Belmont pushing barriers

Outdoor education drawing rave reviews

Belmont secondary is taking education a step further this year and that means venturing into the wilderness.

While the new outdoor education program, offered to grade 9 and 10 students, is still getting off the ground, teacher Dan Beattie said the response from the students has been great. “I know they’re keen to get out there,” he said, noting they’ve been working on building teamwork and trust closer to the school.

While students are “moving into the more adventurous phase of the program,” Beattie said they are also learning about social responsibility, the environment and how to be prepared for Mother Nature.

“It’s a bit of a cross between environmental appreciation and recreation,” he said. Activities the students partake in include everything from hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking to orienteering.

Since this is the first semester for the program, staff are still finalizing what the course will look like, but Beattie said he hoped to eventually add a multi-day trip as a wrap up.

While this program creates a number of unique challenges, one of the biggest is building a collection of equipment for the students to use. Beattie said the program is happy to accept donated items members of the community may find collecting dust in their homes.

“We don’t have a lot of gear yet,” he said. “We’re looking for anything, really.”

Beattie said new or gently used items such as ropes, tents, hiking backpacks, compasses, canoes, kayaks and mountain bikes would be greatly appreciated and put to good use by the students.

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