Lauren, 16, recalls stepping out onto a frozen lake in Algonquin Park in January to chip ice for drinking water for her fellow campers. “It was minus 27 without the wind chill and I had never done anything like that before.”
The five-day winter camping trip, an integral part of the outdoor education curriculum at Bayview Glen School, in Toronto, contributes to students earning a Duke of Edinburgh Award, says Ed Hitchcock, the school lead on this youth leadership program. “The Grade 10 camping trip helps students earn a silver award,” he says. But more importantly, the group bonding, combined with self-reliance, adds up to a life-altering trip. “Come graduation, it’s the experience everyone recalls,” Ed says.