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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Choose Your Own Leadership component and either a Tall Ships Expedition or a Sayward Lakes Canoe Trip which are spectacular expeditions.