VANCOUVER ISLAND— April 12th marked the third Connect 10 cohort trip to Tofino and Ucluelet. There, students had the opportunity to step away from the crazy race of school to embrace the serene beauty that Vancouver Island had to offer.
For two weeks, the boys spent a majority of their days engaged in interactive activities around the area. While this included exciting activities such as surfing and kayaking, it also included many other things such a microplastic beach clean-up and a visit to the aquarium, where the boys got to see all sorts of sea life in person. The boys were also given a once in a lifetime experience by gathering firsthand evidence for their research project through conducting interviews face-to-face with non-profit organizations and community experts. For some of the braver students in the group, even managed to arrange a meeting with the mayor of Ucluelet himself. As Mrs. Mclean, the trip organizer, described, the experience was able to open up “a new perspective” for many of the boys as they were able to see the expert’s “dedication and passion” for their work and research.
While the Connect 10 cohort got to engage in many interactive activities, it was not all fun and games. One of the participants, Matthew Leung, commented on the pungent smells that were the result of no showering over two weeks as well as questionable culinary delights that people had invented (Nutella tuna, anyone?). He also recalled an incident where a plate had been flung into the ocean by accident while some of the students were washing dishes. The chef was not happy. Nevertheless, Matthew said that the trip allowed him to “see the inner part of [his] peers, making us all bond closer and felt like a second home to us”.
Meanwhile, Oliver Ma, another member of the Connect cohort, remarked on the fact how the trip helped him grow as a person: “being an introvert and being forced to stay with the same eight people for two weeks, I learned to open up and be a better socializer.”
Mrs. Mclean also noticed this change in some of the students, as she said “I noticed quite a difference in the quiet and shy students when they’re out in the field struggling with something they care about. When they come back to the classroom, they’re like a new person!”
Overall, the Connect 10 cohort trip provides opportunities for personal growth and learning outside of the four walls of a classroom, and for the boys, giving them all a once-in-a-lifetime experience that none of them will ever forget.