Tofino Trip 2011 – Last Outing for the Grade 12’s

One of the really great things about the Grade 12’s final Mini School trip to Tofino was seeing the pure joy they showed through their smiles.  Tofino is a special place on the Westcoast and the perfect setting for the students to immerse themselves in the outdoors, fun, and of course, the pushing of their envelopes.

This year’s weather wasn’t so great but the times spent together sure was.  There was a ton of bonding between the students, lots of cooking with Mr. Nak, and even more eating!  One thing on the menu was a huge birthday cake for Priscilla and Ms. Weathermon who both celebrated their special day while away in Tofino.  The Mini School staff truly hope the students had their best time ever.  Please see what the students had to say about the trip below.

For our spring trip this year, the grade 12 class had the opportunity to learn how to surf out in Tofino.  It was new to most of us – even daunting, but then again, when do we ever do something we’re comfortable with?

The four days were unpredictable in terms of weather, but that didn’t stop us from catching a few waves – or at least attempting to.  The second day was full of excitement and anxiety as we tried on the wet suits and impatiently learned our first lesson in surfing.  Everyone was looking forward to getting into the water despite knowing how cold it would be.  Almost all of us were able to stand upright on our boards, or at least had the chance to feel the power of the wave as it swept us towards the shore.  The people around us – the friends we’ve had for five years in the making – were all encouraging and genuinely happy whenever someone caught a wave, even if it was just for a second.

Our evenings were filled with an enormous amount of laughter and joy as well as the feeling of safety and security as we enjoyed each other’s company.  Making meals together, endless rounds of Taboo, card games I’ve never even heard of – we did it all with a sense of family among the group.  I would assume that the trip was indeed bittersweet beneath the surface, but there truly wasn’t much that could have stopped us from enjoying those four days together.  Tofino was surely one to remember and I bet we’re all proud to say that we are now capable of surfing – at least to some extent.

First off, there are a lot of things I’d rather do with my spare time than play sports.  It was because of this reason that my expectations for myself as a surfer were not very high.  So, it took me by surprise when on the first day, I stopped being trampled by the waves but was instead carried by them.  There is no way to properly describe the feeling of joy that occurs when you realize you’re in fact not going to be thrown into the water.  How, when you’re just about to give up on a wave, you suddenly find yourself being effortlessly carried by it, able to stand up and enjoy its power.

Other than surfing, the best part of Tofino was that it was as if everyone was living in one big house.  We made, ate and cleaned up the meals together and in our spare time hung out with everybody.  I loved that for our last trip we did not have a long itinerary but instead had a lot of down time that left us able to play every board game you could imagine.  When it comes to the Tofino trip, the ocean was amazing, the surfing was great, the food was delicious and the people were better.  There was not one thing about this trip I didn’t like.  It was the perfect opportunity to not only surf, but more importantly get one more chance to bond with our graduating class in a way no one else is lucky enough to.

I remember our first trip to Strathcona Park Lodge and to end it off in Tofino seemed perfect.  Being able to take part in an activity like surfing was an incredible experience.  Going out into that water and riding those huge waves was by far my favourite activity that I’ve done on a Mini School trip.  Better yet, I got up on my board!  Trust me; it’s hard to get up on your board while 6ft waves come at your face every 3 seconds.  But the trip was so much more than that……

I mean the place that we were staying at was comfortable and clean!  Just kidding.  But when your most common accommodations with Mini are a tent or tarp, you appreciate the little things!  The best part about where we stayed was the common area with the kitchen in it; that’s where all the magic happened.  Whenever we weren’t surfing, we were either cooking one of the best meals with Mr. Nak or playing one of the millions of games they had at the lodge.  From a Taboo showdown to a two hour game of Monopoly, it was safe to say that we had our bonding time.  Day walks in the forest and night talks in our rooms were just a couple of the memories shared that I will take with me forever.  The last Mini School trip made me realize just how appreciative I should be to have the class I did, and how glad I am to have shared my high school experience with them.  I don’t think my last 5 years would have gone as smoothly if it weren’t for the core group that I had to be there for me.  It’s beyond cheesy, but there are no other words to explain it.  The best way to describe it in four letters would be… MS4L ❤


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About bsoong

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