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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. 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.

Outdoor Skills (OS) is the companion program to Outdoor Pursuits. OP and OS are designed such that either can be taken after Outreach and both can be taken in a single summer. Successful OS students will receive a phys-ed credit in our outdoor classroom. The cost is $845.

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 may need to be nut-free; we will inform students/parents as soon as possible should this be the case.

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 two assignments that must be completed before the session begins. The first is the theory lesson plan and the second is the ISU. Details can be found on the OS program page. In the first assignment students must prepare a short theory lesson to present to their group. The ISU asks students to create a three-fold brochure to advertise the camp that they invent.

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).