Three Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) students took part in the trip of a lifetime this summer, joining an expedition to the Yukon in North West Canada, and are now working to inspire their fellow students to follow in their footsteps.
The students from Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA) in Stoke-on-Trent and Cowes Enterprise College on the Isle of Wight won their places on the expedition in a competition organised by the Trust in partnership with the British Exploring Society, undertaking a three-week expedition to the territory, led by expert science leaders.
An “adventure with a purpose”
The expedition was an “adventure with a purpose”, combining scientific field work, such as water sampling and ornithology studies, with media tasks, such as photography, videography, writing, presenting and sketching.
This was all in addition to challenging outdoor tasks, such as rugged camping and tough treks in the wilderness.
Tough physical challenges
Being cut-off from modern conveniences, including running water and smart phones, and facing a range of tough physical challenges, such as canoeing and rock climbing, each member of the expedition had to demonstrate both mental and physical endurance.
The expedition was divided into a number of sub-groups called ‘Fires’, and each ‘Fire’ had to adapt and pull together as a team to succeed, developing invaluable leadership and team working skills.
The students’ experiences were recorded in the ‘Fire Diaries’, a collection of photos and handwritten notes each member contributed to, which are currently in the process of being digitised to inspire the next cohort of intrepid explorers among their fellow students across the OAT network.
The students have also shared their experiences in lessons and assemblies, seeking to inspire their peers to pursue adventure.
Tough selection process
The three OAT students, Oliver Scragg (Cowes), Pipi-Lotta Kulla (Cowes), and Nathan Jarvis (OSSMA), were all offered the opportunity after a tough selection process. This involved writing a short essay on why they would be the best ambassadors for OAT and British Exploring, and then pitching that essay to a selection board at The Royal Geographical Society in Kensington.
OAT and British Exploring paid for two thirds of the expedition and the students were challenged to raise the remaining £1,200 through a range of measures, such as weekly bake sales and sponsored runs. Fundraising is a key component to the expedition – teaching students determination, resilience, and demonstrating what is possible when you put your mind to something.
Trust-wide Enrichment Charter
This competition and expedition was organised by OAT in line with its Trust-wide Enrichment Charter, through which the Trust seeks to provide students with opportunities to take part in a range of different extracurricular activities and to give them chances to learn outside the classroom. This is designed to raise OAT students’ aspirations and broaden their horizons, enriching the lives of students across the network.
The British Exploring Society is a youth development charity which creates bespoke expeditions “to wild and remote overseas locations in order to challenge and positively transform the expectations and future lives of young people”.
Rachel Kitley, Principal of Cowes Enterprise College, said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity for our students which I’m pleased to say they grasped with both hands. Having opportunities like this really brings learning to life and inspires young people to develop their talents.”
Julia Hayes, Enrichment Manager at Ormiston Academies Trust, said:
“Enrichment is such an important part of what we do at OAT. By providing fantastic opportunities like this, we can encourage students to achieve their full potential and have the confidence, drive and resilience to follow their dreams.”