When grade 10 students in the North Vancouver School District's brand new Outdoor Education Academy lace-up their hiking boots in September 2017, their outdoor learning experiences will be enhanced by a novel agreement with one of Canada's leading outdoor adventure and education organizations – Outward Bound Canada.
"Outward Bound Canada is incredibly skilled in wilderness training activities. Their mission 'to cultivate resilience, leadership, connections and compassion through inspiring and challenging journeys of self-discovery in the natural world' is a perfect match for our vision of place-based learning that the new Outdoor Education Academy will offer," said Arlene Martin, District Principal, North Vancouver School District.
Outward Bound Canada is a not for profit, charitable, educational organization that, since 1969, has challenged over 150,000 Canadians to step out of their comfort zone with its unique outdoor adventures. Outward Bound Canada prides itself on offering transformational and often life-changing journeys that encourage participants to push beyond their limits and discover their true potential.
"We're thrilled to be able to collaborate with the North Vancouver School District to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their connection to and knowledge of the natural world," said Sarah Wiley, Executive Director, Outward Bound Canada. "Our highly-skilled and experienced instructors are well equipped to work with the Outdoor Education Academy in offering a unique learning environment for students that will help them realize all that they are capable of."
This agreement means students in the North Vancouver School District's Outdoor Education Academy will receive the best outdoor instruction and equipment. Outward Bound Canada is providing certified guides for excursions, which may include camping, kayaking, rock climbing and Nordic skiing. The guides will collaborate with the skilled academy teachers to support students on wilderness trips. In addition, Outward Bound Canada will provide, maintain and transport equipment for activities. This will ensure well-maintained and appropriate equipment is always available. Outward Bound Canada is a leader in outdoor risk management and their involvement in the academy means additional onsite safety expertise on outings, as well as enhanced safety training for students. Outward Bound Canada will also provide professional development opportunities for teaching staff.
"The expertise and educational value that Outward Bound Canada will bring to the Outdoor Education Academy is immeasurable. Our students will receive a deep and meaningful education as a result. The lessons learned and skills acquired will serve as a foundation for lifelong active and healthy living," said Martin.
The Outdoor Education Academy begins in September 2017 and is open to all grade 10 students. Operated out of Sutherland Secondary School, the academy will get students out of the classroom and into nature via hands-on experiences that break down traditional boundaries between subject areas and offer interdisciplinary learning across subject areas. Throughout the school-year, students will take part is a wide variety of outdoor daytrips and overnight excursions. Activities will range from kayaking to wilderness camping to snowshoeing, and will take place in locations extending from North Vancouver into coastal and interior areas of BC. For more information, please visit http://www.sd44.ca/ProgramsServices/Academies/Pages/outdooracademy.aspx
Applications for the 2017/2018 school year are now available on the North Vancouver School District website, and will be accepted in person at student interviews during the last week of January. Student interviews are a required component of the application process and may be scheduled online https://oea.schoolappointments.com/admin/.
Staff will be available to answer questions at the North Vancouver School District Enhanced Program Night at 7:00pm on January 12 at Sutherland Secondary. A student and parent information meeting about the Outdoor Education Academy is scheduled to take place at 7:00 pm on Thursday, January 19th at Sutherland Secondary.