Summer Presents an Opportunity to Try New Things

What are you doing this summer? Spending time at the cottage, catching up on your reading list, watching lots of soccer (your own kids or World Cup), unearthing your green thumb, getting in shape … all of the above?

I always love hearing how people spend their summer months. I think it speaks to their sense of adventure, need to relax and recalibrate, desire for lifelong learning and openness to trying something new. To me, summer represents a break from the usual routine and fast pace of life. Of course, timing is everything and depending on one’s family situation, not every summer allows us the opportunity to do something extraordinary. However, I’m a big believer in trying something new or setting a goal, albeit big or small.

Last fall, I heard all sorts of anecdotes about our students doing a wide variety of exciting things, in addition to summer jobs and time at the cottage. Some were more athletic in nature. Kira Gupta-Baltazar ’20 had trained all summer to represent Canada at the World Triathlon Grand Finals in Gold Coast, Australia. Teagan Grant ’19 made the roster for Team Canada’s National Women’s U18 team. Wilson O’Neill ’19 and Maxx Railton ’20 trained with CDS Track Coach Denise Steadman for the National Youth Track & Field Championships in Brandon, Manitoba. And Ainsley Johnston ’21 spent a month in Austin at the American Ballet Theatre’s Texas Summer Intensive Program.

As for more academic pursuits, Georgie Tsiolis ’20 attended the Wharton School’s Pre-College Business Program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Allyson Whitmell ’19 enrolled in a five-day song writing workshop at the Berklee College of Music’s summer program in Boston. Serena Sethi ’20 took part in Harvard University’s two-week Summer Program which opened her eyes to future career opportunities. And Maeve Tebbutt ’19 pursued a genetics course as part of the Summer in Oxford program at Oxford University in England.

Meanwhile, Kabir Walia ’19 travelled to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon for a month to experience Shad Valley’s unique experiential-learning program rooted in the STEAM disciplines and gained entrepreneurial and workforce skills, as well as access to the international Shad Valley network for life.

“According to Kabir, “Each day at Shad Valley provided something new – from university-style lectures to cultural and artistic sessions, to even hands-on workshops at government-level laboratories or research facilities. I particularly found Shad interesting as it took the concepts I learned in my Grade 11 courses and pushed my learning and knowledge even further. At the same time, I was able to experience first-hand what living on a university campus entails – meal plans, residences, and more!

“Above all, the critical aspect of my month at Shad was not what I learned, but rather, the people I met. I came to Shad not knowing what to expect. I left Shad as a member of a like-minded family of 64 change-makers from across the country and a network of over 17,000 alum, including numerous Rhodes Scholars, Top 30 under 30 award winners, and Loran Scholars. Shad prepared me for a successful grade 12 year and I can enthusiastically say that I am ready for the post-secondary career ahead of me.”

The Student Services Centre posts a list of some of these opportunities, but there are countless opportunities available to young people, including DIY internships and co-ops that can be arranged independently.

As well, many of our faculty used their time away from teaching to do incredible things.  Here is just a sampling of what some of them were up to last summer.

Andy MacMillan (Mr. Mac), our Senior School Outdoor Education Coordinator, is part-owner of a wilderness adventure camp in Temagami in northern Ontario. Unlike previous summers where Mr. Mac would oversee their 20-acre island basecamp and responsible for ensuring the campers and their guides stuck to their two and three-week paddling itineraries, last summer’s forest fires required the need for agility and quick thinking.

Due to the numerous forest fires in Temagami and North Bay regions, some of which were within less than 10 miles from the campers, Mr. MacMillan had to implement their risk management protocol and rely on Search and Rescue Fire crew to conduct a few rescue missions and reroute his campers in short order. “No one was ever in immediate danger, but there were so many lightning fires – we needed to monitor the situation constantly.” Fortunately, thanks to the nimbleness of Temagami’s expert staff – camper itineraries didn’t miss a beat and parents were kept well-informed of their children’s safety and updated routes.

Scott Garbe and his son Jeremy ’19 visited Laramie, Wyoming to do research for last year’s unforgettable and life-changing production of The Laramie Project. Read the full story of their journey in the spring edition of The Link.

Junior School Physical Education teacher, Mark Burleigh, took a family trip to Calgary during the Calgary Stampede and caught up with CDS Co-Founder Mr. Ed Eberts, his daughter Katie (Eberts) Plintz ’94 and Shannon Higgins ’98 while in town.

Senior School Science teacher, Aimee Lee, did some missionary work at Constance Lake First Nations Reserve – 12 hours north of Toronto in the middle of Ontario. According to Ms. Lee, “It was eye-opening and humbling to serve the First Nations people and get to know them.”

And Director of Student Services and Assistant Head of School, Susan Scott, experienced a trip of a lifetime with the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) on a trip to Poland and Israel. Read about this life altering experience in our next blog post. Why not get out there and try something new – and then let us know what you’ve done. Happy Summer!