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.