Molly MacDonald

by FORP on July 15th, 2013

Moose Lake Ontario Ranger, 2005
Without a doubt, working as a Ranger at Moose Lake was the best summer of my life, and one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It is heartbreaking to know that there are no Rangers this year, for the first time in many decades.  I know that the Ranger Program has been running since my dad was a teenager (he was a Ranger in the 60s) and I bet there is hardly anyone who went through the program who wouldn't say it changed their life.
I remember going on a Ranger canoe trip to clean up campsites and rebuild the privies.  By the end of one week we had completely run out of food except for soggy GORP. I remember portaging three aluminum canoes FULL of broken glass that we had cleaned up from campsites along the route. I remember a bear swimming in front of our canoe one day.  And I remember that when our crew got back to base camp, all the other girls made us jump straight in the lake because we all smelled so bad.  At the time it seemed horrible, looking back it was hilarious. 
Our summer culminated at the Jamboree, in a camp versus camp challenge.  We squared off with the other girls camps in a relay that challenged us all in the skills we'd learned over the summer - swimming, canoeing, starting a fire, etc. I think that when we won for Moose Lake, it was one of the happiest and most satisfying moments of my life.  All of us worked together, just as we had all summer, and did something awesome.
After Rangers I went to university and pursued International Development.  I worked in bush camps in Northern Ontario, as a tree-planter, quality assessor and foreman for five years.  I worked in Australia for a year, volunteered for a summer in Ethiopia, and backpacked across Europe this past winter.  I could have never done any of these things without the confidence, work ethic, and independence that I learned that summer at Moose Lake.  I still keep in touch with my Ranger friends and we are planning a reunion this summer. 
I think the most remarkable thing about it was that a group of 17 year old girls from all across the province almost instantly became real friends. Not only that, we learned how to be confident and comfortable with ourselves.
I truly hope that this program can be reinstated.  It enriched and changed the lives of so many Ontarians.  It is such a terrible shame that the next generation will not even have the opportunity to learn the lessons we did, or make the friendships we did, as Ontario Rangers.  Nothing could ever replace this program.

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Elaine Foster-Seargeant - July 15th, 2013 at 9:58 PM
A great recall of a great experience. You certainly used the skills you learned to explore your country and the larger world. I know there are so many of us that can say Rangers changed our lives.

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