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.

Category: Senior School
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Fall Outdoor Ed Trips

Grade 10s at Garibaldi:
Grade 10s accomplished a 4-day journey to Garibaldi Park. Some girls went to Elfin Lakes, and others went to Garibaldi Lake. They each climbed at least 600m in elevation on the first day with full backpacks. This is quite an accomplishment! There were stunning views, moments of challenge/growth, and moments of joy for everyone.

Gr. 8s at Manning Park:
Grade 8s went to Manning Park for four days to launch their Senior School journey together as a team outside. They explored the lake by canoe, and pine forests and alpine environments on bike and on foot. They got to know one another and their teachers through team-building activities, skits, and fun.

Gr. 6s at Camp Summit:
Grade 6s went to Camp Summit, in the Squamish Valley. They participated in all sorts of camp activities such as high ropes, low ropes, fire building, mountain biking, big field games, and countless other adventures. The students slept in cabins and had a huge amount of fun!

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Gr. 5s at Camp Elphinstone
Grade 5s, accompanied by seven wonderful Grade 9 mentors, went to the Sunshine Coast, to the Sea to Sky Outdoor School held at Camp Elphinstone. They canoed in big traditional canoes, slept in cabins with their Grade 9 buddies, 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. They canoed to Gambier Island to explore the wild forest there, experienced rain and sun, challenge and joy, and so much more!

Grades 1-3 in the Forest
Grades 1-3 each embarked on a full day adventure to Pacific Spirit Park. Students explored, played games designed to bring them closer to our natural environment, heard stories from local culture, had time to play using natural materials and their incredible imaginations, had some quiet reflection time, and practised using all five senses to discover the world around them. A few highlights were learning about and finding slugs, using the salmonberry plant, playing ‘Eagle Eye’, making forest tea, discovering the dozens of types of mushrooms out this fall, nature’s face paint (charcoal), and free imaginative play.

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Category: Junior School, Senior School
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