Quest prides itself on its close community, and it’s something that I often blog about. The constant events and sports games serve to bring together students from all years. Inevitably, as Quest grows, the strong sense of community lessens. But, even though the campus is growing, the school puts in effort to keep us close, or at least as close as we can be.
Once or twice per year, classes are cancelled for what is called “community day”. The goal is to foster community spirit, where the entire student population participates in activities and become better acquainted with other students and faculty.
This year the theme was “INTO OUR WILD”. Students could sign up for a variety of activities led by Quest faculty. These included an eagle float down the Howe Sound, snowshoeing, an introduction to ski touring, maple syrup tapping, puzzle making, polar bear swim, crocheting, hiking the chief, beer can stoves, camp cooking, and many others.
On Monday, student affairs posted the sign-up sheets. Immediately a mob of students formed, determined to sign up for their desired event. I was at the forefront of this mob, and managed to sign up my roommate, Katie, and I for the highly sought-after maple syrup tapping activity with Melanie, the Dean of students.
We left for our adventure on Wednesday morning, dressed in winter jackets and boots, gloves, and toques. I had never been maple syrup tapping, or really knew how it was done, but I was excited to learn, because who doesn’t love some syrup on waffles?
We took two Quest vans to a property with about 250 maple trees, and met up with a local syrup tapper. He talked a bit about the history and art of syrup tapping, how to effectively extract sap from the trees, and then sent us off. We didn’t get to collect the syrup that we tapped (because it takes up to three days to collect the tree sap, and 18 hours to boil it down to syrup), but we then went to his kitchen and tried some of his syrup from the same trees. He compared syrup in the East to that of BC. The tastes are quite different, and the East has a much wider variety of syrups depending on the time of year the tree is tapped.
Lastly, we went to Melanie’s house for a French toast lunch! All students during their first block at Quest attend a lunch or dinner at Melanie’s, so it was nice to be back again.
My friends had similarly good stories, except for Daniel who sprained his ankle hiking down from the Chief (read his blog post “How the mighty fall”!). My two other roommates went into Squamish to watch eagles, others spent the afternoon playing puzzles, or snowshoeing.
The block system is intense, and can be stressful at times. Taking the day off to go outside, learn cool skills, and becoming better acquainted with our peers is a great way of keeping the Quest spirit alive!
*For more community day pics you can check out https://tagboard.com/wildquest2015/search or #wildquest on instagram!