Category Archives: Kids

BC Teachers Strike

Jamie Boulding was recently interviewed by CHEK News about the BC teachers strike and how it is affecting Strathcona Park Lodge.  Click on this link  to be taken to the news clip called “Field Trips.”

Janet Steffenhagen of the Vancouver Sun writes about the Teacher Strike

B.C. students disappointed, businesses worried as teachers cancel end-of-year camping trips


Students are heartbroken and some parents are fuming after teachers at a Vancouver Island elementary school abruptly cancelled plans for an end-of-year camping trip in Strathcona Park as part of their anti-government protest.

“This is a message I wish I did not have to write,” teacher Denis Morin said in a email to parents of Grade 7 students at Ecole Robb Road, announcing that he and teacher Veronique Turpin will not be going on the five-day trip after all, despite months of planning, fundraising and eager anticipation among their young students.

“I have been struggling with this for quite a while but I feel I have no other options but to stand up and defend what I think is right for public education, for the democratic rights of workers and for the teaching profession,” he said in the email Friday. “The current government is taking the approach that we are their employees and that we should obey their commands.”

Similar messages are being delivered to families around the province following a B.C. Teachers’ Federation decision to withdraw from extracurricular activities to protest a government law that ordered a six-month cooling-off period in their contract feud and installed a mediator to try to resolve numerous issues in dispute.

Shanna Ball, one of the Robb Road parents, said she is furious with the teachers because they had promised the students the trip would go ahead even while union frustration was building during the school year. The parents paid a lump sum of $3,300 to hold space for the students and the deadline for a refund was the end of February.

“The students were crushed,” she said, noting some were in tears. Ball said she was also angry to hear from her daughter that students were told at school that government was to blame for not treating teachers with respect. “They’re indoctrinating these kids — these 12- and 13-year-olds,” she said in an interview.

No one from the school or the district office responded to requests from The Vancouver Sun for an interview.

The BCTF protest is having effects outside the classroom too, as education camps struggle to survive despite a drop in attendance.

“We aren’t predicting that we’ll go broke but it’ll be a rough year,” said Jamie Boulding, executive director of the Strathcona Park Outdoor Education Centre. Although the centre doesn’t cater solely to students, reservations have already plunged by 25 per cent and more cancellations are expected. “It’ll be the end of May before we know the financial impact,” he said.

On Hornby Island, the Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre is also feeling the pinch. “Our numbers are way down,” sighed manager Gord Campbell, and that’s forced him to reduce the number of staff he will employ this summer. The YMCA’s Elphinstone Camp on the Sunshine Coast typically hosts 60 schools at this time of year, but that’s dropped to 46.

While not criticizing teachers for their protest, the camp operators expressed regret that many students were losing wonderful outdoor experiences, such as canoeing, hiking, campfires, leadership lessons and team-building. For students leaving their elementary schools and heading to high school next fall, these end-of-year camps have become a rite of passage.

Boulding said he was particularly sorry for children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. “The schools cancelling first are from the poorest parts of town,” he said. “It’s not a fair world out there.”

Not all teachers are cancelling, although the situation is still in flux. In North Vancouver, for example, the union said its members could still attend the Outdoor School/Big House as long as they did not provide supervision or instruction outside of regular school hours. The district recently nixed that idea, saying it couldn’t guarantee student safety under those conditions. Discussions continue.

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Thanks for the great Spring!

Spring has come and gone.  It’s officially summer as of yesterday which means school is just about done or finished for some.  We’ve had another great spring of school groups and we would like to thank them all for coming.

Here is a reflection from a 13 year old grade 8 student from McNair Secondary who came here in September 2008.  As educators we may never see the effect that we have on a child; comments like this let us know that we are making a difference.

“This camp (Strathcona) had really taught me a lot about myself and who I can be.  I learned that it’s about putting your all into something and believing you can do it.  It isn’t really about being the first one to finish, or being the best at something because the only one you’re competing against is yourself.  If you go further than you ever dreamed possible or if you take one more step when you thought you couldn’t go anymore, that is what you truly should be proud of.”

For those interested in coming during the summer we have our Wilderness Youth Leadership Development (WYLD) camps for youth aged 12-17.  More information can be found by clicking HERE.  As well, if you are a youth group, team, or looking for a team initiative we can accommodate you.  More information can be found by clicking HERE.


Kayaking in one of the three swim bays.

Wilderness Youth Leadership Development

Some people ask us what we do here at Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre and why they should come here.  Here is a quote from a Southridge Grade 10 student in 2010.  It sums up a lot of what we hope to achieve when people leave the lodge.

“Our leaders got us to play a few quick games that first day, and over the course of the next five days we learned many more, like the “human knot” and others.  Each game was fun, but it was more than that.  Each game taught us who we are or where we stand or how we deal with tricky situations in terms of leadership.  With each game I gained more confidence to speak out, which is something I can hopefully continue improving over the course of my life. That’s what the annual grade 8 and 9 trip to Strathcona is about.  Learning about who you are without technology and becoming a leader.”

Enjoying the sunset after sea kayaking in Nootka Sound


Imagine the possibilities!


Anti Bullying Day