Ranger Days


One of the joys of high school was being in Rangers for Girl Guides.  We went on a lot of provincial weekend camps.  Some were in different cities, and some were at Doe Lake the Provincial Girl Guide Camp.

“Aime!  How are you?  What’s been going on since WIT’s?”  One of the girls I was in WIT’s with was at Ranger Ranger Guider at Doe Lake the fall after our session in August of 1992.

“Well school is going good; the swim team has started again.   I’m doing my NLS in January.  I’m volunteering in a Girl Guide Unit, and a disabled children’s swim program as an instructor as well.”  I smiled and replied to her.

“Cool, yes me too, the swim team has started, and am also doing my NLS very soon.  Are you going to apply to work here?”  She asked back.

“Yes I am, but I didn’t pass WIT’s so I’ll have to see what happens.  I am going to also apply to my Area camp at Camp Adelaide to see if I get chosen there.”  I smiled at her.

The leaves on the trees were so beautiful.  All red, orange, yellow, and a bit of green as well from the pine tree’s around camp.  This felt like a home away from home.  It was only a few months prior that I sat on the big boat house steps with Beth who told me I had not passed the WIT program.

This time I was spending the weekend in the chalet cabin where the Waterfront staff lived.

“Oh awesome, so cool.”  I excitedly jumped up and down.  Sharing a room with 3 other Rangers and Guiders was fun.  Some of the Waterfront staff were also in Rangers and were at the same camp.

A group of us were walking back to the main area at camp near the beach the cabin where we eat, and the camp director’s cabin.  Jan came out of her cabin, the camp director!  She was still there!

“Hi Aime!  Nice to see you!”  Jan waved at me.

“Hey Jan!  Nice to see you too!”  I wave and smiled back.

All sitting on the beach we were looking across the water, the sun was starting to set.  The lake looked funny without the pom-pom yellow docks reaching out from the mini boat house shed.

“Welcome Rangers!  Welcome Ranger Guiders!  I welcome you to Doe Lake, the Provincial Girl Guide Camp for Ontario!  We’re going to have a lot of fun this weekend!”  Jan was welcoming us all to the weekend.

We had a floating camp fire and sang a bunch of songs.  Camp weekends were always so fun.

“Aime, have you ever played spoons?”  One of the Rangers who was a Waterfront Staff was walking back to the Chalet with me.

“No, what is that?”  Giving her a curious questioning look.

A few of the Waterfront staff, and the couple of us who were WIT’s stayed up playing spoons, in the main room.

“WTF?  Oh my gosh!  This can be dangerous!”  Laughing with the others.  Spoons is a card game that is played and there are spoons involved too.  Cards are passed around the circle and once a player gets 4 of a kind she grabs for a spoon in the middle of the circle.  Everyone else grabs at a spoon.  The girl who does not grab a spoon they are out.

“Oh yes there have been causalities in this chalet playing spoons.”  One of the Waterfront staff laughed.  “One of the girls broke her finger playing last summer.”

“What?  I can see that though!”  Laughing with the other girls.

The next morning, I was on the colour guard with another Ranger, and one of the Ranger Guiders.  I was to tie both ends and raise the flag as the guard for the Canada Flag.   Standing with all the other Rangers, the Ranger Guides, and Jan the camp director watching me I reached for the toggle to tie the flag onto the rope for the flag.

“No!  It’s not the toggle, it’s the other end, the little rope end.  That goes up first.”  The Ranger Guider hissed at me.

“It’s the toggle first.”  I whispered back.

“Use the little rope end and put the flag up.”  She hissed back at me.

I did as I was told, I was not in the habit of arguing with the Guiders.

We stepped back and everyone sang O Canada.  There were about 60 of us at this event.

I knew what was to happen next.  As we were breaking the horse shoe after colours to go to breakfast I saw Jan looking at me.

“Aime, got a second?”  Jan came over to me.

“Yes?”  Even though I knew what she was going to say.

“Did you see you put the flag up, upside down?”

“Yes, I did see that.  I knew we were going to.  The Guider didn’t listen to me when I tried to correct her.”  I smiled back at Jan.

“I see, I thought it was weird you were doing it upside down, this was not like you.  You know your flag protocol and how it is done.”  Jan smiled at me.

“Thank you!  Yes I do.  Let’s eat!  I’m hungry!”

Canoe on Pinetree Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park/Canot sur le lac Pinetree, parc provincial Algonquin, Ontario

Later in the morning we were all in different groups for sessions.  I was upstairs in Wilson House for a camping session.

“You will see on the wall here a big scroll of paper, each section is marked off on what your experience level is on what you have done for camping.”  The facilitator was explaining to us.  I knew her, she was a part of the Waterfront staff as an out tripper.

“Take the sticky note paper put your name on it and stick it on where your experience is.”  She handed out the paper.

I looked at the scroll of cream coloured paper on the wall.  At the very end of the scroll was a canoe to symbolize going canoe tripping.  I wrote my name on the paper and looked up again.  Many of the others in the room were putting their sticky notes at weekend camps, or an over night camp.  A few were at hiking camps, a few were also at week long camps.  This session seemed to have more Ranger Guiders than Rangers.

With confidence, I stood up and walked over to the canoe and slapped my name under the canoe.  Another Ranger who I believe was also in the WIT program in July stuck her name where mine was as well.

Some of the Ranger Guiders who were older and had the idea that us Rangers weren’t as confident at camping, and other areas as they were let out a sigh that we both could hear.  The facilitator nodded in our directions with a smile.
“Do either of you want to share what you did?”  The facilitator smiled at us.

“We were in the Waterfront in Training program here at Doe, and part of our month at camp we went on a 4-day, 5-night canoe trip in Algonquin Park.”  I replied.  My smile beamed at her, and I also glanced over at the other Ranger Guiders who had sighed a few moments ago, they still looked gob smacked.

Rangers was always fun.  So many memories!


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