Outdoor Skills

Image of campers water canoeing at Palmer Rapids.Image of campers kayaking on Georgian Bay.Image of a sunset on Georgian Bay.Image of a camper taking a break on a rocky shoreline.Image of campers kayaking through Georgian Bay.

Outdoor Skills (OS) combines an eight-day sea kayak trip on Georgian Bay with a four-day whitewater course at Palmer Rapids on the Madawaska River. Students will have the opportunity at Palmer to earn their Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association (ORCKA) Moving Water Canoeing Level 1A certification as well as a ORCKA Flat Water Kayaking Level 1 certification during their kayak trip. OS focuses on personal growth, respecting other people and the environments through which we travel.

This program aims to further develop camping and related safety skills, while fostering a deeper appreciation of environmental ethics. It offers an opportunity for students to advance their outdoor teaching and leadership skills as well as gain certification in outdoor activities.

It is recommended to take OS after OP due to the more technical moving water canoeing potion in OS. Both programs are to be taken before continuing on to our instructor level programs, WIC and KIC. Successful OS students will receive a phys-ed credit (PAD405) in our outdoor classroom.

2024 cost $975.00. 

Bus Schedules

"Barn Days" Bus Pick Ups
8:30 a.m.: Centennial PS
8:45 a.m. Elginburg & District PS
9:00 a.m.: Loughborough PS

"Barn Days" Bus Drop Offs
3:30 p.m.: Loughborough PS
3:45 p.m. Elginburg & District PS
4:00 p.m.: Centennial PS

Student Manual

Frequently Asked Questions

How safe is moving water canoeing?
The moving water canoeing portion of the OS course takes place at Palmer Rapids. This location gives students a very safe place to learn moving water skills. Students are taught these skills using a well developed progression. Each group will have instruction by ORCKA Moving Water Instructors.

Do I need to bring GORP?
Students are required to bring their own GORP for OS. This can be trail mix or granola/energy bars. A general guideline is to bring 100 grams per day of trail food. Due to food allergies, GORP needs to be nut-free.

What certifications do I get when I do OS?
During OS, you have the opportunity to complete two certifications from the Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association (ORCKA). The first is the ORCKA Flatwater Kayaking certification. The Second is the ORCKA Moving Water Canoeing level 1A certification.

What assignments do I have to complete before the course starts?
The Outdoor Skills course has a theory lesson that must be completed before the session begins. Students must prepare a short theory lesson to present to their group. 
The assignment details can be found on the OS program page.

Why do I have to take rubber boots?
The northern portion of Georgian Bay, where OS kayaks, falls within the range of the Massassauga Rattlesnake. Though very seldom encountered, these inhabitants of the area can pose a safety risk - the rubber boots will be worn if a rattlesnake is seen or suspected to be nearby. The boots are effective at protecting us from bites to the feet, ankles, or lower legs (where most bites occur).