Youth Exchange Canada: Haida Gwaii – Day Two

On day 2 of the trip, The YMCA Academy students went on a boat ride to the west coast of the island. We went in the narrow waterways that leads to the the ocean for about an hour before hitting the open water. We saw a large ship which was the Coast Guard. We drove around in the open waters for a bit. We saw sea lions and got so close that we could smell them.

We landed on the beach at Ts’aahl Village for a picnic. As one of the crew cooked us a fresh salmon lunch, our guide showed us around the area, he also showed us really old totem poles. After lunch, our guide said “tide’s out, time to each” and he went scavenging in the ocean. He showed us what was edible and some of us tried a few sea creatures. After a couple hours on the beach we were off again on the boat and took a bit of a detour to show us the seals and puffins. We roamed around for a bit more before going back to the docks for dinner.

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Blog written by: Jake and Josh

Youth Exchange Canada: Haida Gwaii – Day One

On the first day, we all went to the Haida heritage centre. Before it started, two Haida students led me to the back to see the beach. But we ended up walking down a crazy path and we climbed down slippery rocks. Afterwards we did a tour talking about totem poles. We learned about the poles of the different Haida clans. We also learned about the history of the Haida people during the time of European invasions. Afterwards, we went on a scavenger hunt of creatures on the beach during low tide. We found all kinds of stuff like crabs, squid eggs, sea cucumbers, etc.

After lunch, we went on a guided walk of the Spirit Lake trail led by a local forester. He taught us all about the trees and other vegetation on Haida Gwaii and the impact of the introduced species, such as the deer. We learned how to core a tree to determine its age and also won prizes for guessing the height of another tree. We got a little lost hiking around the lake, but everyone made it back in time to cook dinner over a fire on the beach.

In the evening we went to carve paddles and Jonathan also carved a miniature paddle. The paddles were started by the students at Living and Learning school. We helped by using some tools to carve the paddles and some of the students were distracted by eagles.

When the fishermen came into shore, they tossed the fish organs and eagles started scavenging the leftovers. As the eagles feasted on the organs, Josh stealthily got an arms length away from the eagles. Near the end of the trip, we were presented with one of the paddles we had worked on that night. An eagle was painted onto it due to the enthusiasm of some of the students.

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Cedar Glen Trip

On Friday, June 2nd, our 4th period leadership class went on a day trip to the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre which is located in Schomberg. We participated in two activities, high ropes course and mountain biking. We got there by taking the subway to Sheppard West and then took the Cedar Glen bus to the camp grounds. We had fun there and enjoyed our time.

The purpose of our trip was to improve our leadership skills and to enjoy some time outdoors. The high ropes helped us improve on our ability to trust our peers and also helped our physical and mental strength. Multiple students from the class have a fear of heights and the other students helped motivated them to conquer their fear.

The second activity that we did was mountain biking where we did a series of tasks to see how capable we were of controlling the bike. We had to use that knowledge to complete a series of obstacles. The first of many tasks we did was to learn how to brake properly and how to shift gears without damaging the chains on the bikes. One of the other tasks we did was a race to be as slow as possible without placing our feet on the ground in order to practice more control of the bike. On the way back we had to ride in single file, each person was 5 seconds apart, this was because we faced narrow roads, steep hills, a bridge, and rough terrain.

The day at Cedar Glen was full on fun activities. Everyone enjoyed the time we spent there. Some of the highlights for the students were; getting to spend time with each other in a different environment. The staff was very helpful in understanding what kinds of fun activities we would enjoy and even what kinds of food we would love to eat. Everyone enjoyed the lunch that Cedar Glen provided, Cedar Glen was able to make accommodations for people with different diets. Most of the school time we are together in a classroom environment. Cedar Glen gives us a chance to get to know each other in a different environment.

Here are some quotes that some of the students had about Cedar Glen:

“ Cedar Glen field trip was a great experience which also took stress off of school and stuff”- Bailey.

“ The staff at Cedar Glen were extremely helpful and friendly”- Nash

“ I love Cedar Glen very much and I can’t wait to go there on the school trip next year”- Archie.

“ I experienced fun activities such as the high ropes and mountain biking”- Allie.

In conclusion the trip was a very positive experience for all of the students in the class. We are very happy that we were able to go on the trip, we want to thank Cedar Glen for a wonderful experience. And we would also like to extend this thank you to Dayna for taking us to Cedar Glen.

Youth Exchange Canada: Toronto – Day Six

On April 28th, 2017 it was the last day of the Youth Exchange before the twins had to leave. We had an amazing day but to tell the great tale you must read till the end. Starting off with Ripley’s Aquarium at 10 am in the morning the YMCA students and twins saw lots of cool things, like seahorses and sharks. It was amazing seeing all of them swimming around. Evan: “It was awesome because all the fish were very cool”. And one of the teachers Rein thinks: “I like how the inspiration for Drake’s Hotline Bling video came from the luminescent jellyfish tanks!” So Ripley’s Aquarium was pretty fantastic, and I don’t think it could have been any better.

Now for the CN Tower- it is one of the coolest places to be in Toronto! YMCA Academy students and the twins saw how tall the CN Tower is but we weren’t scared, we laughed at how tall it is. Just joking, but we all had a great time and we enjoyed the glass floor and taking pictures and videos of the city. After taking the long elevator ride down we checked out the gift shop. Then we had some free time to do some more shopping at the Eaton Centre and games store before enjoying dinner at our school, the YMCA Academy.

After dinner we went to the Rogers Centre for the Blue Jay’s game. It was a fun, exciting evening! Waiting in the line I could feel the excitement in the air. Everyone was “Pumped up”, after waiting in line everyone got in and got to enjoy the game for the night. It was an awesome and fun game to get to watch and experience.

Our twins (People from Haida Gwaii) seemed to be excited for the game since some of them would not have ever been to a baseball game. During the game the Jay’s were in the lead for most of them game but in the usual bad luck the Jay’s eventually lost that lead and ended up losing. Overall it was a fun evening. We then had to say good-bye to our twins until we see them in Haida Gwaii in just a few weeks!

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Youth Exchange Canada: Toronto – Day Five

On Thursday, Academy students came to school and attended their first period classes or “study hall” to catch up a little on the work they had missed this week. Then Dayna’s Leadership class organized activities for all of the YMCA Academy students and for the students visiting from BC. This is important because they got to see the amount of people in our school compared to their school. There are only 7 kids in their high school and there are 70 kids in our high school.

They got to experience our gym because they don’t have their own gym. Some of the BC kids got to meet kids that were not on the exchange trip. We played capture the flag, tag and Rock, Paper, Scissors. Capture the flag was the most fun because everyone joined in running and catching people.

We then had lunch in our school cafeteria or in the area surrounding our school. Then we took the students from Haida Gwaii to Chinatown and Kensington market for a walking tour. The tour guide told us about the history of Chinatown and Kensington market and a lot of fascinating stories about Toronto. We all found it very interesting. After the tour we had time to explore the area. Some of us purchased ice cream or other treats, while some were enticed by the cool displays of sunglasses. A few students from Haida Gwaii, led by Ryan, found quality asian products due to his prior knowledge.

After leaving the market we trekked through rush hour TTC traffic and rain to Lindsey’s home for dinner. They prepared a delicious make-your-own fajita buffet and we enjoyed the rest after another busy day!

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