“Before Take a Hike, I wasn’t getting any work done and I was struggling with emotions of past memories and events that were bringing me down very seriously. I had problems at school and home, I was unhappy and didn’t like my friends,” says Lorrie, a grade 11 student who started the Take a Hike program in Grade 10.

Lorrie was a difficult student, to say the least. Prior to Take a Hike, she had been kicked out of many schools over the years due to her inappropriate behavior such as temper tantrums, verbal abuse and stealing. During that time, she was also bouncing from group home to group home (5-6) since leaving her original home because of physical and mental abuse. Her academics were faltering and she hated school, yet there was nowhere else to go, and no one to turn to. Lorrie’s confidence was extremely low.

The multi-day expeditions played an integral role in helping Lorrie become a better person. By accomplishing things she never thought possible, her self-esteem and connection to school increased significantly. She discovered many of her strengths, including her physical endurance (and now thrives on the sense of accomplishment after completing difficult tasks). Not only has she learnt to trust herself and the people around her, she also sees that others trust her; a new and rewarding feeling for Lorrie. She is diligent in attending all outings and enjoys the experiential learning component of the trips. As a result she is now much more engaged in the classroom as well.

“When I started at Take a Hike I spoke with Klaus, the therapist, which was a big help. The first long trip [7-day West Coast trail hike] was hard for me emotionally and physically, but I was much more positive on the second trip [10-day Bowron Lakes Canoe trip] and I learned that if you have a good attitude, good things happen. This year I got on the honour roll for the first time ever, which is huge for me.

I’ve also learned to get along with my mother a little more, who has lots of mental problems and I’ve gotten over past events that were really hard to deal with. The mix of being in the wilderness, the positive environment, and the huge support from the staff has helped me come a long way and made me feel way better about myself. Take a Hike gives us the chance to work through our problems and become better people.”

Courtesy of: Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation 

*Students’ name has been changed

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