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A Career Outdoors My name is Kate Hives. I was an SMS student for 10 years, from Kindergarten to Grade 9. I now spend more than half my year with a beach as my office and a tent as my home. I suppose what I do might be considered an unusual line of work to call a career—being a wilderness guide, sea kayak coach, and outdoor educator—but if you tell a story enough times it starts to become real. When I do tell my story, I include different details to suit the audience. The element of the story that always stays the same, however, is the telling of my time as a young girl at St. Margaret’s and my first experiences at Strathcona Park Lodge.

in the warm waters of Malaysia with Outward Bound, working with school students as we paddled with sea turtles. When I was a student at SMS, I never thought that my passion for the outdoors would take me to all these places. I have, of course, had other life adventures that do not involve kayaking—among them a brief stint in the circus as a tightrope walker and a 1,000 kilometre trek across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. But whatever the adventure has been, at the heart of it was the spirit of one of Strathcona’s core values: Living on the Edge—Being open to new experiences, new ideas, and people’s differences. The foundation for my love and passion for wilderness travel by kayak was, indeed, built at Strathcona during Outweek. But it was not that experience alone that gave me my compass. SMS offered a spectrum of ongoing experiences ranging from learning to string a decent sentence together, to the expectation that I do well in mathematics, to being encouraged to fully explore all the skills I possess. The math, science, and grammar, along with the wilderness experiences, all became a part of who I am.

The raw beginnings of my current lifestyle and career path were set, even without my knowing, the day I signed up for whitewater kayaking at “Strath.” I now feel deeply drawn to the wilderness and hear the sweet call of the wild places, and I don’t think I could live without them. Having ongoing opportunities for outdoor experiences as a student at SMS opened the door for me to pursue my passions. I had a glimmer of a vision, felt empowered As a wilderness guide I have seen hundreds to follow a less-trodden path, in part thanks of people experience the wonders of the to my mom and dad, and had the academic outdoors. I have watched as they begin to foundations to follow up my vision with a explore how it feels to be themselves in plan. I have gone on to complete my honours wild places. It seems obvious to me now LINDA HOGAN bachelor degree in outdoor recreation at that learning to spend time in the natural Lakehead University, and I am continuing my world and experiencing a sense of place, studies working on my master’s in environmental education and stepping outside of comfortable boundaries, communications at Royal Roads University. and learning to see through new eyes are skills that need to be cultivated as much and as often as learning grammar and In the 18 years since I was last a student at SMS, I have travelled mathematics. There is so much to learn from the land; Linda around the world with kayaking at the heart of the endeavour. Hogan, Native American writer and environmentalist, has said, I have guided wilderness trips in Patagonia, Chile; paddled the “There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the mystical shores of Scotland and other parts of the UK; explored time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay the vast and wild coasts of British Columbia; and kayaked 21 days attention to the story.” SMS

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story.”

SMS Spirit 19

Spirit Magazine | The Experiential Learning Issue | Winter 2017  

Spirit is a semiannual publication by St Margaret's School for girls. SMS provides empowering education for girls from Junior Kindergarten t...

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