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Students walking on tree with a guide cable

WALE: Water and Land Education

Due to our local School Districts’ evolving response to COVID-19 the WALE program’s start date and overall class structure is subject to change in order to meet the changing needs of parents and students.

Develop your land and water wilderness skills !

  • Date: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, see our calendar for the start date of the next session
  • Registration options:
    • Greys: 1 day a week for 4 weeks, Mondays only (4 sessions)
    • Orcas: 3 days a week for 4 weeks, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (12 sessions)
    • Registration for multiple 4 week sessions is available
  • Cost: $68 each day/ student, or $65 each day/ student when you register for 12 sessions
  • Timing: 9AM – 3PM
  • Instructor ratio: 6:1, minimum of 4
  • Location: Westcoast Adventure College campus
    5449 Sooke Rd., Sooke, BC V9Z 0C8

The Program

This is not your regular day camp experience. Each day students will learn and practice wilderness and leadership skills while exploring new places in the water and on land. Vancouver Island is one of the best locations for outdoor education in Canada and with our experienced instructors and the diverse outdoor classrooms, students will explore their backyard with a fun and educational focus.

About Us

Westcoast Adventure College was started in 2002 and has graduated over 300 wilderness guides. We are British Columbia’s premier Adventure Tourism College and with accreditation by the BC Private Training Institutions Branch we ensure the highest level of experience and skills required for today’s Adventure Tourism industry. Over 20 years in wilderness education has proven to us that the benefits of outdoor learning on student confidence and knowledge retention is unparalleled.

Our Instructors

As graduates of our college program, all of our instructors are Level 2 Adventure Tourism Certified guides with years of experience across BC and the world. With our 6:1 instructor to student ratio, this ensures the quality of education your child will receive.

Students camping, lighting a fire and map reading

What you’ll learn

Explore the wilderness, immerse yourself in nature, learn what you are capable of, build friendships that last a lifetime.

Each week we will focus on a set of skills to prepare you for outdoor exploration, from how to plan, what to bring and how to get there. Each session will take place at a regional or provincial park and involve hiking or paddling while learning skills along the way.

  • Wilderness Skills

    • Trip Planning: how to choose an appropriate trip for you based on the terrain, time of year and your abilities
    • What and how to pack: learn the essentials for a day trip and how to pack them efficiently
    • Shelter Building: build improvised shelters using tarps or natural material
    • Fire Safety: learn when to have a fire, how to start and maintain it safely
    • Food Safety: what to bring with you, how to pack it, and what to pack out (hint: pack out everything!)
  • Wilderness Navigation

    • Route Planning: building on your trip planning skills, dive deeper into the process of navigating before you even get on the trail
    • Reading Terrain: learn different terrain features like hills, ridges, valleys, and depressions, practice how to recognize easy and rough terrain.
    • How to use a compass: learn the different parts of the compass, how to use it in the field and how to locate yourself using the compass and your map
    • How to use a map: learn the different parts of the map, the difference between a valley and ridge, how recognize steep vs flat terrain, and so much more
    • How to plan and navigate a route: once you are out there on the trail learn how to put together your route planning, terrain reading and map and compass skills
  • Outdoor Leadership

    • Planning a trip for a group: take what you’ve learned in wilderness skills and navigation and collaborate with your peers to plan a day trip
    • What to pack for a group trip: in additions to the essential items learn the additional items you may consider bringing as a leader
    • Assessing Risks in the wilderness: learn common hazards in the wilderness and the mitigation skills you need to address those hazards
    • Dealing with Emergencies: we do our best to avoid hazards but sometimes things happen, learn how to stay calm and work together in the event of an emergency
  • Ocean Foundations - Kayaking

    • Introduction to being on the ocean: start to build the skills and confidence for kayaking in sheltered waters and learn about the creatures and ecology of the Pacific Ocean
    • Safety Gear: learn how to use your essential safety gear, a PFD, paddle and bilge pump
    • Paddling Technique: learn how to hold your paddle and the basic strokes like the forward stroke and reverse stroke
    • Tides and Currents: learn how to read tides and begin to understand how ocean currents work in order to safely move through the water
    • Weather: how to read the weather before you go out and how recognize when its changing once you are out on the water
    • Planning a day paddle: how to choose an appropriate trip for you, the time of year and your ability

Calendar

Schedule is subject to change.

Students, kayaking, shelter building and water navigating with maps

Get prepared

Westcoast Adventure College provides the instructors and safety equipment. Students supply all personal snacks, drinks, and lunch and personal gear.

Please familiarize yourself with our Covid-19 Policies and Agreement.

  • Gear List
    • Closed toed shoes (day hikers or running shoes preferred)
    • Waterproof outer layers
    • Hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Water
    • Snacks and lunch
    • Appropriate layers if there is cold/rainy forecast
    • Face mask
    • Personal hand sanitizer