At Venture Academy, youth have the opportunity to explore an extremely wide range of monthly, seasonal, and yearly recreational activities from water skiing, sailing and white-water rafting, to alpine skiing, snowboarding and dog sledding. While the following describes activities pursued in BC’s Kelowna and Okanagan area, similar activities are offered in Ontario and our other locations.
The sunny Okanagan Valley is a recreational paradise offering breathtaking scenery, warm lakes, sandy beaches and a pristine mountain setting – all of which combine to make it truly Mother Nature’s playground.
Accepted participants will make full use of the area’s natural resources as well as integrate into numerous community facilities and programs. This offers them opportunities to discover and pursue new interests and create lifelong memories of exciting experiences. Venture Academy’s Therapeutic Support Homes Program offers youth beneficial and healthy alternatives to existing behavioural patterns.
The sunny Okanagan summers combined with the sandy beaches and warm waters of Lake Okanagan make Kelowna a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Participants will enjoy many beach and water activities while learning new skills that will inspire a lifetime of activity.
Frequent trips to the lake for a quick dip or a leisurely swim are par for the course to offset the often sunny, hot conditions.
Extremely popular in the Okanagan, these exciting water sports provide a chance for students to experience the unique thrill of skimming over the wide open lake surface. Professional instruction is available.
As a passenger, cruising in a power boat, or relaxing on a pontoon or houseboat, students will learn safety awareness, marine rules and general boating etiquette during dry dock training sessions as well as practical on the water applications.
Setting sail on the glistening, blue waters of Okanagan Lake and hearing, the snap of the sails in a sharp breeze is an exhilarating adventure that should not be overlooked. The art and skill of sailing on two person sailboats will be just part of the memorable Venture Academy experience.
White Water Rafting
For those who heed the call of the wilderness, our whitewater rafting excursions hearkens back to the pioneer adventures of old and offers a ride not soon to be forgotten. Participants will be taken through safety guidelines and instructed on whitewater etiquette. In addition to storming through a frenzied maelstrom of river canyon, individuals will have the opportunity enjoy the breathtaking scenery unique to this corner of the world.
Participants will taste the freedom of packing a lunch and setting offshore in a canoe for a daytrip along the scenic shoreline of Lakes Okanagan, Kallamalka, Mabel or any of the many other mountain lakes within the vicinity. Orientation and safety instruction will take place before and during the outings.
Often interpreted as appearing much easier than it is, rowing is a challenging skill that requires precision and endurance and provides a healthy upper body workout. Newly acquired skills will be put to the test in rowing excursions or timed obstacle course races with fellow Venture Academy youth.
The Inuit who used this extremely lightweight and maneuverable craft to gain the advantage of speed when hunting prey first invented kayaks. This native innovation has lasted the test of time and today is used for sport and recreation. On the lake or upstream on one of the many creeks and rivers in the area, youth will learn the fine art and coordination of kayaking.
Channel floating is a leisurely pastime undertaken to let the stress and strain of everyday life fade while drifting down a slow moving channel on the flotation device of your choice. The channel float comprises a relaxing half-day float and runs between Okanagan and Skaha lakes.
Kelowna and area boasts some of the best water slide parks in British Columbia and Venture Academy students will experience the thrill first hand: Water + Speed + Gravity = Fun.
Parasailing is yet another popular tourist attraction in Kelowna. Sail high above the lake and enjoy the breathtaking views of the floating bridge, Kelowna’s beaches, and surrounding mountains… an experience you’ll remember
The local mountain fishing lakes are home to Lake Trout, Kokanee and Dolly Varden and offer a peaceful and tranquil setting in which to harvest or catch and release natures abundance. There’s nothing like the calm silence of early morning, the sound of a large trout breaking the surface and the sound of line peeling of your reel. Fish average between 2 lb.- 5 lb. and fishing adventures will include fly-fishing, casting and trolling methods to offer a well-rounded fishing experience.
