Each fall, the new Grade 9 TOPS students spends four adventure-filled days at Pine Crest, a YMCA camp in the scenic Muskoka region of Ontario. Besides thoroughly enjoying themselves, students participate in leadership, trust-building and teamwork activities. With the assistance of teachers and several senior students, the Grade 9 class build their first memories as a group, creating bonds that will last a lifetime.
Together, the students face many challenges that are designed to encourage them to work as a team: helping each other out on a swinging high ropes courses, spotting them in the low ropes course, creating group skits and even teaming up on the seniors to trounce them in a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Stepping into Pine Crest as a group of strangers, the students leave as a tightly knit group who support each other and continually exceed both social and academic expectations.
Pinecrest Leadership Opportunities
Not only do Grade 9 students get to bond on the trip, some of the Grade 11 and 12 students are presented a leadership opportunity. Select seniors attend the trip with the Grade 9s each year, acting as mentors, counsellors, but above all, friends.
The senior students are also responsible for the welcome activities that occur in the evenings. Upon returning from the trip, the seniors act as a bridge between the new grade nine class and the students in older grades. This allows the new students to feel included and accepted into the close-knit TOPS community.