Summer camp activities:

Depending on the camp, activities vary. They may include hiking, climbing, canoeing, alpine explorations, tenting, team building activities, photography, fine arts, and wilderness survival skills. Participants learn about our local ecosytems through fun, hands-on activities in some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in our region. Embedded within all camps is the development of the participant as a leader and a team-member. Activities are led by a team of naturalists, biologists, artists, certified teachers, horticulturists and specialists in outdoor and experiential education.

 

Shuswap Wild Wonders summer camps operate under The Shuswap Outdoor Learning Foundation, a registered charity in Canada. We are largely a volunteer run organization made up of professionals that believe strongly in the value of connecting people with nature. Click HERE to visit our website.

 

Mission
Creating meaningful outdoor experiences for all ages that enable personal growth, while inspiring wonder and a deeper connection to the natural world.

Vision
Inspire wonder and awe in the wild spaces throughout the Shuswap, thus cultivating a connection to place and an ethic of care for our natural environment.

History
In 2011, a group of a dozen local advocates for children, youth, and the environment began meeting on a regular basis to discuss how to improve the state of outdoor learning in the Shuswap. These people represented a wide range of groups, and among them were teachers, First Nations educators, regional planners, biologists, parents and seniors. The group agreed that the Shuswap offers an amazing network of trails and parks in our region that are underutilized by children and youth. As the meetings progressed, it was determined that an organization needed to be put in place to facilitate, co-ordinate and liaise with organizations in this field and all things related to outdoor learning in the region.

In 2012, after a great deal of research and reflection, the groups’ first public endeavor was undertaken, a pilot-project titled “Shuswap Wild Wonders”. Three instructors teamed up to plan and deliver a resource rich and educationally charged outdoor summer day camp for kids aged 7-9 years. The feedback from participants, parents and the community at large was very positive – most of them requesting more camps for the next year that were of longer duration.

In the spring of 2013, The Shuswap Outdoor Learning Foundation was founded and registered as a BC society. Planning for summer camps began in earnest; members began giving talks around Salmon Arm, educating the public about the importance of outdoor learning. Two local newspapers wrote articles on our camps and principals throughout the school district kindly offered to advertise our summer camps in their school newsletters in support of outdoor learning for children.

In the spring of 2014, SOLF obtained charitable status and delivered 4 summer camps. We piloted a partnership with School District 83, offering outdoor based programs to classes; connecting kids to wild spaces throughout the Shuswap. Support was provided to School District-based events, such as "Outdoor Awesome" and supported the delivery of Professional Development days to teachers. We hosted our first fundraiser concert at the Wicked Spoon, celebrating our organiztional growth and raising money for our various programs.

2015 proves to be an exciting year. We are piloting an outdoor learning summer camp for adults, a French camp, an outdoor-based art camp, and for the first time are offering programs for children that have just completed Kindergarten and Grade 9. Our school programs are gaining momentum and we are currently discussing the potential development of an outdoor school (hopefully more details to come soon!)

What We Do
Shuswap Wild Wonders” Outdoor Learning Camps: Camps ranged from 3-4 days in length. The camps offer a high quality of education, taught by highly qualified professionals including teachers, wildlife biologists and horticulturists. Activities included hiking, canoeing, climbing environmental education, fine arts, team-building and leadership activities. The key objective of these camps are to connect children to the beautiful natural spaces the Shuswap has to offer, while providing fun educational experiences that enhance their knowledge of the outdoors.

School Programs: Our most recent area of growth is in partnership with teachers in School District 83. Applying the same pedagogical approach our summer camps offer, we take classes out on outdoor learning field trips throughout the school year. Some classes stay on school grounds or in natural green spaces nearby the school, while other classes venture onto our trails and into our regional and provincial parks around the Shuswap.

Community Lectures: Our members deliver free talks around our community for Parent Advisory Councils and local businesses. The aim of these talks is to share the research that demonstrates the social and physical benefits to children by spending time outdoors.

Organizational partnership: We are currently working with School District 83 to develop creative ways to increase outdoor learning experiences for students during the school year as an integrated part of their curriculum. We partner with the Shuswap Trail Alliance and the CSRD among other local organizations to develop educational opportunities in parks and trails in the region.

Board of Directors
Geoff Styles
Jeremy Ayotte
Ceren Caner

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