First-ever held in Midland

By Greg Garratt, MNO Veterans’ Council Secretary

youth-veteran-exchange-2Some of the participants in the MNO Youth/Veteran
Knowledge/History Exchange: Sgt. Ray Starks, MNO Vice-chair
Sharon McBride, Dawson Garratt, Reese Lepage, MNO Veterans’
Council Chair Guy Mandeville, Juan and Rico Barrantes, Dalton
Latondress, Senator Dr. Alis Kennedy, MNO Veterans’ Council
Treasurer Chris Plummer, MNO Veterans’ Council Secretary Greg
Garratt, Region 7 PCMNO Councillor Pauline Richardson, MNO
Georgian Bay Métis CouncilYouth Representative Danielle Callander
and MNO Veterans’ Council President Joe Paquette.
Missing: Ed Hass, Aidan Cozens, Laurie Barrantes, John and
Bernice Paradis.

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Veterans’ Council held the first-ever Youth/Veteran Knowledge/History Exchange on April 25-26 at the MNO office in Midland with the support of the MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council and Bruce Power. Participants included young people from ages five to 29 as well as several MNO veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

During the weekend, the youth had the chance to view and even wear an array of military gear from all three services; Navy, Army and Air Force. At first the youth were a little too intimidated to try on the equipment but with the encouragement of MNO Veterans’ Council members they soon became enthralled with the equipment and the stories that went with them; told in the military tradition of truth, and stretched truth!

The young people tried on webbing, gas masks and other gear and handled everything from expended rifle shells to large mortar shells. They received a real hands-on experience for what they previously had only seen and heard in movies and electronic games.

Also during the weekend, Sgt. Ray Stark, an Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Recruiter with the Canadian Armed Forces, explained the many levels within the Armed Forces that young people can join. He provided information about careers in the Armed Forces, including opportunities for guaranteed summer jobs and educational opportunities and the 100 plus careers that can be pursued through full enlistment; as well as how training from the Armed Forces can eventually lead to great careers in civilian life.

The young people also spent time learning about the role Métis have played in military conflicts and in the building of Canada. An understanding of the saying “Lest we forget” is an important piece of learning the young people received over the weekend