The Flin Flon School Division has three times been awarded the Stu Siem Award, which recognizes the outstanding School Division Outdoor Education Program in the province of Manitoba.
Flin Flon School Division involves all four schools (McIsaac, Ruth Betts, Many Faces and Hapnot) in an extensive divisional Outdoor Education Program. The program starts officially in Grade 6 and continues all the way to S4.
Grade 6: students go to Camp Whitney for a 3 day/ 2-night camp
Grade 7: students go on a 2-day/1-night canoe trip on Phantom Lake
Grade 8: students return to Camp Whitney for a second 3 day/ 2-night camp
Grade 9-12 students at Many Faces Education Centre and Hapnot Collegiate have the opportunity to participate in the following activities
a 3 day/ 2 nights or 2 day/ 1 night canoe trip to Mikanagan Falls
2 day/ 1-night winter camp to MacLeods Point
2 day/1 night hiking trip
A downhill ski trip to Assessippi
The middle years school staff run an after school cross-country skiing program as a lead up to the formal Outdoor Education Program.
In order to run these programs successfully, the division places a strong focus on student safety. Students complete mandatory water safety, hypothermia and packing equipment sessions prior to trips. All trips are registered with D.N.R., D.N.S., RCMP (Flin Flon and Creighton) and Jackson's Air Service. Boats transporting students must be of a certain size and student loading and lifejacket rules are enforced. Snowmobile evacuation support and an emergency warming station are accessible if needed on the winter trip. The Department of Natural Resources has assisted our programs with "bear issues" at Camp Whitney, while Jackson's Air has a plane ready if an emergency medical evacuation is required.
All lead instructors in the program have Standard First Aid, CPR instructor's level and CCA certification, and take waterproofed satellite phones with them for communication purposes. A cell phone booster has been installed at Camp Whitney to allow cell phone contact to that site.
The Divisional Aquatics Program (Grade two through six and Grade 11-12 option) allows students to acquire basic swimming ability and water survival training, preparing them to have a positive canoeing/camping experiences.
The Grade 6 Camp Whitney is our entry program with activities such as canoeing, orienteering, hiking and nature crafts and camp improvement. Camp Whitney is a former Boy Scout camp built in the 40's that is now run/maintained by a partnership between the Flin Flon Recreation Commission, The Flin Flon School Division and the Flin Flon Rotary Club. Students are transported eight miles across Lake Athapap by boat to the camp.
The Grade 7 level is our entry program into canoeing skills. Canoeists take 5 training sessions: 2 canoeing session at Phantom Lake on paddling strokes, 1 canoe safety session at the pool, 1 meal planning/ equipment session and 1 session on packing and navigation.
The Grade 8's return to Camp Whitney to participate in activities such as solo canoeing, kayaking, geology, outdoor cooking, geocaching, nature craft, environmental acclimatization and camp improvements.
The high school program repeats the 5 canoe safety training sessions, focusing on more advanced canoeing skills and portaging. High school students paddle twice the distance as in the grade 7 program and the route is more technically demanding.
Senior High students also have the opportunity to participate in an overnight hiking trip, an overnight winter camp, and the Assessisippi ski trip. The winter camp trip preparation sessions have strong focus on cold weather (hypothermia) precautions and winter equipment selection. The ability to build a quinzee and sleep in it overnight is a novel experience for most of our students.
The key emphasis of the FFSD Outdoor Education Program is to provide all students with introductory outdoor experiences that will teach them how to enjoy the outdoors while respecting and sustaining this amazing natural environment. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful classroom that is literally "in our own backyard".