Six adventurous and persistent young women who are nearing the end of the residential phase of their rehabilitation treatment program at Portage Elora went on a week-long, and somewhat rainy Outward Bound expedition in Algonquin Park in September.
“The girls had a great time and learned so many things,” stated Sarah Connolly, Portage Elora’s Outward Bound Trip Leader. “It was a great opportunity to use the skills they developed at Portage in a natural, less structured environment. They worked on self-reliance by taking responsibility for all their needs from cooking to building shelters; and on self-care by finding ways to stay dry, warm, and comfortable.”
The girls pushed themselves on this trip, covering more ground than usual, especially given the inclement weather. They persevered on long canoe portages and rallied around each other to support one another whenever anyone struggled.
Sarah is continually inspired by the growth and resilience of the youth on these trips. “I love walking alongside a young person as they face challenges that they previously didn’t feel they had the ability to overcome. There is a transfer of learning between the challenges they face on the trail and those they face in real life. They realise, ‘If I can do this, I can succeed at recovery too’.”
Next up, Sarah and the youth are preparing for dogsledding and snowshoeing expeditions this winter. The residents will also visit Evergreen Brickworks this fall to take a high ropes and low ropes course on the eighteen metre tall Outward Bound Challenge Tower.