Skating Trip at Nathan Phillips Square

On Friday February the 9th the YMCA Academy embarked on its yearly walk to Nathan Phillips Square in order to partake in our annual skating trip. With skates and helmets secure, the students hit the ice. Skaters of all experience levels enjoyed gliding on the ice. We were lucky enough to have light snowfall, making for a true winter outdoors event! As always, after a fair amount of skating was done, both staff and students enjoyed their traditional consumption of hot chocolate and Timbits from Tim Hortons.

This yearly experience, now in its seventh year, affords staff and students to enjoy an afternoon of fun for both skaters and non-skaters. We can’t wait to see what next year’s trip will be like.

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The United Nations at the Academy

After completing three previous Insight Global Education topics and simulations, the time came for our final and most exciting one of them all. The United Nations (UN) simulation. This simulation models a United Nations (UN) meeting in which the members (students) reduce the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to seven goals. Students were divided into delegates from fifteen countries and worked together to create the new seven goals, based on the past SDGs and MDGs.

The UN created the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These seventeen goals were developed to improve the lives of people and the planet by 2030. Both the MDGs and the SDGs reflect current global challenges and outline potential solutions to solving these problems.

Students developed an understanding of the overarching discourse in global development and recognized the complexities and strategies that are necessary when creating and implementing global development regimes. Student delegations worked with one another in backroom style “wheeling and dealings” in order to ensure the seven best SDGs were passed at the end of the simulation.

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Annual Cedar Glen Trip

Ah the yearly Cedar Glen overnight trip. The three day, two night trip the Academy gleefully looks forward to every year during the latter part of October. This year, from October 18th to the 20th, students and staff made the annual pilgrimage with a bit more excitement than most years based on the splendid weather forecast promised by meteorologists. During the three day trip, everyone was delighted that they were not lied to by the weather experts, as we enjoyed three days beautiful, sunny, and warm weather.

During our first day, students participated in several new experiences. First, they participated in their second Insight Global Education simulation (this time about equity and resource allocation). Later that evening after dinner, students partook in an Aboriginal quilt activity where they learned about and discussed about the trials and tribulations the indigenous peoples of Canada endured at the hands of European settlers. After an eventful first day, students shared a campfire at night before heading to bed.

After breakfast, our second day saw students lending helping hands at Cedar Glen’s farm, doing various tasks such as mulching, de-weeding, and harvesting of crops. Upon completing their farming tasks, students were given a workshop on mapping and orienteering, a skill which they would need for their afternoon challenge! When the afternoon rolled around, six student teams competed against one another in the Academy’s Cedar Glen Amazing race, where they implemented their mapping and orienteering skills for the ultimate glory of boasting supremacy should they win the race. The evening saw students participate in a variety of indoor games, capped off by a night hike, game of dungeons and dragons, or watching a movie (whichever option tickled their fancy).

On our last day, we went down into Cedar Glen’s valley and participated in our traditional teachers vs. students animal survival game as well as archery. Our memories filled yet again of familiar activities (new ones as well), and of delicious food, we ate our last lunch and headed back to school. We impatiently wait for our return next year!

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Album One | Album Two | Album Three

Fostering global citizens with Insight Global Edu.

Insight Global Education (Insight) is a Vancouver based organization that’s dedicated to fostering global citizens. The YMCA Academy has partnered with Insight to deliver 4 different experiences to foster better understanding of global citizenship so that students can learn to think globally, and act locally. Each experience takes 2 hours and is delivered in successive Thursday Assemblies. Students are put through a simulation the first week, and then partake in smaller group discussions the following week to make sense of the simulation, what it demonstrated, and what its implications are on the global and local stage.

This simulation models “the Scramble for Africa,” a historical event that took place in the late1800s by Western powers in order to procure resources. The simulation allows students to see how the Western powers controlled and exploited African resources and people. They participated in the activity without the knowledge that they were re-enacting the Berlin Conference of 1884, which carved up the map of Africa. Once the simulation was over, students were brought up to speed on what they just experienced in order to prepare them for the more in-depth analysis and discussion to follow.

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Biochemical Compounds in Food Samples

There are four broad classes of macromolecules that can be found in living systems. Each type of macromolecule has a characteristic structure and function in living organisms. You can use your knowledge of the basic structure of each macromolecule to perform tests in the lab that detect the presence or absence of key functional groups or overall characteristics in various substances through the use of indicators.

Students were given a scenario in which they had to play the role of scientists at a Canadian Food and Drug Administration Center for Nutrient Analysis where they test various food items for protein, lipid and carbohydrate content. In the face of an impending zombie epidemic, they must use their knowledge and understanding of biochemical compounds to determine which food substances could be used to quell the zombie epidemic. To do this they must analyse a variety of foods to determine which has the highest levels of complex carbohydrates and proteins which have been found to kill the zombie’s brain cells.