Lisa Streets

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.



Posted in not categorized    Tagged with 1990, Sleeping Giant


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This blog is an online campagin against the closure of the Ontario Ranger Program. If you are interested in contributing please email us at: friendsoftheorp@gmail.com.
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