Note: This blog was written some time ago and was never published. The content remains relevant. Enjoy!
Friday, November 2 kicked off the Duke of Edinburgh Silver trip at Camp Nominingue for 15 grade ten students and three accompanying staff. Though there were a few bumps along the way (literally, considering two bags fell off the bus and went missing on the way up) altogether it was an unforgettable experience. The two and a half hour bus ride up to the camp gave us a great opportunity to bond with the people we were to be spending four days and three nights in the woods with. Other than the cold weather forecast, the fact that we were to sleep in tents and prepare our own meals, we had no idea what to expect.
When we first arrived, we were faced with a giant field in the middle of the woods which was where we were to camp out. We got our bags and tents and began to assemble our living spaces in our groups of two or three. We had a great meal of pasta and salad sitting around our first fire that we made with a little difficulty. Our first activity of the trip consisted of a long walk in the dark around the Camp Nominingue grounds. We ended our night by individually listing the high and low point of our day. Despite shivering in our sleeping bags at night and waking up to frost around our tents, it was a great way to start off the trip.
The two full days that followed were filled with multiple activities that kept us entertained throughout the day. Alongside three course meals that were prepared by each tent group, hot chocolate and snacks, we were ready to go on our excursions. Our second day adventure consisted of an hour and a half long hike through the woods. We came across a bear skeleton, a carnivorous plant and walked on marshland. That night we ate pirogies and enjoyed another walk across the campground.
Our third day activity was a canoe ride along the lake to another island where we hiked up to a peak with an absolutely phenomenal view. We ate lunch on the island and spent most of our day singing songs on the boat and getting a great bicep and triceps workout along the way. That night, we ate and preformed our entertaining skits for the talent show we had been “preparing for” since the very beginning. We finished our night off with another walk in the woods, but this time, in single file and in complete silence. At the end of the walk, we lay dispersed throughout another open field and watch the stars above us. The walk overall didn’t go exactly as planned with a few kids getting lost along the way, but when we were all reunited we shared a long laugh and more hot chocolate.
We participated in many smaller activities throughout the trip such as building lean-tos, splitting wood, making fires, and a few team management activities on the last day.
By the fourth and final day, we were all excited to take a warm shower and be home to our families, but at the same time, sad to be leaving. We left our campground with long-lasting memories and a better appreciation of our privileged lives. I highly recommend all students in younger grades take a bigger interest in the Duke of Ed program and definitely partake on the Silver trip.
Thank you very much to Mrs. Wall, Mr. Weiland and M. Maurice for making this “dreaded” trip fun-filled and enjoyable. – Vikki Van Ryswyk ‘14