Local At-Risk Teens Step Onto a Positive Path


Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation continues to expands its reach

Vancouver, BC – This week’s return to classes is especially good news for participants of a local alternative education program. Students and staff in the Take a Hike Youth at Risk program are eager to embark on an adventure-based learning journey that mixes traditional classroom time with a unique blend of outdoor education, therapy, and community involvement.

“The school year couldn’t have come soon enough,” said Matthew Coyne, CEO of Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation. “Not only were we anxiously waiting to officially launch our Take a Hike Burnaby program, but September is a critical month for our program staff and students to establish trust, build relationships and foster the supportive environment that is so imperative for the success of our students and the program.”

After 14 hugely successful years in Vancouver and an equally impressive expansion in the West Kootenays last year, the program is set to expand again, this time collaborating with School District 41 to support at-risk Burnaby youth in grades 10 through 12. In the proven Vancouver program’s footsteps, Take a Hike Burnaby will introduce students to outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, canoeing and snowshoeing, and will support students in developing valuable communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

“It is a tremendous relief to be able to get back to work so we may give our students the help they need to meet success both in school and in their lives,” said Meghan McCann, Adventure-Based Learning Specialist for Take a Hike Vancouver. “Taking students outside is one of the cornerstones of the program, and these transformative experiences help break down barriers between people and build a strong network of support in the community.”

Each localized program supports 20 students facing issues that have inhibited their success in the mainstream school system such as drug and alcohol addiction, physical or mental abuse, criminal activity, low self-esteem, depression, and trauma, and the program’s distinctly holistic model offers them innovative ways to work through their problems.

“I am looking forward to providing opportunities for students to directly experience the curriculum and guiding students as they begin their journey to become passionate and feel responsibility for themselves and their community.” said Dallas Plensky, Teacher at the new Take a Hike Burnaby. “This, I think, is the ultimate goal of education – to excite, engage, and evoke intrinsic curiosity in the world and people around us.”

Learn more:

About Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation

Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation offers an alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement. The program is offered in Vancouver, West Kootenay and Burnaby to youth in grades 10-12 who have few remaining options and enables them to positively change their lives.


Photographs available: Photo 1; Photo 2; Photo 3.

Cutline: Nature is often the classroom for Take a Hike students.