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School board hears 'hike' summary

Growing program for at-risk youth described for SD 20 trustees
With Superintendent Greg Luterbach manning the laptop

Aside from a mention that no disruption is expected with grad ceremonies, there was no discussion on current teachers’ contract negotiations at the board meeting of School District No. 20 on Monday night.

The regular open meeting held at Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar opened with an in-depth presentation by a couple of men representing the growing Take A Hike program.

The program is supported by the Take A Hike Youth at Risk Foundation, established in 2000.

“In partnership with the Vancouver School Board, the Foundation provides the resources and funding for programs operations, therapists and outdoor activities,” so it is stated on the outfit’s website:

The Foundation has raised over $3 million in support of BC at-risk youth.

Therapist Chris Gibson provided an overview of the program along with Take A Hike spokesperson Derek Prior, and the overall theme was one of resounding success.

In basic terms, the program invites certain students who may have struggled with, or even dropped out of school, and heads for the hills with them. There are one-day and multi-day adventures based on and in the outdoors.

The theme is survival, teamwork, fun and responsibility.

Community building is also key, as a list of public service efforts are completed as well.

“The Take a Hike West Kootenay program has made great strides in establishing community impact in the region,” outlines program literature. “Since launching in September 2013, the students and staff have given numerous service hours labouring on the Paydirt Trail at Red Mountain, working on food gardens at the Blueberry Creek Community School, picking apples in support of Bear Aware BC, and sorting donations at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.”

The Take A Hike model draws rave reviews from it’s alumni.

“I would have been a drop-out like my mom if it wasn’t for this program,” said one 15 year-old boy.

Other comments include:

• “I’ve come out of my shell. You’ve changed

my life.”

• “My patience has gotten way better. I need

you guys to help me with my anger.”

• “This year has been all about managing my

anger and core emotions.”

Board members were unanimous in their appreciation of the Take A Hike program, and in their gratitude for the delegation who presented the overview.