New Faces, New Adventures: Discovery 10

The boys in Discover 2014-2015 can be seen paddling through an old structure of a bridge.

“What is hardship? We’ve never heard of it.” -Discovery Class of 2014-2015

St. George’s is known for its high-caliber academics and vigorous athletic teams, but at the same time, also known for an amazing extensive group of adventurers. Discovery 10 is truly one of the main programs that makes St. George’s School so exceptional. The program is composed of 20 Grade 10 adventurous boys that form a cohort to explore, experience, and learn from the wild outdoors.

September 8th didn’t feel like a special day. It was just as sunny as it had been for the past week.  Students and teachers were still easing back into the right mindset for their classes, and there were no special events planned. However, the twenty boys and four staff members that met outside the field house at 6:00am knew that it was no ordinary day; it was the day that marked the start of their year in Discovery. Although everybody had rings under their eyes and next to nothing in their stomachs, they were all eager to start their journey: a sudorific five-day trip around the Sayward Canoe Loop on Campbell River, Vancouver Island.

Even at the beginning of their journey, the scenery was amazing: the calm, blue water, low mountains and rays of sunshine beaming on them. Throughout the trip, stony beaches became their kitchens; tarps that were (sloppily) tied between trees became their homes, and long stretches of portaging (which is the act of carrying of boats, bags, etc., overland from one body of water to another) became opportunities for them to build character.

Of course, there were also many lessons learned. Ryan Karimi taught the group how to cook a delicious dinner (and then drop it… twice), Jose Perez, Griffin Smith, Noah Proust, Konrad Swic and Sean Letvinchuk taught them that pain is an option by soloing a canoe on our longer portages, and Anders Bretsen taught a few people how to be a magician by stepping onto unstable ground and disappearing in the mud.

The boys left the Sayward Canoe Loop on September 12 with their heads held high. Looking back at their experiences, there wasn’t a single boy who wasn’t proud. They had pushed themselves through 40 kilometers of paddling through 12 lakes and 8 kilometers of demanding portaging, perfected the art of knot tying through trial and error, and even convinced themselves that the food they cooked was edible.

Between all the paddling and portaging, discussion and journaling, cooking and yelling at people for spilling dinner all over the ground, the group strengthened their bond as a class, as a family. They made each other laugh in times of stress, worked together in times of difficulty, and in doing so, they took their first step towards in becoming a true brotherhood. By the time they had returned to the school, they smelled like they hadn’t showered in weeks and their clothes smelled like they hadn’t been washed in months; but they didn’t care because everybody else’s did too. The feeling of excitement from being on their first trip lasted from the moment they boarded the bus to the moment they returned five days later. For the first time this year, the Discovery class of 2014-2015 experienced adventure… and they loved it!