Take a Hike is a full-time alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement.
Take a Hike guides and empowers these youth to blaze a trail, a positive path with positive outcomes. With Take a Hike's guidance, every youth will have an opportunity to blaze their own trail--one that is right for them, that empowers them, that gives them survival skills for life.
Not every student fits into the mainstream school system. Students in the Take a Hike program often struggle with issues that have inhibited their success in the mainstream school system such as drug and alcohol addiction, physical and mental abuse, criminal activity, low self-esteem, depression, and/or trauma.
Most students are referred to the program by school counselors or social workers for an opportunity to make lasting change in their lives. Student Stories
Inside Take a Hike
The ultimate goal of the Take a Hike alternative education program is that barriers to learning are minimized, personal issues are addressed, and students achieve a greater level of social and academic success. The program combines the following four aspects:
Adventure-based Learning (ABL):
An ABL Specialist guides students through outdoor day trips and multi-day expeditions. ABL uses physical activities to help youth develop self-directed goals, trust, communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills in a safe, supportive environment. More on ABL
Therapy: Two program therapists provide youth with individual, group, and family counselling in both outdoor and office settings. The therapists aim to change the negative impact the past has on the present, become a better choice maker, increase self-esteem and accept and take responsibility for their own actions.
Academics: At the beginning of the year, the Take a Hike staff meet with each student to assess their academic level and work with them to plan a path that leads to graduation.The outdoor trips also serve to reinforce academic lessons.
Community Involvement: Every student in the Take a Hike program performs a minimum of 60 hours of community service a year. The purpose is to demonstrate to youth that, as members of a larger community, they have a responsibility to others and that their help is needed. Valuable work experience is also gained.
This unique, alternative education program has been very successful in helping Vancouver's at-risk youth work through their emotional issues and addictions, and to develop confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills, and graduate.