For many of us, our first full day on the Grade 11 outdoor education trip began at 4:45 am in the lobby of the Marriott hotel at the Calgary Airport. Although the staff at Alive Outdoors teaches the importance of challenges and expanding our comfort zones, I doubt this is what they had in mind.
With our final destination of Strathcona Park Lodge almost 1000 km away, the benefits of our long journey were as far from our minds as we were from BC. Rather, sipping coffees and hot chocolates while waiting for the airport shuttle, we were all asking ourselves the same question: was this trip really worth the hassle?
Twelve hours later when we exited our bus and arrived at Strathcona Park Lodge, our question was answered. Greeted by a shining sun, a blue, glistening lake and snow-capped mountains, we were in awe of our surroundings, which manifested the beauty and peace that can only be found in nature.
Being in the middle of the wilderness without cellular data for a week forced us to pay attention to things we usually don’t notice. This includes obvious things that we tend to neglect, such as our surroundings and environment. However, more surprisingly, we were forced to pay attention to each other. This transformed into several small moments that are rare back in Toronto. Moments like playing cards, debating fast food chains with teachers, putting together a campfire act or a new inside joke. These moments renewed our appreciation for our peers and served as a testament to just how close the Class of 2020 is.
Almost nine years ago on my first New Boys’ Day, our soon to be Grade three teacher, Ms. Ennis, described RSGC in a few short words. The strongest and most prominent word she used was “family.” Since then, a lot of things have changed. See House has been expanded, Mr. Beatty is our Headmaster, classes have graduated and new classes have taken their place. Yet nine years later when our grade was asked to describe our class and RSGC in one word, the most common word that appeared was still “family.” If there is one thing I learnt after a week of eating, sleeping and living with my classmates, it would once again be the strength of the family ties within our grade, and indeed, RSGC as a whole.
Royal St. George's College is an independent school for boys located in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school admits boys from Grades 3 through 12. Our mission is to challenge and inspire each of our students to become the best version of himself.