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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  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]

  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    January 5, 2020 |

    […] 28. The past as a guide to the future (Part III): Over the past 60 years, many activities the police once performed as a natural part of their daily duty, eventually became incompatible with achieving their basic goals. What happened? (August 2019) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Why I stand with science? - McNeill Life Stories

    November 11, 2019 |

    […] During the Ice Age, the Earth’s average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions. As snow fell on the snow, glaciers formed. (NASA Earth Observatory) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories How to Game an Election - McNeill Life Stories

    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]

  • Harold McNeill

    August 21, 2019 |

    For those who followed the earlier post about the cost of ICBC Auto insurance coverage in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (linked in comments) here is another follow-up article.

    This article again confirms earlier assertions that public-private insurers such as that which ICBC provides, is among the best in Canada in terms of rates and coverage. A link is provided in the original story.

  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.