Reflections from BCP grads:

Christie Vandervlist
“I can’t believe it was over three years ago that I was there, feels like yesterday. I’m glad to tell you that most of our class from BCP fall ’07 still talk on a daily basis and are still as close as ever. We literally made friends for life. We’re all separated now with school, some on opposite coasts of the country, but when we get together it’s a family reunion.  Bronte Creek was the highlight of my teenage years, and it literally changed me forever. I am now at Trent University in a double major Biology and Environmental Sciences B.Sc and I wouldn’t be here in this program if Bronte Creek didn’t teach me how beautiful the world is. I treasure every memory, and I thank it for helping me be who I am now. ” (Dec. 13th, 2010)

Olivia Bibby
“Today when I was searching through some old photos, I stumbled across a few gems from my Bronte Creek days that through me into a bit of a nostalgic whirlwind, causing a flood of wonderful memories. I know how cliche this may sound, but please know that I am sincere when I say that the Bronte Creek Project has forever changed me. I don’t know if I could ever properly express in words, or even fully understand its profound impact on me. All I can say is that Bronte Creek holds many of my fondest memories, and the thought of my experience, even three years later, still brings tears to my eyes.  But it wasn’t the delicious food, or the breath taking environment, or the incredible adventure trip, or Monday morning hikes, or even the cozy fishbowl that made my experience what it was – it was the people.” (Nov. 30th, 2010)

Katie German
“I’ve learned a lot about environmental issues, nutrition, biodiversity, ecology and living lightly. When you hear about the BCP, you think it’s going to be easy and you don’t actually have “class” but I have learned so much information over the past semester. I think my parents are getting tired of me always having a fact or statistic that I learned in school that day that I wanted to wow’em with! A lot of the topics we discussed, I hadn’t really thought of before. It’s a completely different kind of learning. I loved it. Its made me want to be more aware of global and environmental issues, read the newspapers, do some research…try to stay up to date and understand the issues. I loved the bonding experience that comes with Kid’s Days. I loved the work ethic the group had when it came to the kitchen and clean up. I loved the energy you felt in the morning just before the kids arrived, and I loved the feeling of when it’s time for them to go home and they don’t want to. And when it’s time for you to go home and YOU don’t want to.”

Andrew Battiston
“The BCP has been one of the most influential learning experiences of my career. It is incredible to be a part of an ever-changing group of young and diverse people. It is a wonderful opportunity to break free of the typical classroom environment and challenge your self to a new type of learning. I have come to know the BCP as a program that involves your head, your hands and your heart. It will challenge the way you think about the world around you and at the same time give you a forum to test yourself physically through adventure oriented trips. The bonds you make with the people you grow with are unbreakable. I have been given the opportunity to apply for another semester to come back in the co-op role. I want another semester at The BCP because I am passionate about learning because of what I have experienced here. I feel this is something that everyone should experience. Don’t miss this life-changing opportunity.”

Ashley Burtch
“I learned that trying something that seems impossible isn’t all that hard when I taught myself Blackbird on guitar. I didn’t think I could do it but the right attitude helped me to succeed. Many of my skills also improved like cooking, cleaning, and snowshoeing. Overall I learned to trust myself in anything I do, whether it’s taking a risk, learning a new skill, or meeting a challenge.”

Jessica Bannock
“The BCP has taught me how to live jooocier, why to love the birds, the bees and of course, the trees. Where I can make a difference, and how I can go about doing that. I’ve had the privilege of being at BCP for 1 year as a student and a co-op. In my community, I met the most incredible people and had a chance to bond with them in such a short while. As a co-op, I grew even closer to (what I think and I know everyone would agree) the two most incredible teachers I know I will ever come across. So thanks to everyone I’ve met through my BCP experience for all the memories, smiles and support!”

