Category Archives: Wilderness Youth Leadership Development (WYLD)

Find out everything related to the school programs and teen summer camps at Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre.

WYLD Summer Camp: Backcountry Beginnings – Rock Climbing and Multi Day Camping

Backcountry Beginnings – Rock Climbing and Multi Day Camping

WYLD BackcountryBeginningsAGE GROUP: 14-16
Length: 8 DAYS
Cost: $1095
Dates: July 20-27, 2013
Skills: Backcountry Basics, Paddle Strokes, Rock Climbing, Map and Compass
Difficulty Level: Introductory/Moderate
By the end of this moderately challenging backcountry introduction participants will be leading the group as they travel by sea kayak and by foot in the Strathcona Park wilderness.







This introduction to backcountry travel is a sampling of the best of Strathcona’s chunk of paradise: rock climbing and high ropes at Strathcona Park Lodge; day hikes into the Vancouver Island mountains; and a multi-day sea kayak trip on glacier carved lakes. You’ll challenge yourself high off the ground, hike a pristine valley and follow bear and elk tracks across an estuary, all while learning how to be self sufficient in the backcountry.

Day 1: After arriving at Strathcona you’ll meet your fellow Expedition members and your instructors. The instructors will show you around the Lodge and play a few games to get to know your group. You’ll also begin planning your Expedition. Dinner is in the Whale Room and you’ll sleep at the Lodge’s base camp.

Day 2: The high ropes course will be your first challenge. Suspended 40-feet off the ground the ropes, logs and wires are a physical and mental challenge that requires team work and trust to navigate. It’s also a lot of fun. In the afternoon you’ll head down to the water to become familiar with sea kayaking skills, strokes and rescues in preparation for your kayak expedition. Eat and base camp at the lodge.

Day 3: Start the day with another challenge, this time on the rock climbing bluff to learn the basics of climbing, knot tying, rope systems, safety equipment, rappelling and grabbing the rock to climb up. Getting off the ground and reaching the top will require teamwork, trust and perseverance. The feeling of accomplishment at the top is matched by the adrenaline of rappelling back down. After lunch you’ll pack your sea kayak and head out on an adventure.

Day 4-7: Over the next four days you’ll explore Upper Campbell and Buttle lakes. You might take side trips into the river mouths, or look for the perfect swimming spot, or you may just lay back and float enjoying mountain rimmed lakes. A highlight of this expedition is a day hike through the pristine Tlools Valley where you will attempt to reach spectacular Mia falls. Tlools is a wild and rugged old growth valley, home to abundant wildlife. By the last few days you and your group will become self sufficient, you’ll be taking over the decision making from your instructors, you’ll navigate, pick campsites, set up camp, prepare meals and light fires. A celebratory dinner and last night with your group rounds out your WYLD experience.

Day 8: On your final day, paddle back to Strathcona Park Lodge, enjoy a shower, clean up, pack up and head home knowing you have accomplished more than you likely thought possible; proud of your new skills, increased confidence and shared memories.

WYLD Summer Camp: Discovery Camp – High Ropes, Canoeing, Rock Climbing and Hiking

 Discovery Camp – High Ropes, Canoeing, Rock Climbing and Hiking

WYLD DiscoveryCampAGE GROUP: 12-13
Length: 8 DAYS
Cost: $1095
Date: July 13-20, 2013
Skills: Backcountry Basics, Paddle Strokes, Rock Climbing, Map and Compass
Difficulty: introductory/moderate

Our introductory camp combines an overnight canoe trip and a mountain hike with rock climbing and high ropes course at Strathcona Park Lodge.







Strathcona Park Lodge sits on the edge of the vast lake system in the shadow of Vancouver Island’s highest mountains. The Discovery Expedition brings in the best of both worlds – campers will paddle down fjord-like Buttle Lake with snowcapped mountains all around and hike deep into Strathcona Provincial Park to visit one of its hidden jewels, Landslide Lake.

Day 1: After arriving at Strathcona you’ll meet your fellow Expedition members and your instructors. The instructors will show you around the Lodge and play a few games to get to know your group. You’ll also begin planning your Expedition. Dinner is in the Whale Room and the night is spent at the Lodge.

