This year’s Grade 6 Winter School Program at Gavin Lake Camp was sponsored largely by Mountain Equipment Co-op through its “Community Contribution Program.”
“This is a great chance to introduce kids in our communities to the fantastic recreational opportunities a Cariboo winter has to offer,” camp manager Mike Tudor said. Apparently MEC agrees, as they funded the instruction, food, cook staff and accommodation for the overnight visits of classes from around the region, with participants from both school districts 27 and 28.
From Quesnel, Carson elementary school students with teacher Marguerite Hall participated.
“We had a ton of snow this year which made everything that much better,” Tudor said. Students were introduced to outdoor sport and forest ecology through three separate teaching modules.
Animal tracking on skis taught them how to identify tracks in the snow and then use this information to put together a local wildlife census.
Most of the participants had never cross country skied before and the downhill sections were especially thrilling.
Another module was the forest discovery trail which was done on snowshoes.
The kids were led through the woods by a local forester and introduced to a variety of cool aspects of forest ecology.
The final module was snow science in which they learned “everything we could cram in their heads” about snow, including its importance to our watersheds and a very popular activity involving avalanche safety in which the students got to use locating beacons to rescue a buried skier.
There were also a bunch of free time activities to keep the kids busy between classes with a skating rink, toboggan run, ice fishing and the sweat lodge. Between these, the chores and the active modules a lot of the students slept on the bus ride home.
“There is a great group of staff and volunteers that make the program run like clockwork and it has been very gratifying for all of us to have a big, well respected organization like MEC buy in to what we are doing out here,” Tudor said.
MEC provided $5,000 worth of core funding while School District 27 provided a bus credit and Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society helped with the instruction for the snow module.
The Quesnel Rotary Club bought the avalanche beacons and Mark at Red Shreds gave us a “smoking” deal on them.
Many thanks to all the programs supporters and all other supporters throughout the year.