"Without the program I would not be the person that I am today"
Hi so my name is Alex and I have been a student in the Take A Hike Program for three years now. Over these three years I have experienced a lot of personal growth. I guess my story starts in the 2012-2013 school year, I was in grade 9 at Killarney secondary school and attending maybe 3 days of school a week. That was up until mid-February, after that I just stopped going altogether. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to go to school most days so I kind of gave up on the school year, why bother wasting my time with classes I wasn’t going to pass. I ended up hearing about the Take A Hike program somehow and I thought “that sounds fun” with all the trips and out days. I realized that it was far more than what I had initially thought of the program, this is because during the interview that I had with Ryan Pete walked in all sweaty and started grilling me with questions that made me actually think hard to answer. The questions weren’t what changed my initial perspective but the fact that the teachers did PE with the students. On the first day of school it occurred to me that I didn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the students there. I wasn’t there for any of the reasons that anyone else was so I just kept to myself for most of the year. I actually did fairly well for the first few months of school but around winter brake I started to miss 2-3 days of school a week again. It was around this time that I had my first meeting with Pete. I kind of brushed off the meeting because I thought that “I don’t have depression or anything like that”. One way or another I made it through to the end of the year trip, this trip I consider a turning point in my life. It was a 6 day sea kayaking trip in John Stone Straight and we had a pretty good group. I didn’t realize it at the time but it was a really good trip. On this trip I had some good talks with Pete and they helped me put my life in perspective. I’m still not even sure what changed but whatever did it changed for the better.
In Grade 11 I was almost a completely different person, I got all my work done came to school every day did optional volunteering started to be more social my personal fitness increased and I really started to see the value in the therapy that we are offered at school. My school work improved in quality and I enjoyed the trips far more than I had the year prior. I also started to really value the opportunities and experiences that I was afforded in my schooling. I think the things that I blew off in the years previously started to hold more and more weight for me, a good example of this is personal reflection and just talking about things with people. Again the last trip of the year rolled around and it was another important part of my life. I was able to put the past years events into perspective and have some good talks to help about things that had been bugging me.
The start of this school year brought a new classroom and a new teacher. It also brought a new trip that was another important event for me. There is a bit of a trend isn’t there, I find that being out in the middle of nowhere really helps meaningful insight. On this 10 day canoeing trip in the Bowron Lakes I had a real epiphany about what I wanted to do with myself. This experience was really powerful because it happened during the solo, while I was sitting there by the fire I had made and watching the sun slip away behind the peaks of the mountains I was hit by wall of emotion that really came out of nowhere. Since then I have continued to do well in school and grow as an individual.
I owe a lot to the staff and donors of the Take A Hike program for giving me and many other the opportunity to grow as individuals and not slip through the cracks of the schooling system. Without the program I would not be the person that I am today, and I would probably have ended up dropping out of high school at grade nine. Take a Hike has had a huge impact on me mentally, emotionally, and physically. So again sincerely thank you for everything that you guys give so students like me and my classmates have a second chance to succeed.
— Alex, Student @VancouverAll Student Stories