.  It didn’t matter where you were from in Ontario (unlike the current Ontario Stewardship program, which is only available to students living close by).  You worked with 23 other 17-year-olds you had never met before (unlike the current program, which does not allow you to get away and redefine yourself). 
I was a shy, marks-focused, anxious, fear-controlled little girl when I arrived in camp.  Every single day I was pushed to face my fears and succeed in the face of them.  I was put in my place for having assumptions about others, and I was recognized for real accomplishments – not the same thing as being good at playing the game called school.  We all learned the true boundaries of our capabilities as we succeeded at challenges we had never before faced.  By August we were confident and strong team players, eager for the next chance to prove ourselves.  We were intensely happy, supported, more courageous than we had ever been, and we learned to take pride in our abilities.
Now, as a secondary school principal, I see kids every day that could benefit from a summer job as an Ontario Ranger, but they won’t get the opportunity unless we can show our provincial government what a ‘gem’ they had before axing the program last year. Reinstating Ontario Rangers is the only sensible option.  This investment in Ontario youth has long term benefits for all of us, and with the current Ministry of Education focus on the achievement of First Nations, Metis and Inuit students, and students with mental health challenges, it makes perfect sense to make summer employment in this setting available to all Ontario youth, not just those privileged enough to live near the jobs.
As a parent, I was thankful that my 17-year-old daughter was able to benefit from the Ontario Ranger Program a few years ago.  It is unfair that kids born in 1996 have missed out on this opportunity. Let’s make sure that that next year’s grade 11’s have equitable access to the best summer jobs ever offered in Ontario.

by FORP on July 29th, 2013

Halifax, Nova Scotia
Cashel Lake Ontario Ranger, 1978
I was raised on a farm in the James Bay Frontier. At 17, I already knew what it was like to have physically challenging work, having spent countless hours in blistering heat in the fields during haying season, long hours in the gardens planting and harvesting, and weeks in the bush cutting down trees for firewood.  Hardly anyone in my home community took part in the Ranger program, because their families couldn’t afford to replace them as labourers.   My parents made a sacrifice by allowing me to go and I’ve always been grateful.

As a Ranger in l978 at Cashel Lake, near Bancroft, I worked and lived with an amazingly mature and kind group of girls who helped me to learn their ways, which made my transition that fall to community college in North Bay much easier than it would have been.   I feel like my first summer in the Ontario Ranger program saved my life, because although physical tasks never daunted me, I was painfully shy and never would’ve been able to survive the outside world.  
While others Rangers that summer were popular, and were natural leaders because of their people skills, I struggled with socializing.  But I found a way to shine because I was already fit due to farm work, and therefore I volunteered for anything that was especially physically challenging.  I learned in that first summer that I could be proud of the knowledge that my parents and grandparents had passed down to me about weather patterns, animals and the environment and that not everyone my age understood the interconnectedness of nature to our existence.   I came to understand that if my generation was someday going to be running the government, then those of us who understood such concepts should explain them to others so that they could make responsible decisions when they got older.   

As a Ranger and later as a staff member at Kap-Kig-I-Wan and Esker Lakes Ranger camps, I saw that young people from urban settings benefited from Rangers by learning the value of hard work, team work and the natural world.  Young people from rural and remote communities benefited from the program for other reasons – like being exposed to people their age who had different behaviours, backgrounds, values and beliefs, in a safe environment where they could learn confidence in dealing with diversity.   The program enabled them to make more informed decisions about their lifestyles, and their futures.
I vividly recall one out-camp we did in my first summer, near what is now Petroglyphs provincial park. We walked for about 45 minutes each morning and back again each night through the bush from the main access road, carrying our pick axes, sledgehammers, shovels, and crowbars, to break a large beaver dam in order to drain a swamp that had formed near the rock outcrop that has the petroglyphs. The dam seemed like the Great Wall of China because there was room for about 20 of us to walk quite comfortably on it.  We had gradually built up our strength and teamwork on our canoe trips, and so this particular project at that time in the summer was a good fit for our crew.
I remember that we were a non-stop beehive of organized activity, trust and teamwork. There were those responsible for cutting the logs with the crosscut saws, and those responsible for carrying them. Not much breath was left over for singing but we did manage some songs while working on the beaver dam, usually marching tunes and Tennessee Ernie Fords’ "16 Tons".  
That was 35 years ago. Here in Nova Scotia, I see so much potential, so much restlessness, and wasted energy in the young people in my community, but there are few programs for them and very little employment.  Blogs posted by some former Rangers on this and other sites, predominantly by young men, indicate that they were experiencing a lack of discipline and direction in their lives and that they came into the Ranger program not entirely of their own volition - yet felt that they had really benefited from it. The Ontario government lacks foresight in removing the overnight Ranger Program.  The cost of the loss to human resources and the leaders that aren't being created cannot be measured by conventional means.

