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ADSB and Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre Form Educational Partnership

Anthony Bumbaco for local2 sault ste. marie
November 14th, 2012 at 4:27pm | Last Updated at 5:57pm


White Pines Life Skills Program head Scott MacDonald and his students pose for a photo following the announce of the partnership between the CBHC and the Algoma District School Board.

In an exciting announcement on Wednesday afternoon the Algoma District School Board and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre have formed a partnership to provide a Field School Program within the museum. The CBHC becomes the third such school, joining the Davey Home and the Station Mall, to participate in the program.

The press conference welcome some members of the public but also included a number of bushplanesigningindividuals from the Algoma District Schoolboard and the CBHC Board of Directors to announce the program and to sign the Memorandum of Understanding to officially launch the field school within the centre.

“This a very exciting time and a major step forward for the museum as a community resource and education centre in our city, said CBHC Executive Director Mike Delfre. “The field school is a chance to show the students and other students, and young people in the community that a museum is a cool place, there are lots of ways to have fun and to learn at the same time.”

The field school program, that originated at the Alexander Henry, involves students participating in the Life Skills program offered through White Pines and offers students the chance to gain education without the confines of the traditional classroom. One of the main contributors to the program, is Scott MacDonald, who serves as the head of the program at White Pines and speaks very highly of the program.

“I feel this is the best program that is out there,” said MacDonald. “These students are amazing and have so much to offer and sometimes the classroom within those four walls is not the right setting.”

The purpose of the program is to allow students a very hands-on experience and give them education through the world of work that can be applied to the workforce when they have completed school.

“Many of the students in the program have struggled academically and we wanted to create a program that would cater to their needs; One that teaches them social skills and life skills and how to function within society,” said MacDonald. “When the students leave the they are ready to enter the work force and most of the students are able to get a full-time job once they leave the program.”

One of the students currently involved in the program enjoys what it has to offer and admits it has already helped her moving forward. “We learn experience, I used to be really shy, now I have learned to be more open talking to people, said Nicole a student in the Life Skills program. “I am looking forward to the Bushplane Museum because I enjoy talking to people and interacting with the public.”

Through this program, the students have been able to participate in a number of different ways through the relationship with the Davey home working with seniors in the community as well as at the Station Mall, whether in the food court or some of the different stores. But as Mike Delfre points out, the Bushplane Museum offers these students a much different opportunity.

“The students will be involved in creating exhibits which is photography and graphic arts, research, design, construction and electrical and so fourth, said Delfre. “Think of it as a lab but in a variety of subjects, not just history. There is such a big variety of things to learn here that are all transferable when they are out looking for jobs in the community.

bushplanepressMacDonald, who has the opportunity to work with each of the students on a regular basis also recognized just how significant this partnership with the CBHC is for the program. “Not only are they able to acquire new skills, whether doing general maintenance, with the planes, and the different artifacts but they are also able to learn about history,” said MacDonald with excitement. “We hope to create a real mentorship with many of the volunteers here and they will feel a sense of pride working with a non-profit organization.”

The program with the CBHC will include approximately 10 students and allow them to contribute in a number of different ways based upon their interest but also upon the needs of the site.

But as MacDonald agreed, this is just the start of things to come for the program.
“The opportunites are endless and I think with this partnership with the Bushplane this is just the cusp of things and I definitely see it growing in the future and into other programs as well.”

Similarly, Mike Delfre believes that there is a lot for the community and the CHBC to be excited about and looks forward to reaching out even further into the community moving forward.

“When we look at our calendar for 2013 and 2014, we are pretty excited about what is coming up in the future now that we have secured some extra hands and we are able to do more than we were able to do this year,” said Delfre. “Now that we have a relationship with the school board, we would be open to one with the separate school board, the college and university. We would certainly be interested in building on our partnership the with Algoma District School Board as well.”

But ultimately programs such as this come down to the kids and thus far, MacDonald believes it has been a great success.

“The most rewarding part for me is when they are finished the four years of the program, they are able to go off to college through a program that we use to up with the Sault College and them coming back and giving feedback that they are still successful.”

Overall, the program should be a great success and both parties are looking forward to getting things underway for the excited and highly motivated students.


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