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

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read your life account of Pibroch excellent.
    My family mowed to Pibroch in 1942 Dad was grain buyer for Searle Grain Company lived in town for 5 years than mowed one mile East to the farm on the corner of the road from Pibroch and Hwy 44. Bro Don still lives there.I went to school with both you and Louise.

  • DOROTHY MARSHALL

    November 15, 2021 |

    These stories brought back some sweet memories for me. a wonderful trip down memory lane . the photos were great. It has made me miss those days.

  • DOROTHY MARSHALL

    November 15, 2021 |

    Enjoyed your story Harold Dorothy Hartman