by FORP on July 22nd, 2013

Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina
Ontario Ranger, 1974
I am going to tell you a story about falling in love when I was sixteen – and how that experience changed my life.  But first, I need to give you a little background about my life. So here’s the 10-minute compression of the past half century:
When I was thirteen, my mother and father immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong.  This move was supposed to give us a wonderful new life, but, like so many immigrants, we suffered many disappointments. Canada did not seem to be the promised land, after all.  We had a comfortable middle class existence in Hong Kong – but in Toronto, my father couldn’t get a job teaching, even though he was qualified and spoke English well. He tried to do many things – get a masters degree, drive a taxi, deliver Chinese food – but nothing worked.
My mom went from having a maid in Hong Kong, to being a maid in a hotel. It was a tough physical job – even tougher when she went to work in the laundry department.  Within a few years, my dad had a mental breakdown and landed in a psychiatric ward. He had electro-shock treatments and was on medication that profoundly affected his ability to function. He took out his anger physically on my mom. Home – our apartment in St. James town — was a place of anger and violence.
So life was hard. Here, we were on our own, with no relatives or friends to help us out.  But I did well in Jarvis Collegiate and one summer, when I was 16, I had an opportunity to escape. I saw an ad calling for a “Junior Forest Ranger”. Against the wishes of my parents, I went up north to work in the bush for the summer — planting trees, cleaning up portage routes and campgrounds – and living in the wilderness.
So picture this, an immigrant kid, 3 years in Canada, taking a bus a thousand kilometres to Wawa – that’s the place North of Superior with the big goose! And then, I travelled many more kilometers beyond, to a wilderness camp near Lake Superior.
And that’s when I fell in love. I fell madly, passionately in love – I fell in love with the Canadian wilderness. I finally saw the promised land.  All of a sudden, from never seeing stars living in the middle of Toronto in St. James town, I was seeing millions of stars and northern lights, watching beautiful sunsets, admiring the magnificent colours in the Canadian Shield.  I was in love — even the black flies, the horse flies, the deer flies, the sand flies and the mosquitos seemed lovely to me.
That was a life-changing experience. I came to appreciate nature. I came to have a sense of Canada – of being a Canadian. I came to understand those words we sing in the anthem – the true North, strong and free.  I came to have a sense of the infinite – of being part of something huge, and powerful, pure and beautiful. This vast land, with boreal forest, Great Lakes and thousands of pristine rivers.
I came to understand there was a powerful force bigger than me, bigger than my family problems. I found a sense of peace and belonging I had never felt before. And I began a lifelong love affair with the wilderness….
I often wish that all Canadians could have the chance to experience this majestic land of ours, called Canada. To experience the wilderness and the awesome power of nature. Especially young people.
But, unfortunately, the Ranger program is in the process of closing. And camps for young people are generally too expensive and out of reach for many families.
I wish all could know the grandeur, the sense of the infinite – because all that power, and all that glory, does bring peace. This much I know. And that is the one thing I want you to know….  Whatever we do, however we see ourselves, whatever our passions are, it’s important to take the time to explore the vastness and mystery around us. To take the time to reflect, to listen, and to be inspired.
The blog post is excerpted, with permission, from Olivia’s speech on May 8, 2013, at Autism Ontario’s “Top Ten Event – One Thing to Know before you die”.

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