Adventure-based learning is a critical component of the Take a Hike program. Teaching staff guide at-risk youth through outdoor adventures that require increasingly complex skills. Adventure-based learning uses physical activities to help youth develop self-directed goals, trust, communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills. It also provides a safe and supportive environment for building self-esteem and self-motivation, and is instrumental to the successful turnaround of students' lives.
The Take a Hike adventure-based learning program includes canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, swimming, cross-country skiing, hiking, snow caving, snowshoeing, and more. Students also complete a Wilderness First-Aid and Lifesaving course. Each year the students participate in three multi-day expeditions, including the following:
These adventure-based learning activities focus on real-life situations and experiences which require problem solving, peer dependence, goal setting, leadership, and commitment. The students gain constructive and character-building experiences as they conquer what can appear to be overwhelming personal challenges.
Adventure-based learning is an effective way for at-risk Vancouver youth to deal with their personal issues. Outdoor activities trigger sensations, such as anxiety and self-doubt, which provide unique and powerful therapeutic opportunities to address students' deeply rooted personal issues. Counselling staff is present on all outings, which provide them with regular opportunities to counsel at-risk Vancouver youth on how to identify and take responsibility for their feelings and actions.