At the beginning of my placement I was full of excitement and ready for a fun year ahead. The orientation in Vancouver was beyond amazing and I quickly fell in love with the country but also with the prospect of the year to come.
It was incredible to have met and made friends at the Lattitude orientation with people that would also be heading to camp so that I already had a support network when I arrived. When we first arrived at camp the experience became quite overwhelming. The camp was bustling as they finished up the winter season and I felt a bit lost within this big unfamiliar place. This quickly changed. Within a matter of days as training began camp had already become my home. I made friends so quickly and there was so much excitement about the seasons to come. While having my first group of kids was scary at first, I quickly learnt to trust myself and to have fun with them exploring the amazing place that is the Canadian Rockies. Over the 8 months where I lived and worked in Canada I was spoilt with amazing experiences. I got to take kids hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, through high ropes courses, rock climbing, on a giant swing all while living in the most picturesque area. I also got to live in a tipi, sleep by the warmth of a fire and share songs and stories with my groups.
I was privileged enough to share such a pivotal experience with these children and I can say that I, only a teenager at the time, was able to contribute to their lives in one way or another. By the end of this experience I came away more confident, motivated and independent. I was able to begin university with a new-found drive and passion for my course and my developed self-confidence helped me immerse myself into the Uni life making amazing strong friendships. I also now have lifetime friendships with my friends from Canada with people of all walks of life who challenged me to look at things from new perspectives and most importantly became my family. Canada is now, without a doubt, my second home.
- Claire Woodward, Outdoor Activities Instructor, Canada - 2016