A private school education for free!?!

16 05 2017


Seems a bit too good to be true, right? Small classes, interdisciplinary projects, experiential learning, supportive individualized mentoring, community engagement, and social and environmental consciousness. Free? Yes, it’s true, and available right here on the peninsula! Our community is fortunate enough to be the home to BPDS, an incredible K-12 UNESCO school that offers many of the features of a private school, for free, and it’s the default option if you live in Northern Bruce. Yes, it’s not perfectly free, because we pay taxes, but at least it won’t set you back $15,000 a year, as some private school parents pay. Yet it remains a mystery why parents and students are opting out.

I have been involved at BPDS in various capacities – as a volunteer, supply teacher, supply educational assistant, school bus driver, and perhaps most importantly, a student. I was also on the steering committee for the Peninsula Action Committee for Education (PACE) and was involved in a research project that surveyed about 300 community members and 80 former students on their local school experiences. Through these roles, I feel qualified to attest to the high quality of programming at BPDS.

I was fortunate enough to attend a private, nonprofit university after graduating from BPDS. Many of my peers attended private high schools and prestigious international schools, so naturally, I worried that my small-town education might come up short. However, I was relieved to find out that I was sufficiently prepared and even excelled in many of my classes. Small classes, interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities, supportive teacher mentors and the wide range of volunteer opportunities equipped me with the work ethic and skills to succeed at university. And thanks to Mr. Rodgers, I was more comfortable using Excel than many of my peers!

So of course, no school is perfect and certainly no high school experience is clear sailing, however continue to support our local school, not only because the school plays an important role in the vitality of the community, but also because it is a good school that offers unparalleled opportunities. The grass will always seem greener elsewhere, but I would encourage students and parents on the peninsula to take a moment to recognize just how green the grass is here.

This letter was published in Issue #6 (May 16 – May 30, 2017) of the Bruce Peninsula Press

The Fitz Hostel set to launch

28 03 2016

Hello friends,

As many of you know, I’ve spent the last two years thinking about and the last four months steadily planning and preparing to open a hostel in Lion’s Head. At last, it’s becoming a reality!

tfh_logo_cropThe Fitz Hostel is a small hostel opening on the Bruce Peninsula this May! The Fitz offers both private and dorm room options – one private double room and two 4-bed dorms. There will be shared bathroom facilities, a fully-equipped guest kitchen, spacious common areas and backyard. It is centrally located in the village of  Lion’s Head – steps away from the beach, amenities, and right along the Bruce Trail!

Like Captain Fitzwilliam Owen, the first explorer to chart Georgian Bay, The Fitz Hostel is charting new territory as the first hostel on the Bruce Peninsula. We, too, are explorers and travellers, and look forward to helping you make the most of your adventure – whether it be an action-packed week of as many outdoor activities you can fit in, or a relaxing weekend outstretched along Georgian Bay’s rocky shores. We hope you’ll fall in love with the Bruce Peninsula as much as we have! Whatever your adventure, start it at The Fitz!

For more information, visit www.thefitzhostel.com or drop a line to info@thefitzhostel.com! And of course you can find us on Facebook and Instagram (@thefitzhostel).

In the meantime, I need your help getting the word out to those who love the Bruce Peninsula! Also, a huge thank you to all of you who have encouraged and supported me thus far, and thank you in advance for spreading the word! Stay tuned for more details about our official launch and hope you’ll stop in and check it out for yourself!

See ya at The Fitz,


Back to the grind

5 02 2012

Just got back to beautiful British Columbia after an extended stay at home in Ontario. My mom had a minor stroke on Christmas Day, after which she was in rehab for a couple weeks and then she had to  transition to life back at home. So, I decided to stick around an extra month to support her in her recovery and encourage her along the way. Another life block! Although I struggled with the decision to stay or not to stay at the time, in retrospect, it seems obvious and I have no regrets. Fortunately, I go to a school that operates on the block program, and by taking one course at a time, I can jump right back in at the start of a new block. The way I see it, these difficult circumstances present an opportunity to learn to love, care and give of ourselves, and it only made sense to embrace this opportunity. It was also nice to spend some time with my family. Both my sisters now have their own places, so lots of changes on the home front.

Additionally, this past month, I had the chance to catch up on some other work. I was able to finish reading Cities on a Hill, one of my seminal works. Also, I was able to seek out some opportunities abroad. I applied for an exchange to either Zeppelin University or Amersterdam University College for next year. I also applied for Canada World Youth’s Youth Leaders in Action program, where participants work in teams of 18 youth (half Canadians, half from the partner country), volunteering in a Canadian community for three months, then in a community abroad for three months.

Plus, I spent some time thinking about my Question and where I might want to go with it or how I could focus it a bit more. Currently, it reads, “What is the role of collaboration in developing effective institutions?” Maybe I’m thinking about it too much, but it seems too obvious. I attended a screening of the film of The Economics of Happiness, hosted by our local Transitions group and rediscovered one of my passions that had somehow slipped off my radar – localization. Despite being problematic for my sometimes insomniac mind, it triggered lots of ideas. Here’s a snapshot from my spiral-ringed notebook of my post-film mind explosion…

Page of spiral notebook covered in chaotic writing

I missed going to Guelph Organic Conference and the Combining Two Cultures Conference on interdisciplinary education as I had contemplated, but I did have the opportunity of catching Wiarton Willie’s prediction for the first time and catch up with some friends from high school who I hadn’t seen in awhile. Despite the shortage of snow, I managed to get out for at least one snowshoe and one ski.

Next up, Identity and Perspective.