Making Connections Using Expedition Behaviour

By Mr. Andrew Johnston

As an OE teacher, I am always interested in what each student takes from Lakefield to share in their communities beyond the boundaries of our campus. How we interact with others is one of the most important things that students practice and apply in the 'real world'.

At this time of year, my Grade 9 students would normally be preparing for their 3-day canoe trip in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, located just north of the school. Part of this preparation involves a study and discussion of 'Expedition Behaviour' (EB) that helps a group reach a common goal successfully. EB has been developed and taught by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and most often applies to a group trip or expedition where participants are living and working in very close proximity to each other, in an environment that is very different from their normal lives. NOLS includes the following list as the core of EB:
  • Serve the mission and goals of the group.
  • Be as concerned for others as you are for yourself.
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Support leadership and growth in everyone.
  • Respect the cultures you contact.
  • Be kind and open-hearted.
  • Do your share and stay organized.
  • Help others, but don't routinely do their work.
  • Model integrity by being honest and accountable.
  • Admit and correct your mistakes.
In my class yesterday, students made an obvious connection between the importance of EB on a canoe trip, and how these behaviours can now be applied to their lives in our new COVID-19 reality. I am hopeful that students will continue to take a little bit of Lakefield with them wherever they are in the world, and I take heart from the fact that the skills and concepts we place importance in at Lakefield are applicable in a very broad way beyond our campus borders.
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4391 County Road 29, Lakefield Ontario K0L 2H0   705.652.3324


Lakefield College School is a private, coeducational boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12, located in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada.

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