By Tara Hauck
“Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou.
“That’s not how I remember high school in my day.”
The evolution of an environment requires growth. It is a dynamic dance that continually develops and shifts, influenced by the group members, leadership styles, and established organizational culture.
Inspiring student leadership emerges from an organizational culture of ownership, collaboration, and community within the classroom. Culture is learned implicitly through interaction with members of the Seven Summits Centre for Learning.
New students understand it by observation, interaction, and imitation. In organizations where students are actively involved, it is common to have higher learner satisfaction, motivation, and academic success. These essential skills will serve students now and into the future.
With the start of a new academic year, the task is more than just learning the names of the new students, but instead discovering who these young people are and how best to support them in their academic journey. Seven Summits believes a back to school camping trip is the best way to maintain the growth of positive school culture.
After 10 years of camping to start the academic year, why do they continue to do it?
There are many valid reasons for escaping the routines of ordinary life. The Seven Summits’ camping trip is akin to a corporate team-building event designed to enhance individual and team growth, improve stronger connections within the team, strengthen the group’s bond, trust, and communication to solidify cohesion and academic productivity.
Opportunities for intentional interaction and purposeful participation exist for teachers and learners. Seven Summits collaborates with Mike Kent of Ripple Effect Consulting, an experiential programming specialist. “The start of the year trip definitively sets Seven Summits apart from other schools. It is an incredible opportunity and a fun way to create school cohesion quickly,” says Kent.
Teachers actively participate in all games and help set challenging initiatives to achieve objectives. All age groups interact together, and the senior grade is given particular leadership roles and responsibilities. Having a vision of their role as seniors connects them to the group’s well-being and direction, which motivates participation in an impactful way. “I like camping as a fresh start to a new school year,” says Wyatt Joyce, a senior student. Another Grade 12 student who marked his third year of camping, Parks Boutilier, said, “As a senior, we get a lot more opportunity to exercise responsibility, and I enjoyed the leadership role.”
The camp management offers arrangements that promote constructive friendships, productive group work, and inclusion amongst classmates. These outcomes foster a healthy school culture that minimizes opportunities for bullying and exclusion. The activities are purposeful, exposing the students to exciting opportunities to learn new skills and objectives.
Seven Summits teachers develop strong relationships with students to know their learners better and to treat them as individuals who matter and have a voice. It is well documented that students learn better when they feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. For students to grow and improve, they must feel like they are being heard and understood as part of the solution.
When asked about the trip, a new student to the Centre, Emerick DesLauriers, said, “It was even more fun than I thought it would be. I didn’t start knowing anyone or what to expect, but by the end of the two days, I wished we could stay longer!”
Emiri Harder, Grace Benner and Ber Laird said, “We loved the home-cooked food, the active schedule, freedom, and flexibility, but most of all being in nature. The lake and the dock were the most memorable parts of the trip.”
A positive culture is a critical part of the foundation at the Centre. Team building is a year-long initiative, as many other activities provide opportunities for intentional interaction and purposeful participation as Seven Summits creates adventures in learning.