Outdoor Education

Take part in unique learn-by-living experiences

YMCA Outdoor Education creates meaningful group experiences fostering personal growth, skill development and teamwork. We welcome elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, retreats and other community and youth organizations.

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Cedar Glen Programs

Activity

Ages

Team Building Initiatives Various team challenges tailored to your group’s age, goals and objectives. All ages
Low Ropes Trust, communication and teamwork are the focus as groups work together to successfully complete each ropes course element. All ages
High Ropes Our high ropes course provides a safe environment for participants to push their comfort zone and for groups to work together, build trust and improve communications skills. Grade 3 & up
Climbing Wall Our climbing wall provides participants with the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone with the support of their group on the ground. *not available during winter Grade 3 & up
Outdoor Maze Our large outdoor maze encourages groups to work together through a series of fun games and activities. All ages

Activity

Ages

Fire Building Practice different methods to build and light a campfire. All ages
Outdoor Cooking After completing the fire building activity, cook bannock over the fire to progress skills to the next level. Grade 6 & up
Shelter Building Learn and practice building a shelter that can provide warmth and protection from the elements in a survival situation. All ages
Map Orienteering Learn the features of a map and navigate an orienteering course to collect clues and unscramble a secret message. All ages
Compass Orienteering Learn the features of a compass and how to properly use them. Practice these skills by setting and following a bearing to navigate an orienteering course. All ages
Score Orienteering Use topographic maps to explore the concept of scale and contour lines. Practice these skills on our score-based orienteering course. All ages
Crash in Bear Country Combine the skills necessary to survive outdoors. This is a culminating activity which requires prior completion of fire building, shelter building and orienteering. All ages
Archery Learn about archery and practice proper shooting technique as you aim for the bull’s-eye. *not available during winter
All ages
Mountain Biking Explore our trails and mountain bike course. *not available during winter Grade 5 & up
Swimming Enjoy a refreshing swim in our pool at Cedar Glen. *available in July and August only All ages

Winter Activities (December-March)

Ages

Snowshoeing Practice using snowshoes to travel in snow during the winter as you explore one of our many trails. All ages
Tobogganing Enjoy the outdoors and have some good old fashioned fun sliding down a hill. All ages
Maple Syrup Learn about the history and production of maple syrup by actively participating in the collection of sap and the creation of maple syrup. *available mid-February to the end of March All ages

Activity

Ages

Animal Survival Game Participants learn about the food chain while taking on the role of herbivores, omnivores or carnivores to simulate an ecosystem. Grade 3 & up
Discover Nature Hike Explore the flora and fauna of our forests, streams and trails with an experienced guide. All ages
The Lorax Nature Hike Read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in a beautiful outdoor setting and explore the environmental themes with a hike, discussion and nature games. All ages
Wolf Pack Game Learn about the food pyramid and the importance of a balanced ecosystem in a game that simulates the northern Ontario habitat of the grey wolf. All ages
Art in Nature Head out on a nature walk to participate in hands-on activities and create ephemeral art using what nature has to offer. All ages
Organic Farm Discoveries Visit our 1.5 acre organic farm, where we grow organic vegetables for our salad bar. Students will see where and how food grows and participate in hands-on gardening activities. All ages
Edible Plants Scavenger Hunt Participants will observe and identify edible plants during a scavenger hunt exploration of Cedar Glen’s forest. Grade 6 & up
Stream Study Explore the ecological health of Cold Creek through a hands-on investigation of the aquatic ecosystem. Grade 6 & up
Heat Transfer in the Environment Understand the nature of heat and how it can be transferred or lost through convection, conduction and radiation. Grade 3-8

Indigenous Activities

Ages

Wiigiiwaam Reconciliation Program Explore Cedar Glen’s on-site wiigiiwaam and learn about its construction, Indigenous communities that lived here, YMCA reconciliation efforts and seasonal Indigenous cultural activities. Grade 7 & up
KAIROS Blanket Exercise Learn about the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada through an interactive indoor exercise. Grade 3 & up

Activity

Ages

Campfire (Programmed) YMCA staff lead the group in singing songs and campfire activities and then assist in roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. All ages
Campfire Pit Reservation (Non-program) Book a campfire pit for your group to spend an evening around a fire. YMCA staff build the fire before hand and can provide marshmallows, roasting sticks and supplies to make s'mores. All ages
Night Hike Test your senses after dark, explore nocturnal life in the woods and enjoy a spectacular view of the night sky. *available September to April All ages
Astronomy Get away from the city lights and see the stars while learning to identify constellations and the parts of our solar system. *available September to April All ages
Large Group Field Games Fun, active and age appropriate games. May include one single game like Stones, Clue or Capture the Flag or a series of shorter games. All ages
Team Challenges Enjoy a fun, active evening as a group by taking part in indoor or outdoor team competitions. All ages

Our certification workshops are tailored towards the SHSM sector that your students are completing. Each workshop includes indoor and outdoor interactive experiential learning components such as team building initiatives, challenges, puzzles and team maze which keeps students active and engaged!

