Until she experienced it, Lauren Flowers had no idea how much time in the wilderness could teach her about life in university.
By the end of her five-day adventure in August 2016, the Physical Education student from Markham felt her eyes had been opened to the Brock journey at her feet.
Flowers took part in the BaseCamp summer orientation program, which for 10 years has allowed Brock students to embark on various hiking and canoeing trips in the Ontario wilderness while also learning more about the University.
Brock’s summer orientation programs, which also include Smart Start and Leap, aim to streamline the transition to post-secondary life while also providing academic and recreational resources to students before they start their studies in September.
For Flowers, a lifelong camper, the rural northern setting of a canoe trip in Algonquin Provincial Park was familiar; however, the chance to get first-hand tips about life at Brock and living in the Niagara community was all new.
“We learned to work together with everyone as we paddled and set up camp, and that was transferrable to class projects, assignments and clubs,” she said. “It also helped me to meet some of my best friends.”
Unlike Flowers, Ana Ferreira had very little camping experience before signing up for a five-day backpacking trip in August 2017.
“It was the first time I ever put up a tent by myself,” said the Kinesiology student from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. “But the leaders were patient and they also taught us valuable lessons about first-year classes and residence life.”
Having seen the value in their own BaseCamp experiences, Flowers and Ferreira will return to the program this year to lead trips, including hiking and canoeing expeditions in Algonquin and an outdoor experience at Camp Wetaskiwin in Short Hills Provincial Park.
“I’m excited to work with people like myself who have not spent a lot of time in the wilderness and teach them lessons like how to start a fire and properly put on a heavy backpack,” said Ferreira. “I remember being nervous about those things before I started, but the lessons I learned made the whole experience worth it.”
Flowers said she’s also excited to pass on practical lessons that relate to beginning university.
“I want to tell incoming Badgers to take it one day at a time and to do things that make them happy,” she said. “They may still be a little nervous, but the trip will provide lots of familiar faces on campus and potentially long-term friendships as well.”
For those still hesitant about participating, Ferreira had a final piece of advice.
“It doesn’t matter what your outdoors experience is up to this point,” she said. “The guides will teach you everything you need to know and you will feel safe the whole time.”
Spaces are still available in the following BaseCamp trips:
- July 28 to 30 — Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Short Hills Adventure
- Aug. 12 to 16 — Backpacking trip
- Aug. 19 to 23 — Canoe trip
- Aug. 27 to Sept. 1 — Canoe trip and residence move in
- Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 — Short Hills adventure and move in
To learn more about available trips, visit the BaseCamp website.