Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why We Give to OBC: CMH

Outward Bound Canada is extremely thankful for the generous individuals, foundations and organizations that help us make our mission and vision a reality. We love to hear from these supporters about why they believe in what we do and why they choose to stand alongside us as we deliver our charitable programs to the individuals who really need them. In this issue of Fresh Tracks, we are proud to share the story of our collaboration with CMH Heli-Skiing and Summer Adventures. Celebrating 50 years of heli-adventures, CMH is the world’s first Heli-Skiing and Heli-Hiking operator. From their head office in Banff, CMH operates exceptional mountain experiences based from 11 lodges located in the Bugaboo, Purcell, Selkirk, Monashee and Cariboo ranges of British Columbia, Canada.

Learn more about CMH’s adventures with Outward Bound Canada:

In fall 2015, CMH Heli-Skiing and Summer Adventures, one of the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-hiking operators, and Outward Bound Canada, announced a new partnership to provide an outdoor experience at CMH Bugaboos and CMH Bobbie Burns lodges. Working together, CMH and OBC hosted two courses in early September aimed at providing life-transforming experiences, with a focus on people who are recovering from trauma or facing a major transition in their lives.

“It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life,” said Andrew Field, Analyst at CMH, who volunteered for the Veterans Program at CMH Bugaboos last fall. “The benefit of the program - it’s huge. Coming from the feedback we received from the veterans themselves, being in such an incredible place and surroundings just makes the therapy sessions that more sincere. Everyone felt at ease to speak what they’re truly feeling and being surrounded by the beauty of the Bugaboos encouraged huge amounts of dialogue.”

Check out this video made by CMH and Outward Bound Canada as part of the Women of Courage course run at CMH Bobbie Burns in September, 2015:

Visit the CMH website to learn more about the organization and the adventures they have on offer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bounders' Log: Kiley

As a student at North Battleford Comprehensive High School in Saskatchewan, Kiley was offered the opportunity to go on last summer’s West Coast Discovery, thanks to a scholarship offered by W. Brett Wilson to students attending his alma mater. Coming in to the experience with some nervousness and apprehension, Kiley was quickly put at ease to learn that not only were all of the other participants feeling the same way, but also that her two instructors were well prepared from day one to help every group member feel comfortable and prepared for the awesome journey ahead. “Outward Bound helped me realize I am a leader and the experience motivated me to take on significant leadership and volunteer roles in both my school and community.”

Read Kiley’s amazing account of her adventure below:

"I learned about Outward Bound Canada from a school guidance counsellor who recommended me for the program. Thanks to a Brett Wilson Scholarship, I embarked on the West Coast Discovery trip in August 2015 for 21 days of camping, hiking and kayaking amongst the islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island. There, I saw breathtaking sights, explored the ocean and coastal rainforest, all while improving my kayaking and leadership skills. Along with like-minded and new friends, the experience was challenging both physically and emotionally, but I was rewarded with a life-changing adventure.

I was nervous at the outset, because I did not know what to expect and felt unprepared. I soon realized I had nothing to worry about because all of the participants were in the same position and what I did have was a positive attitude and determination to succeed. Our two amazing instructors, Erin and Emily, taught us everything we needed to know and helped us through each challenge. Throughout the trip I learned about navigation, tides, camping and wild life, with my favourite lessons being on tide pools. I saw incredible sights as we paddled around islands and through fog, sleeping on beautiful beaches and watching sunsets around the campfire. We were surrounded and even interacted with incredible wild life, such as bears and wolves on the islands and seals and porpoises in the ocean. One of my favourite experiences was discovering the beauty of bioluminescence, which made wading in the water at night feel like dancing in a sea of stars. But the definite highlight was ocean surfing under the guidance of world class instructors. The West Coast Discovery trip was a new adventure every day and an experience of a life time. 

Every one of the 21 days presented challenges, and I was pushed to work just as hard as I played. I embraced the long and exhausting days, which I faced with a diverse group of amazing people from across Canada and the world. Each person brought different strengths but also weaknesses to the group, and we pushed hard to help each other. Taking turns leading and providing constructive feedback as to how we could each improve, we became stronger as individuals and transformed from strangers into a capable team. After being pushed so hard physically and mentally, and succeeding, I became confident in my own personal strength and I knew that I could face any situation when I returned home.

Days after returning from Outward Bound I entered my final year of high school (with a class credit from my trip) and took on significant leadership roles including Senior Pin. I transferred the work ethic I gained into making my school a more inclusive, more enjoyable and more collaborative environment. With new confidence in my leadership abilities and the inspiration from our trip leaders, I continued to find ways to be a role model for youth. I am now a Girl Guide leader and am passing on skills and stories to inspire a new group of explorers. These roles are rewarding in themselves, but I have also been honoured to receive recognition as valedictorian, Junior Citizen of the Year and the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Outward Bound was an adventure of a life time. I took away unbelievable memories and lasting friendships. No one’s experience is the same and if the adventure is approached with an open mind and positive attitude, there is so much to be gained and to take forward into your future."