Tyler’s Turning Pointby ewsa on Aug 3, 2016 • 2016/08/03 at 12:33 PM
Enviros has been greatly privileged by the amazing people who’ve come through the doors…staff, students and families alike. As a part of our 40th Anniversary celebration, we look to honor those who’ve been a part of the agency and the stories of their time here.
This is Tyler’s Turning Point.
I was a teacher at our Base Camp for eight years. Throughout that time I had the privilege of working with numerous staff and students, some more challenging than others! There are even a few coworkers I still consider friends to this day. It’s extremely difficult to narrow down all that time into a single turning point, so here are a few memories that stand out from my time at camp.
The transformation of the schoolhouse into a living classroom was something that I was very proud of. Originally it was quite boring and drab, but over several months it was converted to an educational space that engaged students and staff alike. School projects, such as the building and installation of bat houses, the implementation of trail cameras, and the creation of curriculum were all exciting opportunities for me. One of my fondest memories, however, was when a single student earned 18 high school credits in a manner of three months. That student managed to get back on track academically and seamlessly reintegrated to mainstream schooling after graduating from camp.
The high ropes course was the source of much frustration and enjoyment over the years. Witnessing students overcome personal challenges while facing their fears was something very powerful and is difficult to describe with words. I can picture one student in particular, brought to the brink of tears just by putting on the harness and climbing to the top of the tower. This student learned more about himself in one afternoon than the rest of the group combined that day! It was always fun, and a little emotional, watching graduating students and their families on the Giant’s Swing, before walking down the phase’s path for the final time.
Wilderness trips were some of the most exciting times for me. It allowed us to see students step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves physically and emotionally. The majority of the students came from urban centres and had spent little to no time outdoors, so activities like paddling, rock climbing, backpacking, or snowshoeing presented a host of new personal challenges that they had to work though. It was always worth it the end just by witnessing a smile on a young person’s face as she stood on top of a mountain she’d just climbed, knowing she’d accomplished so much more!
The sense of belonging and community were never more evident than the ceremonial fires. These rites-of-passage were used to welcome new members to camp and to bid farewell to those continuing their journey. These could be very emotional times for many, as you always knew the dynamic at camp was about to change!
Even as I write this I am reminded of so many wild, crazy, and memorable times that it’s hard not to include them; a minor forest fire near the volleyball court, the dumpster-diving bears, the long and bumpy ride into camp, exploding generators, clearing snow along the 2-Mile using a snow-blower better suited for a driveway, rescuing the 15-passenger van from the Ghost River, AWOL students, a bat in the staff cabin, Ollie getting stuck up a tree, digging countless vehicles out of snow banks, wrangling escaped horses from the Bar-C, and so many more that have already been forgotten!