Making tarp shelters, learning firearm and boat safety, getting Search and Rescue skills to help people in need: it’s all possible at Nakusp Secondary School through Outdoor Education. Instructor Dorian Boswell has developed a curriculum that will give kids hunting, WHIMIS, road flagging and boating safety certification as well hands-on experience practising survival skills that could be the difference between life and death in the bush.
The program is popular with the students who take it because not only have a great time, they also see how it could help them after they’ve left school. Grade 12 student Erin McLeod said she is really enjoying Outdoor Ed, and thinks it’s a great idea to get more kids doing it.
“So far, my favourite activities have been making fires, working with maps,” said McLeod, who received some helicopter training last week during the high school’s Explore Day. She’s also looking forward to maybe doing some avalanche safety training this winter in the course.
Student Jacob Henschke was impressed that the class was receiving training and certification that had real-world applications and could lead to well-paid jobs out of school.
The Outdoor Ed’s overnight stay was a hit with many of the kids, some of whom are excited about the winter camping trip. But it’s not just about fun and games: the students clearly see the practical benefits of not only getting a head start with some useful certification but just being able to survive outdoors.
“People never think that it will ever happen to them, being lost in the woods, cold and alone,” said one student, “I hope it never happens to me or a loved one, but if it does this course is going to prepare me for the worst.” Not only do the students learn how to survive, but they are also receiving Ground Search and Rescue training, which teaches them how to search for lost people and transport the injured.
If you or your kids want to see what the Outdoor Ed program is up to this year, come to the Nakusp Secondary School open house on Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 5-7:30 p.m.