  • Each SHSM Workshop will require 2.5-3 hours to complete.
  • Upon completion, each student will receive a certificate for each SHSM Workshop competed.
  • A minimum of 10 students is required for a booking.

Workshops

Leadership An in-class session will include defining leadership, discussing the character traits of a good leader, and activities that facilitate group work. Participants will deconstruct a leadership experience they have been part of, either as a participant or a leader, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Cooperative group challenges will require a variety of leadership skills and expose authoritative, laissez fair, and democratic leadership styles. A facilitated debrief will examine the leadership skills demonstrated.
Communication This workshop will explore how we communicate effectively (active listening, paraphrasing, clarifying, empathizing), the causes of communication breakdown, and different types of verbal and non-verbal communication. The theory of effective communication will be coupled with a number of cooperative group challenges that require strong communication skills. A facilitated debrief will evaluate effective communication skills and areas for improvement exposed through group activities.
Customer Service A group discussion will examine what excellent, good, and poor customer service looks and feels like as a customer. Participants will learn about customer service standards, characteristics of a great service provider, seven steps to selling, and barriers to service excellence. Cooperative group challenges and role playing scenarios will challenge students to demonstrate strong communication and conflict resolution skills in order to provide service excellence. A debrief and reflection will focus on how conflicts were resolved and the role of effective communication.
Conflict Resolution Through a facilitated discussion and activities students will explore the causes, triggers, and appearance of conflict and how to manage it. Students will learn about conflict resolution strategies such as the V.O.M.P. Method (Vent, Own, Moccasin walk, Plan) and work through situational role plays. Outdoor experiential activities could include group initiatives and a hike to the outdoor team building maze.
Group Dynamics Students will discuss and investigate group dynamics through an examination of various theories of group development. This will include the five stages of Tuckman’s Theory of Group Development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Participants will explore a range of factors that influence the cohesiveness and resiliency of a group. Through experiential role playing, team building activities, and a facilitated debrief students will consider the different roles that people take on in group situations.
Personality Inventory Help your students learn about and better understand their personality traits and the personalities of others. This workshop involves a variety of interactive group activities that help students to learn more about themselves.
Problem Solving This workshop examines the skills and strategies to help students define a problem, brainstorm and evaluate alternatives, and select the optimal solution.
Leave No Trace Camping Through an interactive hike students will learn how to minimize their impact on the natural environment while engaging in a variety of outdoor pursuits. Topics will include pre-trip preparation, camping policies, waste disposal, and impacts on wildlife. The hike will end with a campfire and an opportunity to cook a snack over the fire.
Event Planning Facilitated discussions and experiential activities will lead students to explore the fundamentals of planning and coordinating events (e.g. phases of event planning, the 4 D’s, SWOT Analysis). Leading an event from the planning stages through to fruition and a post-event debrief requires effective leadership and communication skills which will be examined through outdoor activities. The workshop will conclude with a mock event planning scenario.
Tour Guide/Tourism Students will discuss the basics of the travel/tourism industry and explore current issues (e.g. Risk management, eco-tourism, cultural sensitivity) through group discussions and hands-on activities. The group will then head outside for a guided tour of Cedar Glen that centres on the fundamentals of group facilitation and leadership.
Map & Compass Orienteering Students will learn about the parts of a compass, features of a map, how to find magnetic north, and how to set and follow a bearing. Hands-on experience will be gained by navigating around a compass course on our wilderness property.
Landscape Technique - Art in Nature Learn about Canadian landscape artists, styles, and techniques and put this knowledge to use by capturing the rolling hills of Cedar Glen’s 263-acre property in the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Participants hike to a campsite, sleep in tents and explore natural areas around YMCA Cedar Glen while learning how to set up tents, build fires and cook their own meals following the principles of Leave No Trace camping. Throughout the visit, participants will be guided by our experienced staff and will have a chance to try fun and challenging activities like high ropes, low ropes, archery, and much more!

