If the answer is no, this is one blog you should read. I’m here to tell you, you might be missing out on a great opportunity to help your students reach their full potential and for your school to benefit the way thousands have across the country.
I personally owe a lot to SHAD. I attended the summer program in 1991 at Acadia University when I was 18. Never before had I been with such a large group of like-minded peers. Everywhere I turned was someone just as curious and interested in learning as I was! That didn’t happen all that often at my high school and it pushed me in new ways. The program introduced me to new subjects we never studied in high school - oceanography, biotechnology, genetics, and so much more! SHAD was my first opportunity to work on a software team and I fell in love with it. I discovered a university major – computer science – that fascinated me and ultimately this led to a satisfying and challenging career as a software developer working for large telecommunications companies such as Nortel.
Kyle is pictured here second from the left at SHAD in 1991, preparing to drop an egg-protecting device
The entire SHAD experience was truly so life-changing that I jumped at the opportunity to give back to SHAD in 2013 and to help other young Canadians see and reach their potential.
I now have two roles at SHAD. Each summer I am a faculty member at SHAD’s UBC campus where I mentor students and run workshops on software, math, photography, and bird watching, which is another of my many passions.
During the school year, I tour Canada to promote SHAD as one of our outreach coordinators. It’s a great way to see the country, connect with diverse people, and find diamond-in-the-rough students who would be great SHADs.
My goal is to ensure that every Canadian high school educator and student knows about the SHAD enrichment program. Perhaps you know a student or two to recommend. I’d love to hear from you! We look for students with great potential who have a passion to learn and to make a difference in their community and beyond. At SHAD, students learn not just science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics, and entrepreneurship, but important personal and life lessons. It's the pre-university experience of a lifetime but the opportunities don't end when participants leave their campus. There are internships, scholarships, campus clubs, network opportunities, and venture capital funding that are only available to SHAD Fellows.
Some high schools have many SHAD applicants every year but others, particularly in rural and more remote parts of the country where SHAD isn’t as well-known, haven’t ever had an applicant, and that’s a shame. One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is to present SHAD at a school that has never had an applicant and watch as those students are offered a place, attend the program, and come back a new person. When they return to their high school, they can’t wait to tell their younger classmates to apply, and they complete the SHAD virtuous circle!
It is one thing to know how SHAD impacted my life but it’s another thing entirely to see firsthand how much all 60 students who attend each of our 13 university campuses grow in only one month.
I’d love to visit your school and give a short presentation especially if you are at one of the schools I highlighted above with little SHAD history. You can reach me at email@example.com. There is no application fee and an extensive scholarship and bursary program is available to ensure that no student is ever turned away due to finances. Maybe one of your students will have their life changed as much as mine was by SHAD!
SHAD FELLOW SPENDS A YEAR TRAVELLING AROUND THE GLOBE WITH HIS FAMILY
Special Guest Blogger: SHAD '84, Vern Bolinius
As a kid growing up in Toronto, many adventures started with a simple remark from my parents: “Let’s go on a family trip.” I’d go on tiptoes to get our trusty World Atlas from the bookshelf and soon there was talk of planes, trains and automobiles -- another travel plan was in the works.
Fast forward to age seventeen. In 1984, I had the good fortune of spending a month at a then-fledgling initiative at the University of Waterloo. Shad Valley (now ‘SHAD’) was a program aimed at fostering creativity in Canadian youth and was a spectacular experience. Over the last thirty years, SHAD alumni have credited the program with everything from bolstering teenage confidence to launching highly successful careers. I came away from SHAD with lifelong friends and with two ideals: the burning desire to never stop learning and the entrenched belief that almost nothing is impossible.
Now it’s 2016 and the travel bug planted in my youth has solidly taken root, fed in part by those two early SHAD ideals.
I have been happily married for twenty-one years, and my wife Carolyn shares my love for travel. Long before we had children, we decided that when the kid(s) were in the 10-to-12-year-old range, we would take a year and roam the world. Finance and logistics would be challenging… but not impossible. In June 2015, we pulled the trigger. We left work, sold the house and everything in it, and hit the road as globetrotters.
We are seven months into our trip, and I am writing this from Madagascar. Our time abroad has been a voyage of discovery. From snorkeling with sea turtles in the Galápagos Islands, to hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, to getting up close and personal with icebergs in Antarctica and wildlife in Africa, our journey continues to be a series of exhilarating adventures, no less magical or educational for my wife and I than for our 12-yr old son.
Sure, the trip has had a few downs. At New Year’s, on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, my cell phone was stolen – literally ripped out of my hands by a gang of five men while I was taking a picture of the festivities. We’ve had delays, been bogged down by sweltering heat, succumbed to motion sickness. But the negatives don’t come close to outweighing the wonder we’ve experienced.
We’ve often heard “Wow, I wish I could do what you’re doing.” While any trip, let alone a full year of travel, is not always easy or cheap, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Financing our journey has been a matter of priorities: A 50” TV would be nice, but I’d rather be off exploring. I don’t need a new car every few years -- keeping my old Honda Civic running for over a decade afforded us a number of getaways. Saving up for our current trip was many years in the making, and was fully worth the effort.
Travel is a real-world learning experience for the entire family. It gives us insight into the lives of those with whom we share our planet. It provides awareness, understanding and acceptance of different cultures. For anyone tempted by “a big trip”, work through your obstacles and make it happen. Way back, SHAD opened up my eyes to the world of possibilities. Now I’m so thankful I’ve been able to see that world first hand.