Program Highlights

What is Explore?

Explore is Collingwood’s flagship Outdoor Education program that operates in grades 7-9. Explore is run by educators who specialize in teaching students experientially, and in the outdoors. The underlying learning intentions of the Explore program are to promote positive interpersonal relationships among peers as well as foster the development of important traits such as self-reliance, leadership, environmental awareness, and self-confidence.

Testimonials

Water Walk - stepping into someone else's shoes

How extraordinary and moving!  Thank you for giving our children this gift.

The photo you included below shows the true Collingwood culture of support, teamwork, healthy community and compassion that you, the team and Collingwood are teaching, modelling and living, and through that have instilled and continue to instill all of those lived values in our own children.  Those values are also what my husband and I live by and model to our sons.  Because of all of you, having teachers and/or mentors like you for our boys, are no longer a dream but a reality.  Thank you!

 

Most respectfully,

Parent (Grade 8 and Grade 10 student)

What did you learn about yourself from Explore?

 

I learnt so much about myself during Explore, but the biggest thing I learnt was about my leadership skills. Whenever we went out on Explore, I was put into new groups (usually with people I wasn't friends with) and I had to adapt to this new environment. At first, I thought that I would just "lay low" during the trips and allow someone else to be the leader as I didn't know very many of the people well, but after we left for our first Explore in gr 8, I realized that it didn't matter whether or not I knew my group. Explore gives you a chance to branch out and take on challenges, which is exactly what I did. I always tried to be a leader no matter what my group was and this allowed me to grow as a person as I wasn't limiting myself anymore.

Grace, Grade 10

Why do you think Explore is important?

 

Explore gives students an opportunity that most people may never experience in their life. Although we live in such a beautiful country with amazing areas for camping, I believe that most people may never think to try camping or Explore like situations, as it is so different from our regular lives. By going on Explore, you are forced to try new things that are so beneficial. I personally wouldn't have ever gone camping if it weren't for Explore, and now I love pushing myself and trying new things. 

Grace, Grade 10

In hindsight, what are some of the most important things you learned on the Grade 9 Spring trip?

Grade 9 Spring Explore gave me a chance to learn more about mindset. The hiking trip was definitely challenging but by keeping a positive mindset, I was able to enjoy the experience, instead of complaining and only thinking about the negatives. Ever since this Explore, I have tried to remember what I learned as it was a very important life lesson. 

Grace, Grade 10

What was your favourite part of Explore?

My favourite part of Explore was waking up outside every morning on grade 9 spring. Our solo on that trip was so peaceful and many of us saw plenty of wildlife when we sat by the water under the shelters we built. It’s an invaluable experience to escape from our everyday lives, play outside, and take a break from our screens. It provides an opportunity to get to know more of your peers that you may not have classes with regularly. When I look back on my three years at Collingwood I realize that I’ve made a few of my most closely cherished friendships on Explore. When you’re away from your everyday responsibilities and certain distractions you really get to know people more sincerely.  

Devina, Grade 10

What is your favorite part of Explore?

Whether it be up in the mountains, staring at millions of stars, kayaking in the middle of the sea surrounded by blue or cozying up to a warm fire after hours of excitement in the snow, there has always been something magical about Explore to me. When I was in grade 8, Explore was a new program that I had just been introduced to. I was apprehensive about camping as I had not done an abundance of it in previous years. That said, I went in with a positive attitude and ended having an incredible experience in only 3 short days. In the four trips I have had the chance to go on, I learnt a lot about myself. I learnt that I am tougher than I thought, braver than I thought, stronger than I thought. I learnt that I do enjoy skiing, even though I was tentative about it beforehand. The memory of Explore I will remember for years to come was on Winter Explore in Grade 9. We were at Whistler Olympic Park in frigid weather. The sky was clear, the only noise was the faint wind in the distance. There were no car horns, city lights or barking dogs. We stargazed and the sky was so clear it was mesmerizing. I had never felt so connected to one of my favourite things: astronomy. In short, I learnt through Explore what it means to go out of my safe haven and explore the world a little.

