It was recently that Nakusp Secondary school’s Outdoor Education course had their “Amazing Race,” their own version of the popular TV Series that serves as a test of skills they have learned in the current duration of the class. After having talked with the teacher, Dorian Boswell, I learned a bit more of what the course is all about.
Before Mr. Boswell began teaching at our school, a Mr. Scown taught a course in hunter training, called Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE). Through this accessible course, students would be able to get their hunting licence. Before Mr. Boswell became a science teacher at Nakusp Secondary, he came with the intention of teaching students in something he already had much experience in, hunting and firearms safety.
With his prior experience, he extended the content of CORE and introduced boating, ATV driving and firearms into our students’ education, as well as skills such as knot-tying (three different types of knots, to be specific), lashing, fly-fishing and fly-tying. This has lead to the course’s general title of “Outdoor Education.”
Mr. Boswell explains that the purpose of the course is to promote safety and educate students in proper use of equipment and skills that they learn about in the length of the course, such as their firearms unit that will be beginning shortly this term. They will be learning about various types of ammunition and, most significantly, how to use the firearms responsibly in the hunting activities (that are extremely popular within our community), leading to the eventual attainment of a hunting licence for the students.
The course has proven to be very beneficial to students over the years, teaching, among other things, useful building skills, as Mr. Boswell tells me, of wooden structures that past students have learned to build and disassemble within one hour.
After inquiring about the Outdoor Ed.’s “Amazing Race,” I learned that the idea came to Mr. Boswell a few years ago after having watched the game show, and it had occurred to him how useful it would serve as a test for the Outdoor Ed. class. Every year Mr. Boswell chooses to have the course in the worst weather he can attain, the most preferable being cold, windy, perhaps some snow and very, very damp. This gives students a particular challenge in tasks such as starting a fire with only the aid of flint and steel, as well as other things that they have studied over the semester.
One of the winners of this year’s Amazing Race, Brody Jordan, apparently had no trouble in the test. He claims that the course is very fun and everything he had expected it to be. One of his team-members, Justin Hellyer, explains how Mr. Boswell is a great teacher, instructing them with lots of hands-on training.
Members of their team won fly-rods and fly-tie kits. Other prizes were multi-purpose tools, flint-and steel, buffs and fish plugs. A student expressed to me his hopes of taking the course next school year, after seeing the enjoyment of previous students, and his desire to learn what the course has to offer, as is evident, a very substantial amount.