On May 26th, Elkford Secondary School PE students headed out for a day on a working adventure. Mr. Gulyas’ and Mr. McAlister’s grade 8/9 students were given pickaxes, axes, shovels, drills, hammers, and handsaws at the trail head, then headed up into Elkford’s mountains to support the Elkford Trail Alliance (ETA) in maintaining a portion of Elkford’s Trans Canada Trail. This large group of students were broken up into three teams, there was a group in charge of clearing the trails of winter falls and spring overgrowth, one group was building a “squeeze gate” (to stop ATV and motorized traffic) and the last group was tasked with building trenches to divert water from eroding the trail itself. Students hiked 8.5 km, worked on trails and had an epic lunch in their mountains.
This was a day for all the volunteers on site, where they saw students work with an intrinsic motivation to do something good for their community. Many kids had either said, “I have been here before with my family,” “I have ridden this before,” or “I want to come back and try this section on my bike.” Students were connected to the land, to their community and it was evident that it was more then just digging dirt. This connection and determination to help, lead to the biggest problem of the day. The planned work projects were not big enough, students completed their task in half the time. Volunteers like Craig Mackinnon, had to scramble and find other sections of trail to improve. Students took what they learned from the initial project and worked even more efficiently and then helped with the decision making. This was all so awesome to see, there was teamwork, communication, positive vibes and a fundamental willingness to work.
Over the years, the PE program at Elkford Secondary School has been going out supporting different active living groups in the community; from the Elkford Nordic Society (staining and painting their cabins) to Wapiti Ski Hill (cutting and clearing brush from the hill). Once a year we try to have students give back, help their community, experience what it means to be a part of a community, by supporting local active living groups and societies through stewardship and community building. A big thank you to Collin Standish, Elkford Trail Alliance President, for providing the opportunity to help with this initiative. Collin made sure there was a project, tools for all students, he organized the lunch and provided hats for all the volunteers (ETA’s Sponsors: TransCanada trail – Trail Care, Columbia sports wear, Kootenay Market for lunch, District of Elkford and RMR Radiators for tooling). A big thank you to the Elkford Lions Club and the Elkford United Steel Workers for supporting the transportations costs for such local adventures.
Great hustle everyone!