In secondary schools across the province, some students are falling through the cracks and failing to graduate from high school. In many cases, this is due to their circumstances, not their abilities. At-risk students may find themselves unable to cope in the traditional school system when they are struggling with abuse, addiction, mental health issues, hunger, poverty, or violence.
The team behind Take a Hike includes teachers, clinical therapists, youth and family workers and adventure-based learning specialists. The program establishes the right conditions necessary for students to experience success and provides students the opportunity to graduate, rebuild relationships and develop life skills. It achieves this by uniquely combining adventure-based learning, academics, therapy and community involvement.
Students who haven’t experienced success in the mainstream system are engaged with specialized learning modules providing a pathway to graduation. Learning is self-paced and students and teachers meet regularly to set and review academic goals.
Weekly day trips and multi-day expeditions enable the youth to encounter challenges outside the classroom. Activities such as hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing, and first aid training provide opportunities for students to develop skills and build confidence.
Full-time clinical therapists provide students with individual, group, and family counseling. Experiencing nature and physical challenges with the students on the outdoor expeditions provides a unique opportunity for the therapist to engage with students outside the classroom environment.
Each student in the program completes weekly service to the community. This teaches the youth that as a member of a larger community, they have a responsibility to others and that their contributions are valuable.