SMUS’s Club Hub: Outdoor Leadership

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SMUS students have access to a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities that interest them. We offer more than 100 fun and rewarding clubs or councils that provide students of all ages with leadership experience, skill development, and a chance to contribute to life on campus and in our greater community. The SMUS Review is currently highlighting these extracurricular activities and the passionate students who get involved.

Today, Grade 11 student Sara Owen-Flood writes about her experience participating in the Outdoor Leadership program.

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by Sara Owen-Flood

Over the February mid-term break, Outdoor Leadership students participated in Winter Camp. After a detailed gear check the week before, my peers and I travelled on touring skis or snowshoes to a camping spot in Manning Park. We learned how to camp on the snow in tents, build snow kitchens and we were able to tour the area. On the trip, I was able to meet new people I would have never otherwise met. I strengthened old friendships and built new ones. We were introduced to ski touring and equipment, as well as winter camping techniques, which helps all the students prepare for the counselor roles we’ll take on during the Grade 9/10 outdoor trips this fall.

Outdoor Leadership is a practical, hands-on and experiential course that is unlike anything else offered at SMUS. It encourages students to push themselves past their self-imposed limits.

Outdoor Leadership is a Grade 11 credit course outside of the timetable. Over the years, it has provided students with the opportunity to develop their outdoor knowledge through multiple out trips, training sessions and mentorship. As Senior School students, we are given the chance to use our outdoor knowledge to help guide younger students on their outdoor trips. When not on camping trips, Outdoor Leadership involves evening sessions and wilderness aid certification. As an Outdoor Leader, one develops skills in a wide variety of outdoor activities. We set individual and group goals, which we work to achieve and often exceed. We strengthen our leadership, individual responsibility and self-discipline skills. During these experiences, true character emerges. The program deepens students’ appreciation and respect for the natural environment.

I was intimidated when I first heard of Outdoor Leadership, as I believed extensive knowledge and experience in the outdoors would be needed to succeed. Fortunately, I was proven wrong, as no prior experience was required to participate. I decided to sign up because I wanted to improve my outdoor skills and develop as a leader. Since I did not participate in the Experiential Program in Grade 10, this seemed to be a great opportunity for me. Anyone who has a passion or interest in the outdoors and a desire to SMUS-SS-OutdoorLeadership-02further leadership abilities should consider joining Outdoor Leadership.

What I enjoy most about the Outdoor Leadership program is the challenge and the caliber of the experience. It is a practical, hands-on and experiential program that is unlike anything else offered at SMUS. It encourages students to push themselves past their self-imposed limits. With each experience I have been able to succeed in ways I would never have previously thought possible. I am able to gain skills and confidence by overcoming the limits I once placed on myself. The skills one learns in this program are valuable beyond the outdoors; they can be adapted to everyday life. As well as the exercise and new experiences, Outdoor Leadership focuses on leadership, teamwork, and hard work, emphasized through planning and goal-setting. I am very glad to have joined the program and I look forward to the experiences that lie ahead.

For a visual look inside the Outdoor Leadership program, take a look at this video in which Gareth and Celine talk about their experience.
Learn more about all of the clubs, councils and extracurricular activities at SMUS’s Junior, Middle and Senior schools.

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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