My Encounters With Canada Trip–Sports And Recreation April 22nd, 2012-April 28th, 2012

40, 000 feet in the air, flying from Vancouver to Ottawa for an Encounters With Canada (EWC) trip.  I was beyond excited for this unique experience, yet, like with anything new, a little nervous.  EWC is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime, bilingual experience which over 90, 000 youth to date have participated in. Approximately 120-150 teenagers, aged 14-17 from all across Canada come weekly to the nation’s capital (Ottawa) to interact with Canadian youth while participating in events that are related to the theme of their pre-selected week.

When I arrived at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre on April 22, I was about to encounter on a week’s worth of  various excursions—exciting adventures, future career options, the opportunity to learn more about Canada and our Nation’s diverse cultures, while meeting Canadian youth from coast to coast. 

Upon arriving I signed in, received and over-view of the following week and then found my bunk and began to meet all the other youth who, along with myself were calling the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre “home” for the next week, oblivious to how close we’d all become within such a short period of time.

Throughout my stay at EWC, I was participating in the Sports and Fitness week. Therefore, some of the activities we did included cycling along Ottawa’s famous Rideau Canal, which was absolutely gorgeous, visiting and climbing at one of Ottawa’s indoor rock climbing gyms (considering I’m a competitive rock climber, I was super excited for this activity). Along with trampoline at one of Ottawa’s trampoline gyms and for culture night I saw the Titanic movie in 3D.

During the rest of the week, I was honoured to receive a tour of the Parliament Buildings and see the House of Commons in session. As well, I visited the Museum of Civilization, the War Memorial, attended a Peace Module ceremony hosted by Major Wayne McCulloch, a presentation by Elin Saikaly—a film maker who summited Mount Everest with amazing integrity and much more.

The inspiring week sped by, it was truly an amazing experience, one of which I would recommend to ANY Canadian youth!! Having now participated in such a culture rich week, I have learned so much and cannot fathom how to express my true gratitude for this experience.

But, more so, the friendships I made throughout this trip are what made the experience and memories the amazing ones that they are. If it weren’t for these people I don’t know how the week would have been. Each and every one of the people I met on this trip have impacted me and made me the person I am today. Our love for one another, and fast, but deeply sincere friendship with one another cannot be described except for the tears that were shed while saying our “good bye’s”. Hugging each and every new friend “au revoir”, was so hard to do, yet such an amazing feeling at the same time, considering these amazing friendships I had now gained with about 120 youth from across Canada.

Live to love, love to live, Encounters With Canada–truly a life changing experience, a week I will never forget.

-To learn more about Encounters With Canada, and the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre, please visit their website by clicking here and here!!