Paula Kreczko
“I have to say deciding to go to this program was the best decision I ever made. It’s the best five months that you’ll ever experience. At the BCP, we do some amazing things and one of those things is teaching the Earthkeepers program to grade five and six kids. Kid’s Days are jam packed with activities, nature walks, drama, campfires, cooking and best of all, the little munchkins. Everything about Kid’s Days is pretty amazing and a whole lot of fun. At the BCP I have learned a great deal about the environment and my eyes have really opened up to nature. We spend a lot of time outdoors, which for me is the best way to learn instead of being in a stuffy classroom. The best part of The BCP is the fact that you spend five months with a group of people that you really connect with. I have met some incredible people that have made a great impact on my life and I will always remember them. The BCP begins to feel like a second home. You get to share so much during the five months, and you learn a lot about people and yourself.”

Sean McMillan
“The BCP is incredible; and that sentence really doesn’t do justice to how good it is. To give you an idea, I just rode for half an hour through humidity and rain to get here early to sit in a comfortable chair, by a big bay window, watching a dog eat a stick, just to write this. And as I sit here trying to articulate all my experiences and adventures, the rest of my peers sit around a table in the kitchen sharing endless stories of the previous night and memories from Kid’s Days while sipping down tea waiting for the beginning of the day (the day that finalizes all the planning for our canoe trip). In these times of reflection it is hard to account for all that has come my way. Being a part of this program that touches your hands with those of friends who have become so close, fills your head with the knowledge and wisdom that many long for, and beats right along with your heart, encouraging it to become more than you ever dreamed. And that’s what this is, a dream in reality.”

Dan Wilson
“Wow…what a semester. I’ve learned so many things, about me, about others…about everything!! The very first thing that comes to my mind is “all living things on the Earth are connected” … The kids were awesome, and so much fun! I found myself to be a big kid when I was around them. I could go down to their level and they’d see me and respect me like I was one of them. Along with them learning, I learned a lot too. There were so many things in the Earthkeepers program that not even I knew. I found myself feeling more and more comfortable as I progressed in teaching my Earthkeepers activity, and I could bounce off their enthusiasm and energy. When we did group work, I found it so much easier to learn and understand things. I gained a lot more environmental knowledge, which I was happy about…so many questions I’ve had have been answered by it. But most of all, I learned that I can make close, true friends that I’ll never forget, there’s so many new things I learned, but none to me as important as this one. From the first day to the final day, I haven’t forgotten these friends once and ten years from now I’ll look back and say “I learned so much in so many fun and different ways, about me, about others, but most of all I’ve made 18 other friends that I haven’t forgotten and never will.”

Cassandra Kawiuk
“I’ve learned so much about myself, and my relationships with other people and nature, that it’s almost impossible to categorize everything. I think a huge part of what I’ve learned about life in general involves a word that I used to think was only used to describe nutrition. Holistic. Looking at my life as a whole has become so important to me within the past few months. This realization that life is so much bigger than high school and that the world isn’t just where I live has affected everything about my personality. My relationships with everyone are so much better now that I can concentrate on a person as a whole and not dwell on a certain characteristic about them.

I’m so happy and lucky that I’ve found this. I love people. I’ve learned that interactions with people can only make life richer. I used to choose very carefully who I would surround myself with, and through this group I’ve realized that diversity is so important and only good things can come from it. Although I have a newfound love of people, I’ve never enjoyed solitude more than in this point of my life. Writing in my journal for these past months and being alone with my thoughts and assessing my beliefs has helped me gain such a deeper perspective on everything in my world. I’ve been able to reflect on discussions and things I’ve learned and vent my frustrations without even saying a word. My journal has helped me assess what’s most important in life. And I’ve been able to look back and learn more about how I think and act. I’m never going to forget amazing experiences I’ve had because I’ll forever have my thoughts and words to remind me. I basically wrote a novel about the winter trip, and looking back at those pages made me realize that I’ve never been able to express myself so sincerely before. I know I’m never going to forget things I’ve learnt and because of that I’ll always keep a journal with me.

I think that I could go on and on about all the things I’ve learned about myself, and others…but words would never do justice for the amount of knowledge and amazing experiences I’ve shared and absorbed in the past five months. I’ll always take this semester with me wherever I go simply because I’ve been totally re-defined as a person during this time and I’ll be forever grateful of the impacts that Bronte Creek has had, and will have on my life.”

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Funding provided by the Halton District School Board, the Halton Learning Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Halton District School Board Gary Allan High School

The Bronte Creek Project is a Gary Allan High School program in the Halton District School Board.