Outdoor and Experiential Education
The CRLT Program believes that Nature is conducive to developing creative and critical thinkers. The use of outdoor classrooms, residential outdoor education and group leadership intensives are essential in the experiential learning process. The opportunity to learn practical competencies, not just classroom-based theory and knowledge, can be experienced, tested and shared. Real world learning comes from authentic, action-based situations that foster an atmosphere where responsible and increasingly competent students are molded. Natural outdoor settings enable us to use Nature as a catalyst in promoting individual and group growth that simply could not occur at the same pace in a classroom.
Fall Outdoor Education
CRLT is known for organizing one of Canada’s largest student-driven outdoor education programs at the college level. This unique collection of courses has students planning the camp experience during their second-year winter semester and then implementing their 5 day program for approximately 100 people in their third-year fall semester. The third year students work with the faculty team to provide a program of workshops, activities and events for first and second year students.
Note: In Fall 2020, this activity was adapted to an online environment. Students participated in virtual workshops led by third year students, observed effective leadership, learned skills and enjoyed team building events. They even had the opportunity to explore the outdoors in their own neighborhoods.
Environmental Issues in Outdoor Education
This first-year course focusses on the importance of experience in Nature and hands-on skill development in common outdoor recreation activities. Students participate and share in a community setting. This experiential learning opportunity enables them to observe outdoor program leadership which integrates outdoor skills, health & safety, Nature, environmental stewardship, community building and the principles of sustainability.
Environmental Leadership Experience
Students in second-year of the CRLT program participate in the Environmental Leadership Experience course. The goal of this course is to instill in students the importance of recreation leadership in relation to the natural environment and to be aware of the links between their local actions and larger environmental issues. Students organize and lead an outdoor environmental activity that models the values and techniques covered in the outdoor classroom. Reflective writing and sharing reinforce learning and help students develop their own values and vision.
Winter Outdoor Education
Students spend 5-days at an outdoor center, learning about the winter season and all it has to offer. Activities and experiential learning focus on winter ecology through the interpretation of animal signs and tracks; outdoor recreation including snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice sports; managing risks in outdoor activities, snow shelter construction; and cooperative games and team building. Students have the opportunity to test knowledge, try new things and reflect on their experiences while they grow as activity leaders and recreation coordinators.