Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday, September 18th, 2011 - First day at Encounters!

Now the train ride to Ottawa went without a hitch. Although, when I first got on, someone was in my window seat. Apparently, the people who got on in Toronto couldn't read their tickets to see what seats they were assigned and plunked their butts down wherever they felt like it. O_O

Upon arriving I was happily created by a driver who took two other girls (whom I later learned were Emily and Hannah) and I to the Center. Turns out we were the only three from Ontario!

The first thing we see, The Terry Fox Youth Center - home away from home for teens experiencing Encounters!

THE NAME BADGE! Walking into the doors you are immediately handed a tag with your name, the Encounters emergency phone number and Group number on a BRIGHT ORANGE lanyard. Your group meets every morning to discuss the days events. Your number is also vital on field trips - you must yell your number so your teacher-monitor knows you are on the bus. Notice how I was #1 in Group#1 :)

The Encounters logo greets you above the main cafeteria stage where most announcements are made and all the skits and speakers are showcased.

The cafeteria, where you get FOOD! Notice the beginning of the line near the kitchen door......

... and the end of the line, by the entrance of the cafe in the foyer.

Since the center is named after Terry Fox, it's only fitting that the foyer have his portrait. Notice beside him the Canada posters covering all the provinces and territories. There are two because they are in both French and English. This is a bilingual experience therefore, everything was in both languages.

The lovely multicultural carving opposite Terry Fox in the foyer! So inspiring!

BOB'S CANTEEN! If you want junk food, pop, laundry detergent or anything you may have forgotten, visit Bob - loyal employee for Encounters for years! He also sells Encounters clothing (which I of course bought and you will see later on :)

Across from Bob's is the main bulletin board (where the days activities and travel information are posted), and the doors leading to the basement and the stairs to the dorms. Notice the 6 clocks which were set to each of Canada's time zones from west to east! That way you can phone your family at the most decent hour!

I forgot to take pictures of the basement because it became so commonplace I forgot it would be something to cherish later. So onto the dorms!

So the dorms held approximately 40 people. There were 20 guys so they all fit in one dorm with room to spare. There were over 100 girls divided into three dorms. That meant, sharing 2 toliets, 3 sinks, 7 showers and a very large mirror with 40 other girls. And be assured, there was always that one chick needing to get ready at 4:30 in the morning, with the loudest alarm on the face of this planet.

Anyway, the above picture was my bunk #201 which was all the way at the far end of the dorms. That ladder was my enemy at 6:30 am, while trying to crawl down and get to the bathroom before all the good showers were taken (there was one shower in the corner WITHOUT A DOOR O_O If you did not want that one, ya best be getting yourself to the showers!)

This was the view from my top bunk. As you can see, privacy was not an issue as the front most bunks were the ones on the opposite side of my wall!

Next post - Monday, tour of Parliament!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Encounters with Canada

Last March my school Virtual Learning Center was picked along with hundreds of other highschool's nation wide to send students for a week to Encounters with Canada, Canada's largest youth forum!

Youth are given the opportunity to "discover their country through each other, learn about Canadian institutions, meet famous and accomplished Canadians, explore exciting career options, develop their civic leadership skills and live an extraordinary bilingual experience. Over 87,000 youth have lived the EWC experience, so far!"

I was chosen to represent both ONLINE SCHOOLS (YAH!) and my riding. Meeting 127 other teens from across Canada (ages 14-17) in Ottawa was an amazing experience, and I have been encouraged to blog about it! Stay Tuned!