Camp Pine Crest Programs

  • Choose from a wide range of curriculum-based programs year-round for grades three and up
  • Customize a unique learning experience with our expert staff to complement your student’s classroom learning
  • Guided activities for students to discover local animals, ecosystems, shelters, aboriginal culture, or orienteering
  • A strong focus on asset development, effective communication skills and developing strong teamwork amongst individuals
  • Individualized programs tailored to each group’s needs; these can target specific attributes such as communication skills, problem solving, leadership, teamwork and trust
  • Staff facilitate a variety of tasks encouraging large or small groups to work together, communicate and build interpersonal trust
  • Initiatives occur indoors or outdoors, and are individually moulded to target the needs of each visiting group
  • Canoe trips can be one of the most transformative experiences a group will have together and a great way to promote teamwork and good communication
  • Programs are designed specific for your group and all the gear, food and instruction for your trip are provided by our team at Pine Crest
  • Learning about canoe trips and packing prior to departure

Toronto Island Programs

Activity

Ages

Team Building Initiatives Various team challenges tailored to your group’s age, goals and objectives. All ages
Team Challenge Maze Our large outdoor maze encourages groups to work together through a series of fun games and activities. All ages
Team Challenges Enjoy a fun, active challenges as a group by taking part in team competitions. All ages
Large Group Field Games Fun, active and age appropriate games. May include one single game like Stones, Clue or Capture the Flag or a series of shorter games. All ages
Frisbee Golf Taking the activities of golf and Frisbee and combining them participants will incorporate rules of golf and the fun of Frisbee. All ages

Activity

Ages

Fire Building Practice different methods to build and light a campfire. All ages
Shelter Building Learn and practice building a shelter that can provide warmth and protection from the elements in a survival situation. All ages
Canoeing Students learn basic paddling skills and paddle tandem on a sheltered bay of Lake Ontario. All ages
Kayaking Students learn kayaking skills and paddle in a sheltered bay of Lake Ontario. All ages
Orienteering Learn the features of a map and navigate an orienteering course to collect clues and unscramble a secret message. All ages
Archery Learn about archery and practice proper shooting technique as you aim for the bull’s-eye. All ages
Biking Explore the trails and boardwalks Toronto Island has to offer. Grade 5 and up
The Lorax Nature Hike Read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in a beautiful outdoor setting and explore the environmental themes with a hike, discussion and nature games. All ages

Our certification workshops are tailored towards the SHSM sector that your students are completing. Each workshop includes indoor and outdoor interactive experiential learning components such as team building initiatives, challenges, puzzles and team maze which keeps students active and engaged!

  • Each SHSM Workshop will require 2.5-3 hours to complete.
  • Upon completion each student will receive a certificate for each SHSM Workshop competed.
  • Workshops

    Leadership A theory session will include defining leadership, discussing the character traits of a good leader, and activities that facilitate group work. Participants will deconstruct a leadership experience they have been part of, either as a participant or a leader, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Cooperative group challenges will require a variety of leadership skills and expose authoritative, laissez fair, and democratic leadership styles. A facilitated debrief will examine the leadership skills demonstrated.
    Communication This workshop will explore how we communicate effectively (active listening, paraphrasing, clarifying, empathizing), the causes of communication breakdown, and different types of verbal and non-verbal communication. The theory of effective communication will be coupled with a number of cooperative group challenges that require strong communication skills. A facilitated debrief will evaluate effective communication skills and areas for improvement exposed through group activities.
    Customer Service A group discussion will examine what excellent, good, and poor customer service looks and feels like as a customer. Participants will learn about customer service standards, characteristics of a great service provider, seven steps to selling, and barriers to service excellence. Cooperative group challenges and role playing scenarios will challenge students to demonstrate strong communication and conflict resolution skills in order to provide service excellence. A debrief and reflection will focus on how conflicts were resolved and the role of effective communication.
    Conflict Resolution Through a facilitated discussion and activities students will explore the causes, triggers, and appearance of conflict and how to manage it. Students will learn about conflict resolution strategies such as the V.O.M.P. Method (Vent, Own, Moccasin walk, Plan) and work through situational role plays. Outdoor experiential activities could include group initiatives and a hike to the outdoor team building maze.
    Group Dynamics Students will discuss and investigate group dynamics through an examination of various theories of group development. This will include the five stages of Tuckman’s Theory of Group Development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Participants will explore a range of factors that influence the cohesiveness and resiliency of a group. Through experiential role playing, team building activities, and a facilitated debrief students will consider the different roles that people take on in group situations.
    Personality Inventory Help your students learn about and better understand their personality traits and the personalities of others. This workshop involves a variety of interactive group activities that help students to learn more about themselves.
    Problem Solving This workshop examines the skills and strategies to help students define a problem, brainstorm and evaluate alternatives, and select the optimal solution.
    Leave No Trace Camping Through an interactive hike students will learn how to minimize their impact on the natural environment while engaging in a variety of outdoor pursuits. Topics will include pre-trip preparation, camping policies, waste disposal, and impacts on wildlife. The hike will end with a campfire and an opportunity to cook a snack over the fire.

Outdoor Centre Inquiry Form

All fields bellow are required unless marked as optional

 

Please select which location(s) you are interested in:

 

Contact us for additional information!

Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre 905-859-9622 or  cedarglen@ymcagta.org

Camp Pine Crest 1-877-878-9622 or 705-762-3377 or  camp.pinecrest@ymcagta.org

Toronto Island 905-859-9622 ext. 225 or  torontoisland@ymcagta.org