Kelsi Leigh, Canada


I live, work and play in the Bow Valley Provincial Park which means I get to enjoy waking up to the beautiful Rocky Mountains daily. I also live with some pretty big furry critters like Bears, Cougars and Moose. All which have been sighted on site in the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately I have been unlucky in any of these sightings, but I have faith that I will get to see at least a bear and moose before I leave Canada.


For the first 13 weeks of life at YMCA Camp Chief Hector I lived in an 8 bedroom house which I shared with some other Lattitude Volunteers coming from countries such as Australia and Northern Ireland. This is just one of the life skills I’ve learnt while living in Canada. For the past 6 weeks I’ve been living in a tipi which has been an experience in itself. It’s an amazing feeling to be sleeping without walls and being able to hear nature all around you. The daily alarm is a squirrel at 6am running around the floor and making extremely loud squirrel squeals.


During winter and spring my job consists of being an Outdoor Eco-School Councillor. Every week school kids arrive to camp looking forward to being in the outdoors exploring and learning. No week is ever the same. The schedule doesn’t change but the groups do, with different kids and different personalities. I’ll admit that it isn’t always an easy job there are defiantly challenges within groups but working to find solutions is a rewarding feeling.

Winter and spring are similar in programming but there are a few different activities we do. Activities during both seasons include Challenge course, Team building and full day hike. In spring the lake on site has melted back into liquid and we do a canoeing block, we build tipis and we do animal tracking. I didn’t know what I was expecting to do when I came to Canada but being an outdoor classroom teacher wasn’t it. I wouldn’t change a thing though. I’ve learnt so much about the history of Canada and about nature and it feels good to be able to teach what I’ve learnt out here to the kids that come out to camp.


Something I’ve really enjoyed about living in a forest is not having a phone or internet access 24/7. It allows you to do many more things rather than sit and stare at a screen.  There’s so much to see and explore while being in another country. There are mountains to climb and 999 acres of camp property to explore. However I have done some exciting things such as go snowboarding and cross country skiing during winter. If it wasn’t so expensive I would have gone snowboarding every weekend. I also got to experience the Calgary Zoo and the Calgary Tower.

Overall I’m having such an amazing time in Canada. I’ve met many different people and had many different experiences. Time is going too fast. Bring on summer and everything it has to offer.