Find a Way—Make It Happen!

Gary Young skidding logs

Decades have passed since the 17-year-old Gary Young loaded his horses and headed to Canada to homestead. Today, Gary’s horses are vital in skidding logs during the winter harvest of balsam fir and blue spruce trees in Idaho.

I talked to my father for two years about my desire to move to Canada. Finally, when I was 17, I just said, “Dad, I’m sorry; I can’t stay here. I’m not going to live like this.” I loaded my two horses in my horse trailer and went to Canada.

At first I was rejected because I was underage. However, I got to the border and they asked me where I was going. I said, “I’m going to Canada; I’m going to homestead.”

They asked, “How old are you? Where’s your passport? Where’s your birth certificate? Where’s all this information?”

I replied, “Nobody told me I needed to bring it.”

So they let me go into Canada, but not as an immigrant; I went through as a visitor and went to the Caribou District. It was great. It was beautiful. And I got a job.

Then I got a notice that I had to either go back to the States or I could immigrate. I went to the immigration office, as a 17 year old, and asked, “Well, how do I immigrate?”

I was told, “You can’t; you’re underage. You’ve got to have a family member sponsor you.”

I said, “That’s a piece of cake. Can I use my uncle that lives in Alberta?”

“Nope, it’s got to be a closer relative, like a father or a sibling.”

I said, “Okay, I’ve got a sister that’s older than me.”

I drove from Quenelle, British Columbia, to Idaho Falls—2,240 miles. I pulled into my sister’s house at 3 o’clock in the morning and beat on the door until I woke her up (you all know Nancy). She came staggering to the door, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. By the time she was finally awake, I had her packed.

She said, “Gary, what are you doing?”

I told her, “You’re coming with me.”

She said, “What do you mean I’m coming with you? I’ve got to. . . .”

I said, “No, you don’t; you are coming with me.”

Before she was totally awake, we were driving through Missoula, Montana; and by the time she knew what had happened, we were crossing the border into British Columbia. I took her straight to the immigration office. She was 20 years old and got immigration status. I drove back across the line and applied for immigration status with her, my sister, sponsoring me. And that’s how I got into Canada.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

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