Peiwen Chen

by FORP on May 20th, 2013

Student, University of Waterloo
Esker Lakes Ontario Ranger, 2011
I was never fully exposed to the grandeur of the outdoors or of myself until I met the Ontario Ranger Program. Born in China and moved to Canada when I was 9, I was always raised in a traditional, conservative way. When two of my 2010 Ranger friends approached me with this opportunity I immediately wanted to apply: the idea of living away from my parents for the entire summer appealed to my inner wild child and I already had an appreciation of the outdoors from past camping trips. Everything happened so fast afterwards: Ontario Northland, blueberries, outcamp, canoe trip, boys, Jambo, champions, teary goodbyes, southbound train…like a powerful storm that completely transformed me inside out.
Being a ranger taught me to appreciate the presence of others in my life.  Since Day 1, my fellow Rangers and supervisors I worked with became the source of my inspiration, energy and motivation. Despite all the hard work we went through, together we were invincible. I remember being in awe at the sight of someone swinging a sandvik in all her glory and the victorious feeling we all shared when we dug out a giant tree root. After work, we would come together with our different backgrounds and share our stories together, laugh together, and dance together. For the first time in my life I enjoyed being out of my comfort zone as I participated in dance parties, kitchen raids, and late night sneak-outs to the dock. Everyone I met on this journey taught me to live life to the fullest, to be completely engulfed by all the beauty around me in the north. The program acted as a platform for self expression as it made me to see beyond my introverted side and helped me to embrace my interests.
The absence of this life changing program would mean depriving youth the opportunity to explore an unknown territory. Deep down inside, we all have the urge to escape from the city lights and find true happiness under the serenity of the stars. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Esker Lakes, 2011


Martin - June 4th, 2013 at 10:49 PM
I was at Rinker Lake in '79 and many of the things you wrote about ring true with my experience.
The summer experience does stay with after you come back. One of my friends who didn't apply to go was kicking himself for not going. (I sent letters of our (mis)adventures.
And you change as well. When you come back you realize that friends have stayed the same, but something about the new experiences and new friends has changed you. I wish others could have the same chance.

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