Sue McBride

Sue McBride

It takes a village

The Seven Summits Centre for Learning held an open house on Thursday, Sept. 24 to let parents and community members know what it's up to.

Now in it’s third year of operating, the Seven Summits Centre for Learning held an open house on Thursday, Sept. 24.

The open house was an opportunity for members of the community to see what the centre is up to, and to allow parents whose children are new this year to check in and ask questions.

One new development this year is the new BC curriculum. Seven Summits won’t be adopting it entirely this year, but it will start incorporating it into its learning plans.

“This year it is not mandatory, whereas next year it will be, so we’re working hard to get that implemented now,” said Ann Quarterman, operations manager at the centre. “So even though we’re working within the framework of last year’s curriculum, we’re adding in a lot of the new curriculum as we go.”

The open house was also an opportunity to inform the community about the centre’s fundraising efforts, and to encourage people to become community mentors.

The mentors who teach at the centre and some classroom expenses are funded by the Ministry of Education through the Centre’s partner SelfDesign Learning Community. Other expenses are covered by facility fees paid by each student.

“That pays for the building, and the heat, and also pays for the administrator and the operations manager,” said Quarterman.

But the centre also does a lot of extra activities with the learners, which require additional support from the community.

“We rely a lot on the community to make that feasible for us,” said Quarterman. “We get some grants to fund things, [and] we also ask the community to give volunteer time, or sometimes they give us things in goods, or help us out for instance with a camping trip, with letting us use vehicles, that sort of thing.”

The centre also raises money thanks to Ferraro Foods. Learners sell Ferraro Foods gift cards and the centre receives 10 per cent of the value of the card in return.

Rosslanders can also contribute by becoming community mentors, sharing their skills and passions with learners at the centre, and potentially participating in the ROPE program.

“ROPE stands for Right of Passage Experience,” said Quarterman, “and it is a program that we do with the grade eights and nines. They get to find whatever they’re passionate about, and they get to work on a project with a community mentor.”

The community mentor helps the learner with a year-long project like making a skateboard or writing a novel, and at the end of the year, the learner presents their project publicly.

With so much community support going into the centre, Seven Summits encourages its learners to give back.

“The community has been super awesome, and so in conjunction with that, to give back to the community, we really instill in our learners that they need to do community volunteer hours as well,” said Quarterman.

Each learner has to do at least 50 hours of community volunteer work a year, and one learner has already done 330 hours since the beginning of the summer.

Quarterman wanted to send out a big thank you to all the community members that do support the centre.

“We wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” she says.