Healthy Kids YMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

Experiential learning for Specialist High Skills Major students

Group of SHSM students jumping in air

For the many students who learn best by doing, traditional educational tools like textbooks, exams and presentations are the opposite of engaging. That’s why the Y developed an interactive, experiential Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at two of our outdoor education centres: YMCA Cedar Glen and Toronto Island.

The SHSM program gives students the opportunity to explore their career interests and goals before college, university, or the workplace. They’re able to focus their learning on a specific sector (such as construction, non-profit, and the environment) to gain on-the-job skills with actual employers in real-life situations, while earning valuable industry certifications.

SHSM experiences at YMCA Cedar Glen:

Students on field at YMCA Cedar Glen

YMCA Cedar Glen

YMCA Cedar Glen offers day, overnight, and in-school workshops featuring many exciting interactive indoor and outdoor activities at our 263 acre site. What makes our site so unique is that, while taking part in their certifications, students are able to enjoy a hands-on experiential learning environment like no other. Instead of PowerPoints, lectures, and worksheets, students learn about communication, group dynamics, and leadership while working through our:

  • Students work together to complete a team building initiative

    Team Building Initiatives

    Outdoor Maze (working in groups to complete challenges)

  • Low Ropes (completing the Meuse puzzle or the Team Balance Log)
  • Team Building Initiatives (hands-on puzzles, challenges, and group activities)


Day Trips at Toronto Island:

SHSM students participate in a workshop on Toronto Island

Toronto Island SHSM Workshop

New for this September, the Y has opened a satellite location on Toronto Island for SHSM workshops. This site, accessible from downtown Toronto via public transit (and a ferry, of course), is designed with convenience and accessibility in mind for school groups who cannot to make the trip out to Cedar Glen. The Toronto Island location features a different Outdoor Maze, Team Building Initiatives, and many different group activities.

To find out more about the YMCA’s of Greater Toronto’s SHSM workshops and Outdoor Education program, email or call 905-252-1330.