Day 2: To the High Ropes Course you’ll go. Suspended 40-feet in the air this exciting challenge is a fun introduction to your Expedition. After lunch at the Whale Room you’ll pack canoes and set off for a three day canoe trip. The trip starts on Upper Campbell Lake with its intricate shoreline full of bays and sandy beaches before passing through the narrows into Buttle Lake, and Strathcona Park.

Day 3-4: Exploring coves, bays and river mouths you’ll paddle down Buttle Lake under the towering massifs of snow capped mountains. The scenery is spectacular looking down this long and narrow lake. In camp you’ll work as a team to set up shelter and make meals. You’ll learn about no trace camping, canoe strokes and more. If the wind blows you’ll hoist a sail and relax before returning to Strathcona Park Lodge before lunch on day 4. After lunch you’ll be able to test your climbing skills on one of the rock climbing bluffs and then move onto the bouldering wall where you’ll learn about technique. You’ll then head to a rock cliff near the lodge and you’ll learn rock climbing etiquette, proper harnessing, climbing, belaying and the rappelling technique. After your climb, enjoy a meal in the Whale Room and a night at the Lodge.

Day 5-7: An after-breakfast shuttle will land the group at the Elk River Trail in Strathcona Park – this will be the start of a three day hike. This excellent hike climbs through old growth forest to Landslide Lake, one of the most scenic lakes on Vancouver Island, surrounded by the towering walls of Mount Colonel Foster. This is your group’s opportunity to use everything you have learned to fully manage the navigation, campsite selection and set-up, and meal planning and preparation. Upon completion of your hike, head back for a celebratory feast in the Whale Room and your final night together at the Lodge.

Day 8: After packing up, enjoy a final morning of fun and games before travelling home.

WYLD Summer Camp – Duke of Edingburgh Gold Award Adventurous Journey

New for 2013!! Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Adventurous Journey

Length: 6 DAYS
Cost: $795
Date: July 2-7, 2013
Skills: Trip Planning and Preparation, Backcountry Basics, Paddle Strokes, Canoe Tripping, Map and Compass, Navigation
Difficulty: moderate/challenging

The Gold Adventurous Journey will take participants on a multi-day canoe trip of the scenic Sayward Canoe Circuit on Vancouver Island. This 48 km chain of lakes, creeks and portages is an ideal destination for the aspiring canoeist. The trip is designed to specifically meet the criteria of the Gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and includes the preliminary training, practice journey and expedition. The journey is supervised by two Strathcona Park Lodge outdoor instructors and all group gear, canoes, meals and shuttles are all included.

Prior to the trip participants will receive a worksheet to complete and bring with them to help get started with the preliminary training.

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Adventurous Journey Itinerary

duke of ed gold award(web)Day 1: Participants will be met in Campbell River or can be dropped off at Strathcona Park Lodge. The first afternoon will be spent getting to know other members of the group and the instructors while getting right into planning for the expedition. Going over gear, discussing the route and getting on the water the first day will build excitement for the trip ahead. A hearty dinner in the Whale Room will fill you up and prepare you for the first night camping on property. This night counts as the first practice journey for participants entering directly into Gold.

Day 2: Final preparations in the morning, loading the canoes on the trailer, lunch in the Whale Room and then into the van for the short drive to the put-in for the start of the journey. A short paddle to a campsite is perfect to hone paddling and steering skills. The first night out with the canoes will count as the second practice journey.

Days 3 – 5: According to the Duke of Ed participant’s record book, the expedition is to be a demanding journey – and these days will be. From the time you break camp in the morning until you lay down in your sleeping bag at night, you can expect to paddle, portage and work together to travel over the water and land of this scenic area. Along the way you’ll check out small islands, isolated beaches, stands of old growth trees, and old trestle bridges that are remnants of the logging railroads that used to crisscross the landscape.

Day 6: Your final day begins in camp and ends when you board the shuttle for the trip home. By now your packing and paddling skills will be dialled in and the last few kilometres will glide by. Back at the lodge there will just be time to clean up, change and fill in your record book before heading to Campbell River on your return journey. All that is left for you to do is write up your trip report and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Wordle from Thompson Elementary School

How would you describe the Strath experience in one word?

How would you describe the Strath experience in one word?

Crofton House Visits Strathcona Park Lodge

St. Margaret’s School Picture Slide Show

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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