Wilderness School is a three-year, gender-inclusive program for youth. Monthly weekend trips and multi-day summer excursions lead participants up Vancouver Island’s highest peaks, underground through Horne Lake’s caves and into Tofino’s waves with outdoor adventures like hiking, surfing, kayaking, camping and snowshoeing – and we encourage family to participate and share in the experience, too.

Who is Wilderness School for?

Wilderness School supports youth living with financial and/or social barriers at home and at school. The intake process begins in Grade 8; commitment to and participation in the program lasts three years, until the end of Grade 10, helping youth build strong relationships and interpersonal skills within an intimate group of peers.

Where is the program offered?

The program is available in Victoria.

What are participants saying?

“I learned a lot of things about how to live life, especially that making mistakes did not mean I was a failure.”

“The program showed me how to be a leader and not follow other people.”

“It’s so much fun!”

How much does it cost?

With the support of our donors, all of our programs are subsidized, minimizing cost to our participants. Each year of Wilderness School is $100 and includes all transportation, equipment, gear and food for all single and multi-day adventures. Bursaries are available if cost is a barrier.

How to Join

  1. In January, parents, teachers and counsellors recommend participants to the program.
  2. Applications are reviewed in early February and assessed based on need, fit and desire.
  3. Short-listed candidates and their family members are interviewed in mid-February.
  4. Selected candidates are notified and invited to an orientation before the first program in March.

The next intake for Wilderness School is March 2023.

“Wilderness School has encouraged me to be more fearless and take more risks. It’s opened me to being more positive and accepting of people around me.”