Take a Hike is Ready to Expand


Request for Expressions of Interest

13 December 2017 



Are you looking for a proven alternative education program that re-engages vulnerable youth?

Do you believe in the power of improving youth’s social-emotional skills, mental health and well-being?

Have you looked at Take a Hike before, but for some reason stopped?


  If so, you are encouraged to read on…

Take a Hike is actively seeking school districts that are interested in partnering to offer this proven, life-changing, alternate education program.

In partnership with the Vancouver, Kootenay-Columbia and Burnaby School Districts, we have re-engaged hundreds of vulnerable youth in high school, helped them overcome their barriers to success and graduate with their Dogwood Diploma. Take a Hike students demonstrate markedly improved attendance (most students double their pre-Take a Hike attendance levels), graduation rates of around 80% and increased social-emotional skills, mental health and well-being.

Take a Hike has simplified our program development process and minimized common barriers faced by school districts. If you’ve explored Take a Hike in the past and stopped, we’d encourage you to look again.

About Take a Hike

Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation works in partnership with local school districts and communities to re-engage youth in high school, help them overcome their barriers to success and graduate with their Dogwood Diploma. We do this by focusing on the core high school curriculum, while engaging students with adventure-based learning, therapy and community involvement. We provide one registered clinical counselor per classroom to help students build social and emotional skills, find healthy ways to cope with life’s stressors, and improve mental health and well-being. At the heart of Take a Hike’s transformational changes are the deep relationships that form between students, staff members and the community.

School districts provide all the resources they would normally provide for an alternate classroom. Community members raise awareness, volunteer support and some funds to support the classroom. The Take a Hike Foundation provides the successful model for program delivery, staff and staff support, expertise in community engagement and program implementation, and funding.

Take a Hike has a ten-year vision of partnering with every school district in BC that has a need, desire and capacity for a Take a Hike program. Programs have operated in partnership with the Vancouver School Board since 2000. We opened programs in partnership with the Kootenay-Columbia and Burnaby School Districts in 2013 and 2014 respectively, and we are targeting a program with Surrey Schools opening in September 2018. We anticipate opening two programs in September 2019, and are looking to develop a pipeline of 5-10 school districts with whom to partner to open programs before 2022.

Request for Expressions of Interest from Potential Program Partners

Take a Hike is actively seeking expressions of interest from school districts that would like to partner to offer the Take a Hike program. The launch of a Take a Hike program takes from 12 to 24 months. Desirable attributes of communities and school districts we seek to partner with include:

  • Support from the local school district: Superintendent or Chair of Board of Education support, plus senior administrators and classroom staff (e.g. Director of Instruction or District Principal of Alternate Education, and teachers or youth workers) available to participate in program implementation.
  • A group of community members committed to raising funds, awareness and support for the program.
  • Significant need for and population to support the program.

We have taken our learnings from opening new programs and simplified our program development process. We have removed many of the common barriers experienced by school districts and communities, including:

  • Reduced need for fund development.
  • Reduced need for up-front community engagement.
  • Flexibility on the Adventure Based Learning Specialist role.
  • Improved evidence base for our program model and theory of change.

To Express Interest

Questions about Take a Hike or the expression of interest process can be directed to: 


Gordon Matchett, Chief Executive Officer



Sevan Kadian