Welcoming the “new kids”

Welcoming the “new kids”

A long-standing tradition at A.L. Fortune Secondary to build connections between the students starting and wrapping up their education at the school took place at Gardom Lake Bible Camp and Retreat Centre on September 16-17.

Each year an overnight trip is held for the grade 7 and 8 students to spend time with the grade 12 students in the school.  This year, only the grade 12’s stayed overnight, with the younger students attending during the day, either Thursday or Friday.

Long time school counsellor Don Bennett comments the camp has been running for about 20 years, and this was his 18th year attending! The overnight camp was not held last year due to COVID. “The highlight every year is seeing the connections made between our grads and our junior students.”

Bennett explains the camp was originally started when A.L. Fortune used to have three feeder schools that sent their grade 8’s to A.L. Fortune (Grindrod, Ashton Creek, and M.V. Beattie), so the second week of September they would take all the grade 8’s for two days and an overnight the second week of school.

“It was a ‘getting to know you’ kind of camp. To assist in the running of the camp we would take student camp leaders from our grade 12 class who would be their ‘camp counsellor’ for the two days.” The Gardom Lake staff run the actual stations/activities which include activities such as a climbing wall, high ropes, archery, low ropes, canoeing/kayaking and orienteering.

“The Camp has changed a bit since we now have grade 7’s at our school, who all come from the one feeder school, M.V. Beattie.  This year we have five divisions of grade 7/8 classes and a very small Grad class (34) so we brought the 7/8 divisions up for the day only and then had the evening overnight as a Grad retreat event. We had two 7/8 divisions and the grads during the day on Thursday the 16th, and then we had three grade 7/8 divisions and Grads on the Friday.”

This year the event was organized by Bennett and fellow teacher Daniel Derksen. Two grad sponsors, Brandi Streloff and Tracey Castle, helped with overnight supervision.