Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winter Camp for 25 years

I am going to treat myself to a pat on the back for 20 years at Brightwater Science and Environmental Center, the first week of January, every year! The Saskatoon Board of Education has provided the camp for our use in cooperation with the Salvation Army for 20 years. The SPSD provides facilitators over the years (Louise Jones, Marcia Klein then Teri Clarke) and many experts in their fields to teach kids. We go there for 3 days every year and brave the cold and snow! Two years out of 20 there has not been snow in January, most years it is about -15-20 degrees.

I love the opportunities camps present to kids. Our school is all about building (learning) relationships between parents, guardians, staff and students. A better opportunity cannot be had for building trusting and deep relationships. Learning about science and the environment happens easily and learning beyond the classroom extends back into the classroom.

Another integral component of Brightwater Science and Environmental Center is it's spiritual component. The camp itself is a Salvation Army camp and hosts many groups for which prayer is an important part. We are blessed to have had a First Nations knowledge keeper or an elder to come and speak to us at nearly all of our camps. I really feel this is the foundation of the camp. It is not often enough that we realize and celebrate that we are spiritual people and that we are connected to the land.

Eating together for three days is one of the best things for me. The great conversations we have with kids and parents benefit our school, our volunteers, our teachers, our community and our young people. This year we had the chef of the Bessborough Hotel as our main cook!

19 years ago I took one Miss Kelly Gibson to camp as part of a grade 6 group. We slept in quinzees and had the usual fun and learning. I see her from time to time. She has the same smile and enthusiasm that she had as a 12 year old. She asked me if I had gone to camp. I told her about it and asked about her upcoming winter camp. From one perspective, I contributed in some small way to her being such a great teacher and giving her kids great camping experiences. I am proud of what I provide for my kids and parents with 20+ years of camping.

Largely, the gift has always been Kelly's to give. I love camping with kids. All Kelly has to do is give me the gift of her enthusiasm, her smile and her heart for the outdoors and learning and I will camp with kids forever. Thanks Kelly Gibson and many more for your great gifts to me over the years.


  1. Congratulations, on providing 25 years of outdoor educational experiences for your students! What an amazing accomplishment, Tim! Your students have been blessed to enjoy a unique learning experience in a winter environment from a teacher who is clearly passionate about outdoor education. The powerful hands on learning, leadership skills and positive relationships benefit your students and school community. What incredible opportunities and memories you have created for your students.

  2. the pleasure is all mine. Many rich memories and relationships built. Many great Saskatoon outdoor ed. people!