What is an Odyssey Trip?
Every fall, our Middle School students begin their year with an Odyssey Trip. A seven day long canoe trip that is an opportunity for group bonding and individual achievements. The experience of being in nature, relying on each other, challenging themselves, and reflecting on their journey enables them to take a huge developmental step forward.
This year, our students went to Northern Ontario and canoed the Temagami river. Guided by Northwaters & Lanskib (https://northwaters.com) the students planned their route, their menus, and their additional activities. A seaplane trip up to basecamp starts the trip. Lessons in paddling, canoe lifting and carrying, and safety expectations prepare the students to set out the next morning. Seven days later they return to school happy, encouraged, strong, and ready to take on the tasks of the year.
Here is a reflection from one of our 8th year students:
I really didn't want to go on the Temagami trip. I had multiple anxiety attacks just thinking about going. I was wishing I would get really sick, or I would injure myself somehow so I wouldn't have to go. I’m so glad I didn’t.
Last year’s trip was so awful for me, I was just expecting I would have a terrible time, and then when I wasn't having an bad experience, I was shocked.
Nature isn't really my thing, so I was hesitant about that too, but as soon as we were in the forest, sleeping in a tent, all the fear was gone. I gained a lot more confidence in myself and in my abilities, and did so many things I never thought I would do. If you told me I would be jumping off a cliff, or carrying a canoe on my shoulders, I would have never believed you. I would have never thought I would be strong enough to carry a canoe, or brave enough to go cliff jumping, I had so much doubt. I don't think I’ve ever been so proud of myself.
It's pretty hard for me to spend long amounts of time with people who aren't my family. I really need my alone time, so in the beginning that was a big struggle for me. Even with my closest friends, it's difficult for me to spend more than a day or two with them nonstop. That was probably one of my biggest struggles about the trip. I needed to work on it though, and this was the right opportunity for that.
I’m so happy I decided to go, and to just face whatever I needed to. I didn't realize how much I needed to just leave the city and do something outside of my comfort zone, until I was there. It was such a positive experience for me.