Explore offers life skills

Have you ever thought that our youth should be learning more real life skills at school?

THE EXPLORE PROGRAM has a major fundraiser this Saturday G.P. Vanier Secondary School.

Have you ever thought that our youth should be learning more real life skills at school?

This is a main focus of Explore.

On May 4, Explore is holding their annual Giant Garage, Bake, and Plant Sale at G.P. Vanier from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Now in its 13th year, the Explore program at Vanier invites Grade 11 students from across the district to apply. It is for students with a keen interest in outdoor activities and enough academic confidence to meet the demands of an accelerated course load between expeditions.

“All four of my children and two of my nephews have had the Explore experience. They learned how to be self-sufficient in the bush, to prepare for a wilderness trip and to work with others when they may not share the same ideas,” says Sara Vandermale, a parent, this year’s fundraising chair, and a self-professed “great supporter” of the program.

“The value these student get is one very few parents could afford or have the time or expertise to offer. I saw an enormous growth in my girls, and I am eternally thankful to the program for instilling these values and skill sets. Each one of them has a connection with nature and its inhabitants, which was greatly enhanced by the Explore program,” says Vandermale.

The program is for the second semester and includes grade 11 biology, social studies, PE, pre-calculus and outdoor education.

Ilene Yeomans, one of the three instructors explains, “Not only are students doing the course work, but they have classes, workshops and field trips that work on leadership, self-esteem, teamwork, even cooking on a camp stove, to name a few. Students are challenged and grow as individuals and as team players. Some are pushed academically, some socially, some physically and some emotionally. The personal growth in this one semester is phenomenal.”

Each student pays $750 in user fees, and this weekend’s Giant Garage sale is the main fundraiser for the program, usually bringing in an additional $200 for each student.

“This helps to cover some of the equipment, some of the food, the lessons, the transportation, the safety supplies, the equipment rentals, etc. and we know that to do these things in the real world would cost a great deal more,” says Yeomans.

Explore includes a trip to the Victoria legislature, Vanier Sports Centre water safety and kayak lessons, Comox Estuary kayak lesson and paddle, Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre team-building trip, Cape Scott backpacking trip, Clayoquot Sound sea-kayaking adventure, and a Broughton Archipelago ecological adventure, including a marine mammal watching tour.

For more information about this weekend’s fundraiser, contact Sara Vandermale at 250-337-2259. Donated items can be dropped off Friday at Vanier gym after 3:30 or picked up by contacting Denise Kussauer at 250-337-5833 or 250-897-8771.

For more information about applying for Explore 2014, check the gpvanier.ca website and click Programs, then Explore.

— Explore

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