Spring Outdoor Ed Trips

GO Program
This spring the GO Program embarked on three very different adventures. They went ski touring and winter camping in the Coquihalla Lakes area, cycle touring on Galiano Island, and kayaking in the Broken Islands. These were trips of a lifetime, full of challenge and growth, fun and bonding, beauty and new discoveries. Students learned three new sports, explored three means of self-propelled travel, and saw students becoming skilled and independent in many moments. This spring, the GO cohort has gone from growth to transformation and all the students have reason to be incredibly proud of their accomplishments.

Grade 9s Canoeing at Indian Arm

In May, all the Grade 9s embarked on a journey up Indian Arm, near Deep Cove, by voyageur canoe. Over the course of four days, they paddled from Rocky Point Park in Port Moody to Granite Falls and back, a total of approximately 70km. Travel was in large, 18 seater voyageur canoes, and the focus for this trip was working with a team, communication, resiliency and skill development. They explored the ocean, learned how to navigate using a compass, learned how to set up a tent, sleep in it, cook on a camping stove and many other elements of camping life.

Grade 4s at Sea to Sky Outdoor School on Gambier Island
The Grade 4 classes, accompanied by some wonderful senior school mentors, went to Gambier Island, to the Sea to Sky Outdoor School hosted at camp Fircom. They canoed in big traditional canoes, slept in cabins, jumped in the freezing cold ocean, played games, sang songs, explored the gorgeous forest, and learned a little bit about the word “sustainability” and our role in making positive change.

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Grade 7s at Evans Lake
The Grade 7 classes had a fun, celebratory trip to Evans Lake to end their year. They swam, canoed, paddle boarded, played games in the forest, ate in the dining hall, slept in cabins, and much more.

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Grade 3s at Stave Lake
In June, the Grade 3 classes experienced their first overnight camp. Students spent two days at Stave Lake Lodge, near Mission. They played in the forest, learned many nature nuggets, learned how to start a fire, and enjoyed their first sleepover as a class. Parents were invited to join the following morning and everyone enjoyed a celebratory class picnic potluck.

Primary Forest Days
In the spring term, the primary classes each enjoyed a day of forest play and exploration, physical exercise and eco-literacy. They found slugs and bugs, saw flowering plants and trees, played games, listened to the birds, and worked on developing important skills such as balance, communication and imaginative free play.

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Introducing GO: A New Experiential Course for Grade 10

In the fall, York House launched GO, an Outdoor Education Grade 10 Course, named for its call for young people to Get Outside! This new YHS program involves a cohort of 14 students and five multi-day outdoor excursions over the course of the year. It is designed to be an experience of a lifetime with the ultimate goal of personal growth for students who would like to further their involvement in Outdoor Education beyond grade-wide experiences. Its aim is to promote self-discovery, leadership, interactive social skills, as well as a more holistic understanding of the natural world through experiential, adventure, and environmental education.

The adventures this year include the backpacking trip to Garibaldi Provincial Park, a surfing and forest/beach exploration in Tofino, avalanche preparedness, skiing, biking, and kayaking in beautiful British Columbia. Students learn skills such as compass-work and fire-building, nutrition for an active healthy lifestyle, first-aid, physical fitness, preparedness, decision-making, leadership and safety. Like other experiential programming at YHS, this course combines hands-on learning with opportunities for guided reflection that is key for transformative learning. A key aim of the course is to empower students to pursue independent outdoor adventures. A message will go out to all Grade 9 students and parents in the spring to invite applications to the program for the 2019-20 academic year.

On our most recent GO excursion, the cohort travelled to Tofino with Ms. Robin, Ms. Matthews, and Ms. McDonald. We surfed the November waves and hiked stormy Long Beach. We explored the area’s forests, beaches, and Nuu-chah-nulth culture with a local teacher and 3 teenage facilitators, students from Ucluelet Secondary School. We marveled at the talents of our young guides to bring knowledge dancing to life. Tim, a gifted connector and Grade 10 student shared stories of his Nuu-chah-nulth ancestors, taught us some of his people’s language, and introduced us to edible forest plants. Toby and Cedar, two award-winning ornithologists and grade nine students, inspired us with their passion and teaching about birds and environmental issues. As one YHS student, Alex expressed, “having Cedar, Toby, and Tim join us for a day was like adding three more members to a family.” As another student, Tera shared, “Their knowledge about birds and plants was so inspiring.” As another student shared, “Hearing [our guides] speak about microplastics and their impact was so empowering because of their passion and knowledge for the subject. Insane.”

Thank you to the Gordon family for generously hosting the GO team at Ocean Village Resort. Thank you to Ms. Robin for designing and facilitating a magical outdoor excursion.