There was no shortage of pre-game smack talk, and on October 11th the Nala’atsi crew headed to Campbell River to face off in the forest for our second annual laser tag outing. It was a beautiful, sunny day and students & staff had a fantastic time gallivanting through the forest. (Thank you to Bobbie for the exceptional action shots!)
On May 24th we hosted our annual Nala’atsi Healthy Living Fair. We invited families, caretakers, community members, Elders, trustees, and even 3 classes from Courtenay Elementary to check out student projects, a woodcarving workshop with master carver Wes Nahanee from the Squamish First Nation, tipi construction with Daryle Mills, and a salmon smoking demonstration with Lelaina Jules. The turn-out was excellent, and guests were treated to an array of healthy treats and cultural activities. We were really proud of our students, who were fantastic hosts and produced excellent projects around personal well-being.
Our year-end trip to Victoria was a fantastic conclusion to a fantastic year. Upon arriving in Victoria we were greeted by a number of sassy peacocks in Beacon Hill Park. They were intent upon eating our sandwiches, and managed to terrify a few of our students, but they left hungry. We visited Beacon Hill Park petting zoo where we saw pigs, alpacas, and of course baby goats. We loved seeing our students transform into wide-eyed kids ooh’ing and ah’ing over the baby goats.
Chinatown was a big hit for students, too, and we navigated the narrow Fan Tan alley and explored the various shops and their dizzying array of oddities.
We went to Young’s Chinese Restaurant for dinner, not really knowing what to expect. We ordered 2 ‘Family of 6’ meals. It was an obscene amount of food. After eating the first of 8 dishes (spring rolls and wontons) Tabitha remarked “Is that all the food?” That was not all the food. They continued to bring out plate after plate. At first we felt jubilant, then overwhelmed, and then just embarrassed. But it was a delicious meal, full of laughter and lively conversation. Students went home the next night with many leftovers.
Our tour of the Royal BC Museum First Nations exhibit was excellent, led by our extremely knowledgeable guide Leslie McGarry, from the Kwakiutl First Nation. She shared her extensive knowledge of BC’s First Nations and led us through the stunning collection of art, artifacts, and other displays. Many of our students were proud to see their nations represented in the museum. Leslie packed in an incredible amount of learning into one hour. Thank you Leslie!
Aren’t we photogenic?
All in all, the trip was a complete success and the culmination of all of our adventures throughout the year. Our students were a joy to spend time with and conducted themselves responsibly and with respect. Nala’atsi was well represented in Victoria!
And on the bus ride home the Bobbie Bailer Bus was full of tired but happy students. And Chinese leftovers. Many leftovers.
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon the Nala’atsi crew headed to Camp Gilwell to rebuild the Sweat Lodge that we had constructed all the way back in November 2017. Guided by everyone’s favourite Elder-in-training, Daryle Mills, we started by gathering young Alders and a few hours later had erected a picture-perfect Sweat Lodge . The following day students and staff participated in our second sweat of the year. It was another beautiful spring day, and we felt privileged and honoured to have this opportunity to immerse ourselves in culture. Thank you Daryle!
On a surprisingly sunny Thursday the Nala’atsi crew headed to Parksville in the Bobbie Bailer Bus for an action-packed (and often highly comical) afternoon of mini-golf at Paradise Fun Park. It was a really enjoyable day full of laughter and good times. Bobbie’s team ended up winning by literal decimal points. Well done Bobbie’s team!
Led by the ever-crafty Bobbie Bailer, on December 7th students and staff made their own dreamcatchers. Some of us were very successful and came out with beautifully crafted dreamcatchers. Others came out with… something vaguely resembling a dreamcatcher. In any case, we all had a blast!
What a beautiful fall day. Led by our very own Bobbie Bailer, we convoyed out to Comox Lake for a day of canoeing. The water was still and we avoided rain once again. And thankfully, no one ended up going for an unintentional swim in the lake. Thank you Bobbie and Bobbie’s dad for an excellent day on the lake!
The Nala’atsi crew met at the school at an obscene hour (before 8am!), piled into the Bobbie Bailer Bus, and headed down the coastal highway towards Buckley Bay. Two ferry rides later we arrived at Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Center on Hornby Island. Miraculously, the rain abated for the duration of our stay at the Outdoor Ed Center, and we had a full day of team-building activities, rock climbing, and terrifying high ropes acrobatics. Our students were fantastic and demonstrated their ability to support one another and work as a team. Thank you to our gracious hosts at Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Center!
On a beautifully sunny fall day we headed out to Fanny Bay to check in with the Sea Lions (they were a little late this year so we didn’t actually see many). Afterwards, we decamped at Mystery Beach, started a bonfire, and had a fantastic drum circle led by the incredible Bobbie Bailer.
All of our outings this year culminated in our overnight field trip to Vancouver . It was a fantastic ending to an equally fantastic year. We were extremely proud of how well our students handled themselves in the big city. For several of our students it was their first experience leaving the island. Granville Island, Burrard Bridge, Downtown, Gastown, Old Spaghetti Factory, slam poetry on Commercial Drive, Ricky’s, and then, of course, the Museum of Anthropology. Looking back, it didn’t make a lot of sense to do the museum last. We’d been together for over 30 hours. Tempers were starting to flare, hissy fits were became routine…. As we left the museum I was still feeling emotionally overwhelmed at the stunning collection of art and architecture at this world-class establishment. When I made the mistake of asking one of our students how he liked the museum, he replied: “I saw literally everything in 10 minutes, meh, it was pretty boring.” I took a few deep breaths and then walked away. It was going to be a long ferry ride home. But honestly, it was a terrifically successful trip, and we were blown away, once again, with how well our students supported one another through a new, challenging experience.