Shawnigan’s OuterEDGE program takes our Grade 8 and 9 students on outdoor adventure-based journeys, creating connections to the beautiful wilderness areas of Vancouver Island and the Pacific Northwest. These trips intentionally stretch our students, putting them in uncomfortable situations, allowing perseverance through adversity and learning through experience.
Over two weekends in late September and early October, the entire Grade 9 class embarked in small cohorts on the first OuterEDGE trips of the year. Students had two distinctive options from which to choose: sea kayaking in the Gulf Islands or hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail on the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island.
The four sea kayaking groups paddled from Vancouver Island to Portland Island, a small island that is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. These students were fortunate to work with top kayak instructors Gordon Brown and Amber Champion. Meanwhile, the four hiking groups headed in the opposite direction, tackling sections of the renowned Juan de Fuca Marine Trail located in the provincial park of the same name.
The groups in both locations were immersed in the awe-inspiring beauty of the rugged West Coast, experiencing both wilderness and coastal environments. While hiking and kayaking, they saw spectacular views, heard the roaring surf, touched ancient trees, and observed native wildlife such as seals and sea lions. The kayakers also got to work with Parks Canada on invasive species removal on Portland Island.
Students took the lead in all of the activities, including navigating, leading the group, and setting up equipment. They also took responsibility for preparing all of the meals for the group, cooking their own food on camp stoves – yet another skill learned!
One of the values of these trips is that through it all, the students grow closer as a group. “At the beginning of the trip you see divisions,” explains Nigel Mayes, Assistant Head – Co-curriculars. “But by the end everything is cohesive and the students are working together in new ways you didn’t see at the beginning.”
Many thanks to the staff who accompanied the adventurers: Mr. Mayes, Mrs. Boyes, Ms. Urzua, Mr. Loiselle, Ms. Robson, Ms. Marland, Ms. Ward, and Mr. McDonald, who also organized all of the trips.
Shawnigan Lake School is adhering to all COVID-19 guidelines released by the BC Ministries of Health and Education.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.