Community Papers

Leadership course a cool experience on the glacier

Youth participants in a mountaineering expedition on Woodbury Glacier. Back row left to right: Tibo Kolmel, Kayden Foy, Aigne McGeady-Bruce, Dunavan Morris-Janzen, Galen Boulanger, Micah May. Front: guide Shaun King.  - Leo Jansma photo
Youth participants in a mountaineering expedition on Woodbury Glacier. Back row left to right: Tibo Kolmel, Kayden Foy, Aigne McGeady-Bruce, Dunavan Morris-Janzen, Galen Boulanger, Micah May. Front: guide Shaun King.
— image credit: Leo Jansma photo

In order to learn about leadership, six young Nelson men recently turned Woodbury Glacier into their classroom.

In late June, the L.V. Rogers Secondary students participated in a three-day mountaineering expedition.

The trip was a first step in developing a core group of senior male students who will help create opportunities for younger males to better engage in school and community life.

The statistics are concerning. Fewer males are completing high school, continuing on to post-secondary and earning scholarships or other opportunities. The traditional leadership classes and roles at LVR are attracting few males.

“The expedition was a challenge because it brought us to an environment that was new and unfamiliar for many of us,” explained participant Tibo Kolmel.

“Leadership requires knowing what it is like to feel unsure of yourself and out of your element, and pushing past that fear.”

“Most of us got to that place at some point on the trip,” said Kayden Foy.

With funding from Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, certified guide Shaun King was hired to lead the expedition.

Regional District of Central Kootenay directors Ramona Faust and Ron Mickel, LVR’s Legacy Fund, the LVR Parent Advisory Council and the Nelson and District Credit Union provided the remaining funds.

“We really came together as a team,” said Galen Boulanger. “We were roped together as we crossed the glacier so you had to communicate and move in sync with each other.”

The group recently met with male community leaders whose backgrounds are in business, politics, community service and education. They discussed leadership and ideas for how to support younger males.

“It was amazing to hear that the community leaders are excited by what we are doing and willing to help us,” said Aigne McGeady-Bruce.

“This is all pretty new to me so I really appreciate their support.”

Boulanger and Dunavan Morris-Janzen are currently leading the effort to organize Keep The Beat, a youth-initiated music event fundraiser for War Child Canada, which will be held at Lakeside Park on August 23.

The group is also discussing how they can support the incoming Grade 9 males make the transition to high school, particularly in light of the ongoing uncertainty created by the strike.

“I am aware of  how much support I have received from the community, in particular the many strong male mentors who have helped me along the way,” reflected Micah May whose godfather, Leo Jansma, helped out on the trip.

“It is time for me to give back. I hope to help younger guys better understand the opportunities that exist for them, provided they are willing to work hard and be open to the support they may need.”

Clearly young males are willing to step up to the challenges of leadership, but we need to reach out to them in ways that work for them. In this case, an ice axe and safety harness were necessary tools for the job.

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