Trip of a Lifetime for St. Charles College Students
Last month 15 students from St. Charles College went on the vacation of a lifetime. From April 12 – 20, 2013, as part of the school’s Specialist High Skills Major (S.H.S.M.) in Health and Wellness, these students, accompanied by two teachers, had the opportunity to visit the country of Guatemala to work with a restoration group in local communities. Based on the belief that “if you can keep a community environmentally healthy, you can keep the community physically healthy” teacher Tim Kingshott led the students to support the Chico Mendez Project which is a non-profit organization based out of Guatemala which works towards reforestation of the forests, the provision of environmental education, and the generation of oxygen for the world. The students helped collect soil and loam to mix and prep for the next round of trees that were scheduled to be planted in the areas they visited.
As well as the community service, another aspect of their trip was a homestay with a family from Guatemala. Each student had the opportunity to live with a Guatemalan family and experience their traditional culture.
In order to prepare for this trip, the students were required to learn the basics of First Aid, as well as travel and health/safety. The group even learned a little Spanish in order to support their communication skills during their adventure.
Kingshott, who is also an outdoor education teacher, organized many hikes, and other outdoor activities including ziplining. “This is the fourth year I have brought St. Charles College students to another country for the S.H.S.M. in Health and Wellness,” Kingshott stated. “Four years ago I took students to Ecuador, then Costa Rica, then Belize and this year Guatemala. It is such a life changing opportunity for these grade 11 and 12 students as they take part in real hands on learning. At the end of these trips, they take away skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. These experiences are history and learning based, curriculum based, and most importantly adventure based – all the while pushing the students beyond their comfort zone – there is no better way to learn!”