Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Think orientation means sitting inside? Not so! This past summer, a group of first year students went on a canoe trip to Algonquin Park as part of a new orientation program called Brock BaseCamp. Samantha Dear and Doug Wigood, two current Brock students, went along not only to teach them how to camp and canoe, but also to answer their questions about what being a university student is all about. Although none of the students knew each other before the trip started, they became fast friends. Melissa, a Kinesiology major, said, “This trip really helped kick off my school year by allowing me to make some new friends in a place where we could connect very deeply, very quickly. I feel as though I’ve made some friends for life on this trip. Coming home after a trip like this I think we are all ready to shout, ‘Watch out! Here we come!’”
Over the five days of the trip, these new friends canoed, swam, ate good food, worked as a team to portage canoes, and watched the sun set together. They also talked around the campfire about how being in university is a lot different than being in high school. Naomi, a Health Sciences major said, “Brock BaseCamp was a wonderful orientation experience; every evening was an opportunity to bond with others on the trip, learn things and get tips on university and campus life. Some of the topics we discussed were staying healthy, eating well, attending classes, and avoiding procrastination. It was very informative.”
photo credits: Melissa Petterson & Samantha Dear
These students also got a chance to feel what it’s like to live with a group of people who they didn’t know (like living in the dorms). Ryan, a Business major, shared, “This experience helped me create a community prior to arriving on campus by showing me what it’s like to live with people who I have never met before and actually have a good time.” While the primary goals of this trip were to promote community and to allow incoming students to ask questions about university life, there were other goals as well. These include increasing students’ self-confidence and taking responsibility for their choices and themselves, providing leadership opportunities for current Brock students, and promoting an appreciation for outdoor recreation and the natural environment.
Dr. Tim O’Connell, a faculty member in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, and Mr. Ryan Howard, a PhD student and BaseCamp Coordinator, organized the trip. When asked about what makes BaseCamp work, Ryan said, “We’re using a wilderness setting to facilitate community development, leadership and self-reliance. The outdoors is a great place for these things to happen. Plus the student leaders are great people and know a lot about the ins and outs of being at Brock.”
If you like being outside and are looking for a fun way to meet people like you who are new to Brock, check out BaseCamp for the adventure before the adventure!