Outdoor Education is an important part of a Southridge student’s experience, one that introduces another arena in which they learn about the privilege and responsibility they have to influence their community and the world. It’s also another expression of Southridge’s unique mix of lighthearted spirit and serious purpose.
Beginning in Grade 4 and in Grade 5, all students participate in a three-day trip to Keats Island’s Sea to Sky Outdoor School. Students learn how all life is interconnected and how our actions can either strengthen or weaken our communities.
In Grade 6 our students head off for four days to Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island. Since this trip takes place early in the school year, it fosters bonding, cooperation and open communication among members of the class throughout the year.
Our Grade 7 Survivor Trip gives our students the opportunity to experience new, fun and challenging activities in a safe outdoor environment. The students travel to Squamish, where they hike, rock climb, swim and take part in a number of “survivor” challenges. These challenges test strategy, communication and other essential team-building skills.
For five days each fall all Grade 8 and 9 students travel to Strathcona Park Lodge Outdoor Education Centre on Vancouver Island, where they are immersed in the outdoors. Various out-trips are offered at Strathcona depending upon interest and ability, including hiking, canoeing, and ocean and river kayaking.
In addition to the Grade 4 to 9 programs, a number of different trips are offered to Senior School students throughout the year. The excursions challenge them at different levels to help develop their outdoors skills. In the past, these trips, lasting one to three days, have included hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, ocean-kayaking and cycling. Opportunities vary each year depending on student interest.
Although the program varies by grade, the underlying philosophy remains the same. Students learn to appreciate and understand their natural environment through experience while developing the skills and attitudes required to both enjoy and excel in the outdoors. Developing leadership and bonding with other students are added benefits.
The program’s ultimate goal is to support students in acquiring knowledge, attitudes and values that support their development as global citizens and environmentally aware and responsible stewards of the planet.