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Community in the Rapids

Ninety-two of our grade 12 students and six staff members made their way to the Ottawa River for our annual rafting trip with Wilderness Tours. 

The first day, students and staff teamed up in a 12-seat raft with a guide. One reason we love the rafting trip at HDCH is that students and staff have to communicate with each other and paddle together to successfully navigate the rapids. When a raft does go over, the teams work together to right their boat and to help each other get back in. On the quieter parts of the river, students were able to get out of the boats and swim. There was also an opportunity for cliff jumping. 

On day two, smaller boats were used and students become the “guides”. With support from the Wilderness Tour guides, students learn how to lead their teams and steer their boats in order to navigate the rapids.  

In the evenings we played team games with students in the popular “minute-to-win-it” competitions.  This was followed by evening devotions. On night one our students were encouraged to create a school where everyone knows and feels they belong to each other.

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” – Romans 12:5

On night two, we spoke about how when we face brokenness in our lives, God’s grace is sufficient. 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

The first day on the boat, a student in our boat exclaimed, “stop and look around you”. For many of us, in the midst of paddling, splashing others, and navigating rapids, we had forgotten about the beauty around us. We were surrounded by a canyon: Ontario on one side and Quebec on the other; an osprey was flying overhead; there was an incredible community of people experiencing this with us: this group we are privileged to call HDCH.

Students expressed thankfulness for an opportunity to be in a beautiful place, for an opportunity to just “be” with friends and peers, and for being mostly phone-free for three days (as the data coverage was weak at best). We are thankful for our grade 12 class and we look forward to navigating learning and life with them over their final year of high school.