Amelia, Grade 10

What is your favorite part of Explore?

My favourite part of Explore is the games we play all together. I really like those games like “bop the weasel ”, 2 truths & 1 lie & other ones as well. Being with friends throughout the whole trip is a lot of fun.  Cooking was cool because I don’t usually cook at home & I really enjoyed the experience of cooking outside. And last but not least the activities. I like doing the activities like: sledding, cross-country skiing, hiking & hopefully kayaking in Grade 9. 

Rio, Grade 8

What is your favorite part of Explore?

My favorite part of Explore isn't the camping itself, but the memories I make with the people I meet. Almost every year, there have been people I had never talked to before Explore, and then made a great connection with them. It's really cool to be able to make those great unforgettable memories with them.

Nina, Grade 9

Why do you think Explore is important?

 

I believe that Explore is extremely important for many reasons. To begin with, we are very disconnected from our friends and even ourselves as we are stuck on screens daily. Because of advancements in technology, we substitute face-to-face conversations with those on our phones making us feel farther from our friendships. In addition, the skills that you learn can be incredibly important. For example, learning about avalanche safety taught me a lot regarding what to do and what not to do when going out of bounds. Lastly, I personally generally enjoyed the time that I spent on Explore and found it calming and relaxing. Overall, I believe that Explore is a great addition to our curriculum.   

Tristan, Grade 9

In hindsight, what are some of the most important things you learned on the Grade 9 Spring trip?

Looking back I think the cooking aspect of making your own meals and really relying on yourself and others to enjoy yourself was a very important life lesson that I can already see paying off in everyday life when I am cooking at home or just cooperating with other people. On grade 9 spring there are many more challenges compared to all past Explores. Since I was in the kayak group I found transferring yourself and all of your food and supplies from one place to another was hard, but I think this challenging experience is what will help me in years to come.

Nic, Grade 10

Explore 7
As a culmination to their careers at the Wentworth campus, students spend one week at Strathcona Park Lodge on Vancouver Island. This trip includes introductory rock climbing, a high ropes course, hiking, team building initiative games and nature observation. Students participate in a one-night wilderness canoeing and camping experience on Upper Campbell Lake. Students start building their self-reliance and organization skills in Grade 7.

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Explore 8:
Grade 8 students spend a week out of regular classes: Monday is a local day trip, Tuesday is a planning and preparation day at school, and Wednesday to Friday is the two night wilderness trip. In the fall, students backpack at one of the following locations Manning Park, the Stein Valley or Cheakamus Lake. In the winter, students head off to Manning Park, where they take part in cross-country skiing and winter camping. Throughout Grade 8, themes such as safety, respect, responsibility, self-reliance, decision-making, inclusion and connection to the natural world are emphasized. This experience develops the students’ abilities in group and team care, personal leadership, campcraft and cooking skills.

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Explore 9:
In the winter, grade 9 students enjoy a 3 night camping experience at beautiful Whistler Olympic Park. Students practice navigating on snowshoes and learn the new skill of skate skiing. They learn the hazardous attitudes, safe decision making, prudent backcountry travel techniques and leadership through winter travel and camping. In the spring, students embark on their culminating Collingwood Middle School Explore experience, where they choose between sea kayaking near Gabriola Island or coastal hiking along the Juan de Fuca Trail. During this trip, they take on more leadership opportunities and participate in an extensive self-reflection component.

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Leadership 11:
Grade 10 & 11 students wishing to further develop their leadership skills can apply to the exciting Leadership 11 course. This course is a fun, outside the timetable, four credit course. It is designed for students who wish to motivate others, attain self-awareness in their interactions, and ultimately improve their self-confidence in leadership situations. It involves an overnight retreat to Cheakamus Centre, active seminars, a Passion Project/Choose Your Own Leadership component and either a Tall Ships Expedition or a Sayward Lakes Canoe Trip which are spectacular expeditions.

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