Excursions and expeditions are an integrated part of the IPS program. The annual trip to Quebec, the week-long sailing adventure, the urban community service outings, and the visits to museums and galleries in Vancouver are all designed to ensure that IPS students are challenged to learn in different environments.
But, of all these exciting opportunities, if you were to ask IPS Alumni which trip impacted them most, many would say the Grade 9 Solo. Like every grade nine student for the last 20 years, they kayak from Bowen Island to Gambier Island in pristine Howe Sound, packed to the gunnels with gear for a three-day camping trip. This isn’t a standard school camping trip, however; there is a twist. They arrive, eat supper, then leave the larger group and spend the first night in the woods alone. They set up their own shelter, pull out some special journal material from the school, and then settle in for the entire night. The Solo represents the last challenge for IPS students who have progressively increased their level of responsibility over the course of the four years from grade six to nine.
In a contemporary world that is immensely social, this is a time for a 14 year old to spend a night in quiet reflection; a silent journey that tests their courage and represents the culmination of many milestones along their path at IPS. Alumni Hamish Bryan says, “”Solo was a powerful opportunity to reflect on my journey and my learning at IPS, particularly, on who I had become and who I wanted to be”.
Steeped in ceremony and worthy of celebration by their teachers and parents, the Solo is the culminating challenge in a journey that helps 11 year old entry students transform into confident, self-reflective 14 year old adolescents who are ready for the next chapter of their lives.