Friday, September 04, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, September 3, 2009

What Alex Campbell did on his summer vacation, some reaction to the Liberal's budget update of Tuesday and the School District finally have someone to keep track of the money again, the highlights of the news cycle for Thursday.

DAILY NEWS, Front page headline story
A BOLD PROGRAM FOR ABORIGINAL YOUTH-- The Daily News reviews some of the background in a program which provides Aboriginal youth with an opportunity to learn more about their culture, while receiving military training at the same time (see story here) item is also provided at the bottom of this post.

Gary Coons provides his interpretation of the details in the Liberal's budget update of Tuesday, outlining his concerns with the path the Liberals are on and how they have handled their duties in regard to the financial update (see story here)

School District 52 finally announces a replacement for their departed Secretary-Treasurer Kim Morris, taking over the duties at SD52 will be Cameron McIntyre, most recently the CFO of Ridley Terminals. (see story here)

As the walls continue to come down at the old Acroplis Manor, local residents begin the process of coming to terms with the disappearance of the long time landmark (see story here)

With the countdown on until February's Olympic Games, the Olympic spirit will also arrive in Prince Rupert when the Olympic torch passes through town in early February, the details on some of the planning for that event were provided in the Thursday paper (see story here)

The sports section provided a feature look at the local skateboard scene in the city (see story here)

North Coast MLA lashes out at B.C. budget-- The Northern View also had MLA Coons on their speed dial for his thoughts on the Liberal budget update (see story here)

Daily News, Front Page, Headline Story:

A bold program for Aboriginal youth
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, September 3, 2009

There are many ways for a teenager to spend a summer. For Alex Campbell III of Prince Rupert, the bulk of his summer saw him enrolled in a six-week program that combines military training and Aboriginal cultural awareness.

The program - Bold Eagle - takes place at CFB Wainwright, Alberta and draws aboriginal youths from Western Canada and Northern Ont.

Participants enroll in a standard Army Reserve Basic Military Qualification course taught by military personnel.After passing a physical test in Terrace last spring, Campbell was one of almost 100 youths selected to attend the camp."

There were 92 of us at the beginning, but some left and some got kicked out. Eighty-five of us graduated," Campbell said.Campbell was part of the Greyeyes Platoon, named for David Greyeyes Steele, a grain farmer from Muskeg Lake Cree Band, Saskatchewan who was a lieutenant in command of a mortar platoon in Italy during WW2."

We met one of his descendents at the Pow Wow," added Campbell.During the first week of the program, the youths learned to build a teepee, working in three groups. They attended sharing circles, passed a peace pipe, watched Pow Wow dancing and went into a sweat lodge and smudged."

It was all new for me," Campbell, who is Tsimshian, commented on the cultural experiences, adding that a majority of the participants were Cree.

After week one, the guys received haircuts, except for two Cree youths with traditional hair that didn't have to have theirs cut. After the hair cuts, the students were handed over to the military.

For the next five weeks, the students hit the books, learning about policy, health insurance and work safety. When outside the classroom, they were in the field learning how to handle C7 rifles, donning gas masks and repelling off three and half storey structures."

In 10 seconds we had to put everything on when they set off the tear gas. My eyes started burning," recalled Campbell.

And when it came to repelling, he learned it is scary to lean off the edge of a structure when you're 35 feet from the ground. He never did stop feeling a bit nervous about the heights.

Looking back on the experience, Campbell is convinced he worked harder than he had ever worked before.

For three days the students participated in a navigation exercise where they marched nine kilometres each day carrying 80 pounds on their backs.

In addition to a lot of marching, there was ample screaming and yelling coming from the commanders, but Campbell was able to take it in stride."

We were told right at the beginning not to take it personally," he explained.

Many of the sergeants told them stories about Afghanistan that Campbell described as "pretty dark" and on August 18, he and the others had the opportunity to visit an armoured unit at the base.

Home now with the $3,400 pay cheque he received for the training and a renewed sense of accomplishment, Campbell said he might try to attend another course in the future.

"I'm always interested in the challenge," he noted.

In the meantime, the 16-year-old is returning to PRSS for Grade 12 next week with a full course of academic courses on his slate.

No comments: