Two Gitxsan teens who spent their school holidays doing a summer job with the military have returned to school a little older, a little wiser and much better at push-ups.
Hazelton Secondary School students Izaiah Loring (Grade 12) and Darius Muldoe (Grade 11) spent six weeks at the Canadian Army base in Wainwright, Alta. as part of the Bold Eagle Military program for First Nations youth.
The program offers paid summer jobs which combine Aboriginal culture with military training to young people in western Canada.
Participants are immersed in a military lifestyle were they learn self-confidence, teamwork, discipline, respect and physical fitness, among other skills and values.
Loring and Muldoe went through a rigorous process involving tests, interviews and stacks of paperwork to secure a place in the program.
Both students said they applied for the jobs seeking adventure and an opportunity to learn new skills.
Although it was daunting at first, they said it did not take long to adjust.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking at first but after a while you get to know the people who are taking the course along with you, and once you make some friends it makes it just a bit easier,” said Muldoe.
The students’ training was a mixture of lectures and drills, the latter of which they enjoyed the most.
Both Loring and Muldoe said they had returned with a sense of pride in their achievements, a feeling that is shared by their families.
Muldoe said his mom was so proud she started spreading the word on social media. He said she was part of the reason he decided to apply for the job.
“My dad passed away two years ago at Christmas so I can only really speak for my mom,” he said.
“Pretty much the main reason that I chose to go on the course was to give me the skills and the mindset to continue and do my best to take care of my mom and my sister.”