The Benefits of Outdoor Adventure, By Randall Williams

Dear Mini School Parents and Students,

I have to share the following article on The Benefits of Outdoor Adventure by Randall Williams.  He writes about it in relation to today’s youth and the amount of exposure they have to technology, interconnectedness, and the results of its unprecendented availability today, and lifestyle.  Further, he also talks about the impact of not having outdoor experiences on our society and today’s youth, in the future.

When I read the article, all I could think of is how ahead of the game the co-founders of the Mini School Program were when they decided to put in the countless hours to create, propose, and develop the program some 18 years ago.  Its as if Mr. Bill Cartwright and Mr. Don McCormick were able to see where society was going and what was necessary to offer young school age individuals.

Two of the well known phrases in the Mini School are: “Push the Envelope” and “Deal With It.”  As was in the past, and still is today, the Mini School is designed to make students uncomfortable.  It is through enduring fear, anxiousness, being upset, and being  uncomfortable (all in calculated and safe conditions!), students are forced to step outside of their comfort zone and experience personal growth.  I once drove by a sign outside a church that said “Calm seas do not make an experienced sailor.”  It think it makes the point very well.   As Randall and the Mini School’s philosophy says, the personal growth and skills that can be gained by students will benefit them later on in life beyond their secondary school years.  With appreciation, Martin Hui and Sarah Noble, past graduates, also echoed this message to a theatre full of grade 7 students and parents interested in the Mini School Program for next year just last week.

In response to the challenges they will face in the future, young people need to learn to live with uncertainty and to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them. The Campaign for Adventure and the RSA Risk Commission have achieved greater public and media awareness of the need to strike a sensible balance between risks and benefits. An adventure experience helps young people to learn to manage themselves in a risky and uncertain environment and to achieve that balance. Such an experience can be a real boost to self-esteem, especially for those who have not previously excelled. Many children discover for the first time that they can succeed, a discovery that has a direct effect on their subsequent engagement and motivation

Randall Williams also uses the words: Resilience, Self Confidence, and independence in his article.  I could not agree with these more as results to Outdoor Adventure Education.  These qualities are high on the list of the McNair Mini School also. Further, activities such as the Performing Arts Night, Science Fair and Night of the Notables are designed to achieve similar results, and support the philosophy of the Mini School that is to develop the wellrounded individual.

To read the full article by Randall Williams, please visit:


About bsoong

Vice Principal at Gladstone Secondary School in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Son, husband and father. Sports and movie fan.
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