My Dual Credit students from Port Perry just headed off on a survival bushwack today. I’m their college instructor, and Dual Credit is a program created to get high school students enthused about going into post secondary. I’m not taking part in the hike but thought it would great to see them off this morning. Andrew Stuart, their high school outdoor education instructor, is leading the trip and he, and his two volunteers, deserve a huge pat on the back for creating such an amazing experience for the students. It isn’t easy these days to take young adults out in the woods; there’s a lot standing in their way: politically driven risk analysis reports, parent phobias, principal paranoia, bad-behavior from students themselves at times (I gotta say though that the Port Perry group is one of the best batch of students I’ver had). But to see the excitement in these kids faces, to witness them engaged in their surroundings, to see them learn outside the boredom of a classroom…it’s definitely worth the hassle.
The students will be traveling the surrounding landscape of the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park for three days. They have no food, no tent (shelters are made from tarps) and no way to light a fire except a bow-drill (which they practiced a lot on before heading out). But are they safe? Well, Andrew put in so many safety precautions prior to the trip that it would be hard pressed for something to go wrong – except for the same mishaps that could easily happen while they’re dozing at their desks back at school, dreaming their life away while they wait for the bell to ring.
I wish them luck. This trip is only three days but it will be forever in their memories.