This past October, eight residents of Portage Elora’s boys’ community used the Algonquin Uplands Backpacking Trail as their “wilderness classroom” to apply the skills and social competencies they have been learning while in drug addiction rehabilitation treatment to an outside environment.
The seven-day Outward Bound expedition was a challenging one for the group, which hiked an average of five to ten kilometres a day, up and down steep and hilly terrain, with backpacks full of supplies weighing from 50 to 80 pounds each. Cold and rainy weather conditions and the lack of daylight added to this challenging trip.
Participants learned to work together as a team in order to successfully survive in the wilderness, and most completed a 24-hour solo experience where they each constructed their own shelter and slept in it for a night on their own. Highlights of the trip included up-close wilderness sightings of toads, snakes, and a moose and her baby calf. A few boys even braved the cold October waters and went swimming! All participants returned to Portage Elora positively affected by their autumn adventure.