Written by Christine Stornelli and Willow Girard, Student Journalists
On October 23, students from 6 schools in the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board began their adventure to Muskoka Woods, a Christian camp located in Rosseau Ontario. This is how students from the feeder schools of St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Tottenham (STA) begin their orientation to high school. Camp’s activities were led by the St. Thomas Aquinas’ leadership team and provided the perfect experience for elementary school students to begin their high school years.
The STA leadership course gives Grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity and experience to take charge and lead first hand. Their most important trip of the year is to camp Muskoka Woods. At the camp, STA councillors demonstrated what they had learned in class by leading groups of Grade 8 students in a variety of fun games and activities. The elementary schools who participated were Father F.X O’ Rielly, St. James, St. Paul’s, Holy Family and Monsignor J.E. Ronan Catholic Schools.
The main goal was to guide the young students into a mindset of faith, confidence and excitement for high school. The STA leaders encouraged many campers to face their fears and helped them build friendships that will last a lifetime.
“You will never succeed if you don’t try,” said Nate B., a Grade 8 student who attended the trip. “At Muskoka Woods they showed me how to reach new limits and taught me to take all the opportunities I may come across.”
Potential St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers were sorted into activity groups that included students from other schools with whom they would participate with for three days. This was a great chance to make new friends before high school starts. The campers participated in fun filled activities like zip lining, skateboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing and even taking a turn in a giant swing.
“Everyone seemed to have a great time even the kids who were a little shy at first. Kids who never thought they could, went outside their comfort zones and faced their fears. Overall it was an amazing experience. I definitely learned a lot about leadership and it was inspiring to have so many kids looking up to you!” an STA leader, Serena B., stated enthusiastically.
Despite a few rainy days, Muskoka Woods was a memorable experience that changed a lot of young students’ outlook on highschool. With our Catholic values at the heart of everyone’s efforts, the trip inspired courage, confidence, faith and friendship.