Tag Archives: Vancouver Sun

Flash Back Fridays

MONEY A PROBLEM, BUT OUTDOOR COUPLE ‘STILL IN BALL GAME’: PROGRAM BRINGS NATURE LORE TO THOUSANDS

By Moira Farrow, The Vancouver Sun, May 16, 1975

If Jim and Myrna Boulding were out to make money, the last thing they’d be doing is running an outdoor education centre. But that‘s what they have chosen to do so last year they made a profit of $2500 for twelve months of work.

“And it was the first time that we were not in the red” Mrs. Boulding laughed.

Timbers being hewn for use at the Lodge

Timbers being hewn for use at the Lodge

Money has no priority in the Bouldings personal scale of values, but ironically, they spend a lot of time worrying about the lack of it. It’s not possible to give outdoor education to thousands of children and adults every year without cash to pay the bills. “At last we’re still in the ball game and that is where we want to be” Boulding said. “We built the buildings ourselves – we like building  buildings’ said the 43-year-old Boulding who shrugged off the massive construction project as though it were of only minor interest.

The couple has turned their place into an outdoor education centre, where their hearts had always been. They have opened their doors at minimum prices to thousands of young people and even a few senior citizens. Read more

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

BY JANET STEFFENHAGEN, VANCOUVER SUN

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.

jsteffenhagen@vancouversun.com

Read more education news at http://vancouversun.com/reportcard

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Flashback Fridays

ANSWERING THE CALL OF THE WILD

Vancouver Sun (Date of publishing unkown)

If you are looking for a wilderness holiday, a place away from the city concrete and the urban unrest, consider a week-long vacation at Strathcona Outdoor Education Centre on Vancouver Island. This unique lodge offers a family adventure program that will appeal to children as well as parents. You will have an opportunity to explore a piece of the Pacific coast in the area of historic Friendly Cove.

MV UCHUCH III

Young and old alike will be introduced to the 6,000-year history of the Nootka Indians. Participants travel via the vessel, Uchuck III, to spend three days in this area of the west coast of Vancouver Island.

After this experience you take an overnight canoeing trip to the Wolf River.  Here you can enjoy the mountain scenery of Strathcona Park and learn wilderness camping skills. Or, you can choose to stay at Strathcona and take a series of day trips which would take your family on a trail hike; a boat ride to Friendly Cove; learn canoe strokes and take a short ride; visit Quadra Island to study Indian culture; practice sailing in a small craft on Upper Campbell; fish for trout in local waters, or everyone can try his or her skill at rock climbing or rappelling.  Families who have teenagers may be interested in the canoeing, kayaking, coastal and alpine backpacking, and white water canoeing trips offered at the Strathcona centre.  If you feel really adventurous you may choose the 13-day safari which takes you on a west coast canoe camping venture and alpine hikes. You are accompanied by professional guides and all food and equipment is supplied.