Summer jobs – Ontario Junior Forest Ranger
October 17, 2010
My first real summer job was in the early sixties as a Junior Forest Ranger. Technically, not quite 17, I was too young for the program, but friends of my recently deceased father pulled some strings to get me in. I'm not sure if this job was meant to distract me from all the changes in my life or just get me out of my mother's hair while she moved us all back up north, but off I went on the train. I went with both enthusiasm and nervousness, since even though I'd often vacationed up north doing woodsy things, and had gone to a “Y” camp, this was still a big change for a city boy and loner.
The camp was north of Thessalon, at McCreight's Dam I think - remember, this was 50 years ago. It was a fairly plain setup too, with just a bunkhouse, a dining hall, and a tool shed, all only a year or so old. In fact, the rooms in the bunkhouse were still just bare stud walls, making it basically one big dorm, filled with twenty four 17 yr old guys. It was a varied group of teens, some brash, some shy, some likely sent because of problems at home. However, working together in the bush, eating together at the one long dining table, and sleeping together in the dorm soon broke down the barriers and discouraged shyness. The final barrier came with one of our first construction jobs, building a new outhouse. We decided to make it open concept, with four seats in a row, big screened windows on three sides and a view of the rest of the camp and of the lake. Not much privacy left as you sat there, reading, chatting with friends, waving to others as they passed by outside.
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