Zajac Ranch: Four days with Family and Friends

Written by Harold McNeill on August 26th, 2013. Posted in Adventure


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Photo:  Taken at the end of trail leading from Zajac Ranch to the South Arm of Stave Lake. The ranch is approximately 20 km North-East of of Mission B.C with the last 10 km  on a high quality, all-weather, gravel road. The facility boasts excellent camp style accommodation and an array of facilities that easily caters to the interests of the young and “the young at heart”.

It was out of China one day and off to the Zajac Ranch the next for a West Coast reception with our friends Carl and Julie Joosse (nee Fennema).  Because many of their West Coast friends were not able to make the July wedding, the couple decided to throw a second P1100671reception at this end.

Photo:  Carl and Julie arrive in style on the back of one the camp limousines.

The Zajac Ranch for Children, situated in pristine wilderness on the west side of Stave Lake, north of Mission, B.C, was chosen for the reception as both Carl and Julie along with many family and friends, both from the East and West, have made a strong commitment to helping ensure the future of this incredible adventure center for children.

With the draw of a West Coast wilderness adventure, many Carl and Julies family members and friends who live within a stones throw of each other, decided to make the trek to help continue the celebration in style and to meet some of the crazy West Coasters with whom Carl and Julie have spent so much time in recent years.

For those not familiar with Zajac Ranch itself, it was founded by Mel and Irene Zajac as a legacy:

“In memory of their two sons Mel Jr. and Marty Zajac, who lost their lives within eight months of each other in separate sporting accidents. For over 30 years, Mel and Irene Zajac raised funds for the children of British Columbia through the proceeds of the Zajac Golf Classic and private donations from friends and family members. Daughters Corinne, Carmen and Karen have been their biggest supporters and are dedicated to ensuring the perpetuity of the Foundation.”

The ranch is a modern… “accessible, innovative and full-service facility that welcomes children and young adults facing chronic, life-threatening or debilitating conditions…” that is able to host upwards of 50 children at a time with the help of highly skilled staff who used to working in wilderness areas.

Along with many trails and back woods challenges, the camp supports a variety of farm birds and animals, as well as a stable of well groomed, trained and outfitted horses that would be the delight of every child and adult who might pass this way. With a newly built, first class, riding ring, the weather never poses a concern.

As for outdoor challenges beyond the trails and lakes, the climbing wall and high wire apparatus, canoes, and outdoor swimming pool and other facilities provide an incredible opportunity for both children and adults to challenge themselves to their own personal limits as many found during the course of our four day stay.  At times of truly difficult weather there is sufficient indoor space, including a first class indoor swimming pool and hot tub.

Dedicated staff hail from many points around the globe including New Zealand, Australia, England, as well as other points in Canada.P1100756  Each day, as well as attending to their regularly assigned duties, they greet guests in the dining hall where extraordinary meals are planned by Chef Yasser Ziyada and his most able assistants.

Photo: Chef Yasser (in white) stands just in front of the Camp Director, Christopher Falcioni. More photos in the attached photo albums.

On this particular week-end, several of the West Coasters, many faces of which you will recognize in the attached photo albums, put together a amazing program of movies, music, song and dance that was greeted with the delight of everyone.  Of course there is never a challenge with ‘winding up the springs’ of these young people, the challenge lies in trying to guess at what point before or after dawn the springs will run down!

Attached is a series of four photo albums that will give you a small taste of this exciting weekend.

As you will see, when the summer programs have ended, Zajac Ranch is well positioned to host school groups, business and group retreats, as well as family weddings and reunions and many more activities.  A few years back, while sitting on the BC Soccer Board, we held a three-day Board and Staff retreat at the camp. We certainly received value for our money. We hope you will consider planning your next adventure at this amazing facility.

Following is the link to learn more about Zajac Ranch: Zajac Ranch (Zajac Mission Statement, Link Here)

You are encouraged to take a few minutes to review the Zajac Web Site for more details. If you think you might also like to get involved and/or donate: Link Here

Photo Albums

Four Photo Albums are displayed in an open Face Book Page (McNeill Life Stories).  If you feel so inclined you might wish to make a comment on the photo or list the name of the persons. I would be pleased to make a friendship link on Facebook if you are so inclined.

  1. Family and Friends: Link Here
  2. The Zajac Challenge: Link Here
  3. Off to the Rodeo: Link Here
  4. Party Time: Link Here

Several slow motion clips, mainly of activities in the Zajac Challenge, will be linked separately.

  1. Lynn McNeill: A High Wire Act, Link Here
  2. Brendan and Jill, Reaching for the Top, Link Here

A slideshow, complete with music, has also been prepared for each of the four Photo Albums.  A copy can be forwarded on request or, conversely, copied to a a disc and mailed.

Harold and Lynn

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold

  • Terrance

    January 5, 2019 |

    A VERY COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS. ALL POLITICIANS SHOULD READ THIS.

  • Harold McNeill

    December 23, 2018 |

    Thanks Sis. I will be uploading as Hi-Def so the photos can be viewed full screen. Brother