On Feb. 13, Grade 9 students at John Paul II Collegiate High School heard about the summer wilderness adventure Outward Bound. W. Brett Wilson, Allison Bray (Project Manager), Calle LaFreniere, and Genesis Ocampo told students about their Outward Bound experiences.
Calle LaFreniere, a Grade 10 student, participated in the program last July. Although she almost didn’t apply due to fear of the wildlife, especially bugs, and concern over being separated from her family with no means of communication for 10 days, she now says it was really worth it. LaFreniere says she was most surprised by how much pushing her limits enabled her to become both physically and mentally strong. She had previously spent lots of time outdoors and camping with her family, but she hadn’t done six to eight hours of hiking and tenting in the wilderness before.
Calle completed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment at school. Initially she wasn’t sure what to expect as Light of Christ Catholic Schools became a strengths-based organization. Now, as a result of her Outward Bound experience, she sees how her strengths not only helped her to succeed but also how she was able to help others. Calle says that her Empathy and Communication strengths were especially important in lifting others up and encouraging them to persist through the challenges. “Even the camp leaders remarked about how good I was at motivating others and that made me feel really good,” Calle said. “I’d really like to do it again!”
Genesis, also in Grade 10, describes the experience as life changing. When asked about the challenges, Ocampo said, “Even though they told us that the weather would be very unpredictable, I wasn’t prepared for how fast it could change. It was really cold, especially at night because we were sleeping in tent, but when the sun shone it was extremely beautiful.”
Like Calle, Genesis was anxious about being away from her family for 10 days without means of communication but in the end it was okay. Genesis says her StrengthsFinder Achiever strength really helped her to succeed.
“The 40 pound back pack was really heavy, and I wasn’t physically ready. However, I like to set goals and meet them, so I was determined to make it through each day. The time, the pain, and the frustration were really worth it.”
Both girls also attribute their success to the collaboration and teamwork that was essential to their success. Both say their confidence in themselves really improved. They know that they can now conquer almost anything.
Philanthropist W. Brett Wilson will be sponsoring Grade 9 students from the Battlefords to attend Outward Bound again this summer. Sponsorship covers the cost of registration, transportation, and supplies (except for clothing), but Mr. Wilson says that if getting good hiking boots or other supplies is a problem, all students have to do is reach out to him. Students must apply through their school by March 16.
More information about Outward Bound can be found on their website at https://www.outwardbound.ca/