Cadets got a crash course last weekend how to survive in the bush in winter.
The 2887 Rocky Mountain Rangers Royal Canadian Army Cadets were taught basic skills during the winter field training exercise (FTX), including how to start a fire, put on snowshoes, and load and properly pull a sled. Although they usually sleep in their tents during the weekend, this year they were at the Horse Lake Road Training Centre.
“We typically always do a winter FTX,” said Tabitha Fournier, the 2887’s commanding officer. “We show them how to be out in the cold. This year we weren’t allowed to sleep outside but typically we sleep out in our tents. It just kind of shows them how to survive in the winter.”
One of the cadets’ instructors was Guy Wilton, who works in the Cariboo as a firearm and hunting safety instructor. Wilton said the knowledge he and his fellow instructors passed along can be used by the cadets anytime in life. Wilton is volunteering this year as his children Rachel and Caelen have just joined the cadets.
“It really is fantastic. It’s an activity you can do with your kids and something you can do for the community and what I’m learning here is great stuff,” Wilton said.
Rachel said she had fun, noting bush survival skills is valuable for everyone, not just cadets.
“If you’re ever camping and or hunting for multiple days, this is good stuff to know,” she said. “I’ve gone camping in a tent but not out in the forest, but that’s something I’d like to do. Especially out in the winter. I like the cold.”
Fournier said it’s important for cadets to know how to put on and move around in snowshoes as in deep snows they’re key to getting around. The sled loading exercise, meanwhile, taught them what they need to survive when going camping and how to work as a team to carry it.
“We’re pretty lucky because we get to do this training. They learn and a lot of them already know how to survive in the winter because we live in a pretty cold area, but it just adds some more to (their knowledge),” Fournier said. “They all seem to be having fun out here and that’s our main point, for them to have fun and learn.”