Rotary Club of South Surrey members present South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre principal Jim McConnell (centre) and Susan Martin with a donation that will help take nearly two dozen students to an outdoor camp in September.

Rotarians boost learning centre’s outdoor-education efforts

A financial boost from local Rotarians will help send students from the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre to an outdoor school.

A financial boost from local Rotarians will help send students from the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre to an outdoor school on the Indian Arm this fall.

The three days at Camp Jubilee is hoped to challenge the teens, while developing leadership skills they can put to use in the local community, principal Joe McConnell told Rotary Club of South Surrey members during a presentation Wednesday morning.

The students will experience “an environment they may not be totally comfortable with,” McConnell said, noting iPhones and the like will not be part of the outdoor education.

Things like kayaking, archery and a high-ropes course, however, will be on the itinerary.

It’s hoped the leadership skills learned “will change the culture of the school,” McConnell said.

McConnell described the learning centre as a school for kids that – for whatever reason – are not successful in mainstream high school. There are five such learning centres in the Surrey School District and this year, about 50 students who would not have graduated otherwise will receive their Dogwood.

The local group includes a teen who used to be a national-level swimmer when her life went a bit off-course.

She graduated last week with “unbelievable marks” and a $35,000 Cmolik Foundation full-ride scholarship to SFU.

“We have amazing, talented kids and they all have a story,” McConnell said.

Career-education facilitator Susan Martin emphasized that the learning centre is no less of a high school than the Peninsula’s other high schools, “we just do things differently.”

“What we’re trying to do is meet the students’ needs… so we can help students graduate.”

Martin said she was “amazed and delighted” by the Rotary club’s donation to the Camp Jubilee trip. The $3,000 will cover nearly half of the total cost for 24 students and three staff.

She described the club’s generosity as setting a good example for the students, and said she hopes the camp experience will inspire the students to get more involved in fundraising and volunteerism.

“Our students need examples like this,” Martin said. “The more you give back to community, the better you feel about yourself. You realize, it’s not just about you.”


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