Blue Lake Forest Education Society runs Winter BLAST (Blue Lake Adventure Skills Training) program in response to the need for increased training in winter safety skills for youth as well as increased social development and leadership opportunities.
Through the success of Winter BLAST last year, this eight day program will run once again for youth between the ages of 15 and 18 from March 19-26, 2011.
Winter BLAST includes five days of training and workshops at the Blue Lake Centre followed by a three day winter camping trip into the backcountry around the Blue Lake Centre.
Participants receive hands-on training and experience in trip preparation and winter camping, backcountry safety skills (including navigation), snow shelter building, snowshoeing, cross- country skiing, safety and risk management, and more.
Participants also receive certification in Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 from the Canadian Avalanche Association.
Workshops will teach winter backcountry skills while stressing the importance of training, experience and knowledge of the risks associated with all winter activities and how to minimize these risks.
It will also be a ton of fun!
Winter BLAST provides experiential training and opportunities for self-discovery and leadership development in youth.
Winter BLAST is an advanced leadership program with a strong outdoors component; throughout the program participants will become part of a diverse team of individuals and they will be exposed to creative approaches on how to communicate effectively, collaborate, encourage and support others, and participants will gain a sense of independence and personal satisfaction.
Winter BLAST increases awareness of the need for avalanche training and certification before recreating in the backcountry through providing youth with basic winter technical skills training and avalanche certification. The winter technical skills associated with this program are not beyond any participant possessing minimal previous outdoor experience providing that all participants are willing to challenge themselves and demonstrate an enthusiastic attitude towards learning and personal growth.
With the opportunities available in the Kootenays for winter recreation, many people are in the backcountry without adequate experience or training. Although basic knowledge and understanding of the risks in the backcountry is useful, full certification, training, and experiential opportunities are extremely valuable. The high cost associated with this type of training is often a barrier and as a result, Winter BLAST has full and partial scholarships available to help subsidize the cost for participants. These scholarships were made possible through a generous donation from BC Hydro. Youth interested in participating must complete an application form which will be submitted to a selection committee. Participants will be selected based on their interest in developing their leadership and winter backcountry safety skills, and how they will use this new training to make positive changes in their own schools and communities, either through leadership involvement, or to increase awareness of the need for avalanche education and promote safe winter camping/recreation. For more information or to obtain an application form, please visit the Blue Lake website (www.bluelakecentre.com), call 250-426-3676, or check out the Blue Lake Facebook Page (search ‘Blue Lake Forest Education Society’, and check out the ‘Events’ section for Winter BLAST information). The deadline for applications is February 25th, 2011.