Montana Leadership Trip

In November, a group of Grade 8 students visited Montana where they learned a variety of survival skills as well as more about the land and culture of the area.

"My week in Montana was an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I was a bit nervous coming into the trip however, this place completely exceeded my expectations and I’m really glad I got to go.

Some of the highlights included visiting Glacier National Park for a hike and learning about the ecology of the area. Sebastian made a five-pound snowball that he named Snowy, and he and Jonathan together carried it around for three hours. Everyone found it adorable.
 
We took a train ride and saw some amazing scenery as well as crossed over the continental divide via the Marias Pass. It was a cool experience riding over the pass that many people died trying to find.
 
We also took part in survival day. We headed out to find a suitable campsite and spent about 15 minutes flattening all the snow down in a circle so that we could set up a camp. Then we attempted to make a small campfire in pairs and learned how to make proper kindling for the fire using the stick bundle technique, which involves a lot of thin, dead twigs in a bundle.
 
We spend a day learning about hunting and tracking. We were taught how to recognize an animal track and key information about it, such as how wide the animal was, how fast it was moving, what sort of stride pattern it had and what direction it was travelling in. We found deer, wolf, bear, pine marten, weasel and even a red fox track throughout the week. I liked this day because this information would be very useful if you needed to survive in the woods.
 
On the final day, we learned about Blackfoot Native American history. We spent time with a First Nations man named Jack Gladstone and visited a Plains Indian museum. We also visited a language immersion school for Native American children and learned some basic vocabulary in the traditional Blackfeet First Nations language. Finally, we visited a ridge with a good view of the mountain that creates the continental divide. There are three ridges leading out from the mountain, enclosing the Columbia watershed, the Missouri watershed and the Hudson’s Bay watershed. The winds must have hit 70 km/h and people were actually falling over the wind was so strong, but the view was amazing.
 
Overall, this trip was a wonderful experience. We got to do so many things that I either had not done in a while or had never done before. I feel really thankful to everyone who was a part of the trip and especially Ms. Kuno and Mr. Brunner for organizing the trip."

- Kiefer G., Grade 8
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