Our Model


Every child needs access to a quality public education that gives them the opportunity to reach their full potential, but not everyone fits into the mainstream school system.

Take a Hike is a full-time alternate education program that supports vulnerable youth in grades 10-12 to overcome barriers to achieving success in school and in their lives. We use the outdoors and adventure to engage students in school, community, and mental health supports. Our goal is to help students build the skills and resilience they need not just to graduate, but to navigate life as they become young adults.

Over the course of almost two decades, Take a Hike has developed an effective, trauma-informed, evidence-based program model.



Self-paced, individualised education plans and a focus on experiential learning give students the opportunity to relate to academics differently and take all the courses required to graduate from high school.



Embedded in each classroom is a full-time registered clinical counsellor who provides intensive support, helping students to build social and emotional skills and address mental health concerns. Take a Hike is one of the few educational or outdoor programs in British Columbia that has dedicated mental health services woven into the program.

Adventure-Based Learning 


Students can have fun, connect classroom learning to real-world experience, and build and test relationships in the outdoors during one out-day each week and three multi-day wilderness trips each year. Around half to three quarters of our students will leave the city for the first time with Take a Hike.

Community Involvement


Through volunteering and being supported by volunteer tutors and mentors, students learn to trust that the community can support them and that their own contributions are valued.

At the heart of the successes we see in students is a unique classroom community. Students spend all day, every day with the same twenty students and four staff members. The classroom quickly feels like a tight-knit family. The classroom is built on a foundation of safe and caring relationships, a safe, inclusive, and predictable environment, tailored supports and strategies aligned with attachment-based and trauma-informed approaches, continuous and intensive shared time and learning among staff and students, and high expectations for student success.

Learn more about our program model and evidence-based theory of change, developed over almost twenty years of student success.


Student Intake


If you are a student that would like to apply to the Take a Hike program or a parent or counsellor looking for information, please contact the school district intake personnel below, listed under each program location. They will gladly answer your questions and provide you with guidance.

Access our application paperwork here.

Please note that intake is determined through the school districts that we are partnered with, and generally filled and completed for each September school year start, in May/June.  

Take a Hike Burnaby

Peter Van Den Hoogen
(available year-round) 



Take a Hike Vancouver

Grade 10/11 
Adriann Conner (available September – June) 

Grade 11/12 
Keri Tomlinson (available September – June) 

Take a Hike West Kootenay

Chris Gibson
(available September – June) 
250.364.1275 Ext. 270


Take a Hike Nanaimo

Take a Hike Delta

Brett Hancock
(available September – June) 

Richard Kirincic
(available September – June) 




FIVE Districts Across BC

Since 2000, the Take a Hike alternative education program has been empowering vulnerable senior high school students in Vancouver to turn their lives around.

The program has since expanded to the West Kootenay and Burnaby, and recently opened in Delta in February 2019.

In September 2019 Take a Hike will open its first classroom on Vancouver Island.