On a cool March day, Stanley Park is a welcoming, mystical place to be. With joggers and cyclists threading through the trails and tourists taking in the beauty of the giant trees, it’s a community that brings to mind the many benefits of access to nature. Today, we at Power To Be are exploring Stanley Park with new Open Adventure participants. For some, it will be their first Power To Be program and for others, it will be their reconnection with Power To Be after multiple years. In all cases, participants are joining this program with an understanding of the benefits of experiencing nature as an inclusive group.

The program begins with the usual opening circle, providing space to acknowledge the lands that we will be exploring today as well as the group of individuals that will be sharing this upcoming adventure together. As we begin our hike, we spread out along the gravel trail weaving our way among the trees of Stanley Park. While we make our way in the direction of Beaver Lake, everyone is traveling at their own pace, choosing to listen to our surroundings in silence and at other times choosing to share one’s thought’s with others, all while staying connected to the larger group as a whole. The lighting begins to shift from a green hue to a light blue giving a clue to the forest opening up ahead. We have arrived at Beaver Lake. The name seemingly giving clear insight as to what may be living in this lake, but as is shared with the group, the story of how this lake was named may not be as clear. Circumnavigating the lake, we stop as a group to take note of our surroundings. Sights and sounds of the lake and forest around us that may have gone unnoticed now reveal themselves while we pause to have a moment of mindfulness. Here we take time to hone in some of our senses, including sight, smell, and sound. To our surprise, in our time of quiet, we hear the hoot of an owl in the forest, keeping an eye on the lake.

After taking in the beauty of the lake, the group decides to take a different route back, hugging the shoreline of the ocean that surrounds Stanley Park, forgetting that this powerful and calming body of water was so close to us this whole time. Here we take another pause to add our pieces of nature that everyone collected along the hike to our communal nature mosaic. Each person adds their own piece of nature that they were drawn to along the hike and when we have all placed our piece in the mosaic, we can see the amount of variety within the mosaic, similar to how each individual brought part of themselves to this group contributing to the experience of the group as a whole. With the program coming to an end, we wrap up with our closing circle, providing space to look back on our day together, share some of our highlights and look forward to another adventure.

Power To Be‘s programs offer new opportunities to get outside and explore. We are so grateful for the places we visit, the people who are a part of our programs, and the experiences that we share in nature, together.

This blog was written by Tameus Venkataraman, one of Power To Be‘s incredible Program Facilitators. He brings his experience facilitating programs, and his appreciation for diversity and many ways of life gleaned from his travels, to empower participants to achieve their goals and connect them to a larger community that loves to play outside.