Relationship building with the OPP

On November 1, 2017, three senior YMCA Academy students visited the OPP- Queen’s Park Division to learn about all the employment opportunities within the department. We heard the personal stories of several officers about how their interests and training led them to their current jobs.  Some started as volunteers, others in the public sector, but all had one thing in common, they all agreed that having the skill and the love of communicating with the public was the most important skill to have.

We learned about the history and the current responsibilities of the OPP.  Did you know that the first motorized vehicles that the OPP used was the motorcycle?  Did you know that the first female officer joined the forces in 1974?  Neither did we, but we also did not know what different roles the OPP played in rural versus urban regions in Ontario, but we do now.  We also now know that sign language is a skill that is being encouraged in the OPP.  There are more people now with hearing related difficulties and as I said earlier, communication is a key skill in this job.

Fortunately we were able to witness several demonstrations.  We had a canine demonstration by Constable Hick and his partner “Cash” who is an Italian Sheppard named after Johnny Cash.  Other demonstrations included a Conducted Electrical Weapons (taser) and an O.C. Spray (Pepper Spray).  Safety was the primary focus with stress placed on understanding that there are clear guidelines about what situations warrant considering their use.

Since then, the OPP officers have reached out to our YMCA community several times.  They have hung out with us during lunchtimes, become members of our Dungeon & Dragon club and have been seen shooting hoops with our students in the basketball club.  This Thursday, they will be joining us in several discussion including internet safety, situation safety and nutrition & physical fitness.  In the coming months they will be our guests in:

  • Careers class to discuss career options
  • Physical Education classes to show the students what the physical training is like for their job
  • History class to discuss tactics of different societies and time periods (an expectation of the course)

I am very happy with the ongoing relationship we are developing with the OPP.  And I look forward to expanding their presence in our school as they are truly interested in the youth of this community.

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.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Visiting the Royal Ontario Museum

From the Eastern Woodlands of Turtle Island to the Base of the Pyramid of Giza the historians of the YMCA Academy got to walk through history at the Royal Ontario Museum. The History of Civilizations class joined with the Canadian History class on an adventure through stories and evidence from the past.

The History of Civilizations class just started the Empire Simulator unit, where students take on the role of the leader for an ancient civilization and experience the hardships of managing a fledgling empire. The opportunity to visit the ROM to see and experience some of the relics and history of these nations was a great way for students to connect with their chosen civilization on a deeper level.

The Canadian History class learned about five of the major regional groups of First Nations and Inuit of what is now Canada. The people of the Eastern Woodlands and their canoes; the Great Plains people and their spartan, mobile lifestyle; the Northwest Shore people and their incredible material culture; and the Arctic people with their deep connection to their environment.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Digital and Smartphone Photography Workshop

On October 24th, the Grade 11 Media Arts class and the Grade 10 Communications Technology classes participated in a Digital and Smartphone Photography workshop at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Students were taken on a tour of several galleries and instructed on how to use their cell phones to take pictures. We spent the afternoon browsing a variety of galleries. The first photographs we saw were done by artists who were competing in the AIMIA|AGO Photography Prize. There were four photographers in this gallery, all from different countries around the world: Russia/Ghana, Haida/Canada, Japan and Uganda. We were shown all of their different styles of photography and then were able to cast our vote in the end! Each was very interesting in their own way and the students seemed very inspired by the very different types of photography by each artist.

Next we went on to see a gallery called Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood. This gallery focused on artist’s depictions of Canada from the perspective of those that have been left out of the dominant narrative. In addition to photography, there was painting, sculpture, fashion, video art and more in this gallery. Students used this gallery, and the photographs in the AIMIA Prize gallery, to practice their photography skills. As they took photos of the art, they were encouraged to focus on using the Rule of Thirds and different angles to photograph the works of art.

The tour ended with analyzing some famous European works of art, such as Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens, and understanding the techniques and tools that the artist’s used. Students also put their critical analysis skills to good use by interpreting the message of the painting.

Overall it was a great experience touring the AGO and the student’s left feeling inspired!

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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!

Check out the rest the rest of the pictures on our Facebook page!

Album One | Album Two | Album Three