Winter Outdoor Ed Trips 2022

GO! Program Update
In October, the Grade 10 Get Outside! (GO!) Program completed their Introduction to Wilderness First Aid Training with Canada West Mountain School. Over the course of the three days, students learned a variety of new skills, such as how to make a splint or stretcher in the wilderness, how to create an effective hypothermic wrap, the 10 essential items needed for all wilderness excursions, and the many important steps involved in the assessment and care of a patient. This 16-hour certification will be an important tool and knowledge piece for students on future excursions, both in the GO! program and in their personal lives. 

Then, with much excitement, the GO! Program embarked on their first overnight excursion in November! Traveling north to Squamish, the group camped out at Camp Summit for a three-day, two-night outdoor adventure. Immersing themselves in three days of outdoor education, the students learned important survival skills, such as how to stay warm in the outdoors, how to cook and prepare nutritious meals over a camp stove, and how to navigate effectively while using a map and compass. Students embarked on a 6-km hike on the Four-Lakes Trail in Alice Lake Provincial Park, discovered the old-growth forests and trees in the area, and had an interactive Indigenous education workshop with Alice Guss, who shared stories from the local area and taught the group how to weave cedar. Students were introduced to nature journaling and reflecting on all the things that make their lives “rich” while out in the outdoors and living in the beautiful province of British Columbia. Due to extreme winter weather, the group returned to Vancouver a day early, exercising one of the many key practices for adventuring in the outdoors and learning first-hand the importance of monitoring weather patterns and making decisions to mitigate risk. 

Despite the snowy weather, the group was still able to travel to the HIVE on the final day for their Introduction to Bouldering lesson. During the session, students learned important climbing skills and challenged themselves to conquer new routes and techniques. It was impressive to see the teamwork amongst the students and how well they cheered each other on and supported one another. This a true testament to the power of an overnight excursion and group bonding that results from time in the outdoors together! The GO! students are looking forward to more exciting excursions together in the new year.

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Grade 1 & 2 Forest Day at Pacific Spirit Park (Nov 2022)
This November, both the Grade 1 and 2 students ventured to Pacific Spirit Park for a full day of outdoor learning and discovery in the forest. Led by the Outdoor Education Coordinator, Katrina Brennan, and Outdoor Education Specialists, Shannon Harrigan and Jess Dick, students focused on three main areas of learning: wildlife, trees, and art in nature. Through hands-on activities, games, stories, songs, and creative play, the students learned how animals camouflage and survive in the wilderness. They learned about the different types of trees and how they communicate with each other. And they also learned about being themselves and expressing their creativity through art using nature and the forest as their canvas. Students took things one step further and fully embraced life in the forest by assuming a self-declared “nature name” for the day, which they used for the entire visit. Forest Day was filled with lots of laughter, inquisitive play, and exciting new discoveries! The Grade 1s and 2s are looking forward to their Beach Day in the spring, where they will explore a new ecosystem and environment. 

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Grade 5 at Camp Elphinstone (Oct 17-19, 2022)
Grade 5 students embarked on their overnight camp excursion this October, when they traveled to Camp Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast. Heading over to Gibson, the group kicked off their three-day adventure with an exciting paddle into camp in large voyageur canoes. Led by the Sea to Sky Outdoor School staff, students immersed themselves in camp life at Elphinstone and all it has to offer. Through games, activities, and workshops, students learned about nature and the unique ecosystems of BC, as well as steps they can take to improve our local environment. The Grades 5s spent time developing their outdoor survival skills and exercised “challenge by choice” principles when trying exciting new things in the outdoors! Thank you to our Senior Students Leaders, who joined the Grade 5s at camp and role-modeled all that we can learn and benefit from while being outside and participating in outdoor education.

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GO! Program Spring Update

The GO! Program finished off their school year with an action-packed spring! Students participated in a Leadership Workshop with Alison McKenzie from ShEvalesco, discovering their different leadership styles and how they all contribute to the overall team. The Grade 10s were then able to practice these new leadership skills when they joined the Grade 1s on their Outdoor Education excursion and organized icebreaker activities and collaborative games. The GO! students also participated in two action-packed days, hiking the Stawamus Chief and climbing outdoors in Squamish. Both day trips were filled with adventure, group bonding, grit and perseverance, as students challenged themselves to accomplish their goals.

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Finally, the GO! Program wrapped up their school year with their first multi-day excursion! At the end of May, students traveled to Tofino for an action-packed five days of activities. Camping at Surf Grove, students spent the week hiking, kayaking, learning to surf, participating in a beach clean-up, and educating themselves about the impacts of microplastics on our coastal environments. Enduring some challenging weather, including 24 hours of relentless rain, students demonstrated resilience, perseverance, a positive mindset, and impressive outdoor competence as they used their skills to stay warm, healthy, and dry(ish). 

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Ms. Brennan and Ms. Harrigan are incredibly proud of the group’s ability to bond together, support one another, and grow both as a team and as individuals. Throughout the week, students challenged themselves to learn and develop their outdoor skills, partaking in fire-building, chopping wood, hanging tarps with the appropriate knots, and cooking and preparing their meals. During the evenings, the group enjoyed campfires and shared special moments, shout-outs, and reflected on their experiences on the trip. This was a beautiful way to wrap up a wonderful year together in the program and as a cohesive unit.