Back Country Adventures
Outdoor mountain adventures are a specialty for our experienced wilderness guides and Youth Counsellors. Venture Academy accesses local, regional and national parks and protected areas that offer visitors some of the most spectacular trail systems and mind absorbing scenery anywhere. Participants will enjoy environmental education as well as frequent and entertaining exercises in team building and initiative tasks.
A pinnacle of outdoor fitness, hiking presents one of the most physically demanding pastimes going. Endurance, agility and perseverance are tested through forests, across streams or across trail blazed mountain peaks. Our guides and support staff, provide direction, skill development and encouragement to students to make this adventure a success. Some preparation and conditioning is required in the days and weeks prior to embarking. But the effort is worth it.
The Okanagan and the province of British Columbia boast thousands of campsites in National and Provincial Parks, publicly accessed forestry sites as well as more allusive hideaways that only an experienced outdoorsman can find. At Venture Academy, we access them all.
From the Kettle Valley Railway to single track canyon ridges our staff and trail systems ensure many memorable rides. Lightweight bikes and gear provide full maneuverability for traversing rugged trail-ways or gliding down well-worn access trails. A thrill for beginner or seasoned riders.
Venture Academy provides dynamic outdoor skills experience using both low rope events and exhilarating high rope challenges. Bonding, team building, camaraderie, trust and communication, self concept, teamwork and reliance are all skills learned best by doing rather than by talking. We provide situations that demand effective planning, clear communication, and commitment in a supportive but challenging environment. As part of a group effort, youth may discover untapped personal abilities leading to future success in career, relationship or other life challenges. Trained guides support students through the experience in an atmosphere of trust and confidence, and encourage clear focus on improving both methods and results.
Based on SAS survival and Canadian Search and Rescue techniques, map reading, compass skills, environmental impact, and learning to build emergency shelters are incorporated into this outing. The Mountaineering course is one of the most anticipated events of the program.
Venture Academy provides an introductory session including instruction on belaying; anchoring and basic climbing techniques before venturing forth to try newly acquired skills in the Canadian outback.
Other Summer Activities
Sunset Ranch, Gallagher’s Canyon, The Bear (designed by Jack Nicklaus’ Golden Bear Designs), Quail Ridge, Ponderosa, and world class gold resort – Predator Ridge, are just a handful of the many courses located throughout the Okanagan Valley. They provide regulation tees and greens, full practice facilities and wide, perfectly manicured fairways winding through majestic hillside orchards. Abundant water hazards and bunkers also contribute to the rich character of the many courses challenging the potential of every golfer.
Horse Back Riding
Guided Trail Rides on well-trained horses through open scrub, rolling valleys, and canyon trails. A relaxed pace allows students to take in picturesque scenery and wildlife and apply skills acquired in the various other outdoor adventures.
Our main athletic outlet in the winter is the ski hill. Big White Ski Resort is the largest ski and snowboarding resort between Whistler, B.C. and Banff, Alberta. With an annual snowfall of over 24 feet, and runs for Novice, Intermediate and Advanced skiers, Big White is the perfect place to cruise through acres of glades or challenge the bowls filled with the resort’s famous champagne powder. With four high-speed quad chairs, a gondola and over 100 runs, skiers and boarders alike will be whisked to the top of the mountain to enjoy seemingly endless excitement in an Okanagan winter wonderland. Each Venture Academy youth is provided with a season’s pass as well as return transportation to Big White.
Skiing & Snow Boarding
Groomed runs, moguls, glades, fresh powder or easy cuts; take your pick. Venture Academy staff will guide you to the runs best suited to your level of ability. Snowboarders make up approximately 50 % of season pass holders at Big White. Terrain parks, half pipes or waist deep champagne powder proves a fantastic setting to learn the sport or perform to your best ability. Professional ski and snowboard lessons are available.
Cross Country Skiing
Hot chocolate and a warm fire is a priority after this rigorous leg and upper body workout. No lift lines here – only miles of wilderness trail networks to offer students the opportunity to experience guided expeditions through Scrub Pine plateaus, across open snow-covered plain, and into secluded lakes and ponds.
Participants will experience this traditional method of winter travel using modern day equipment on groomed trail systems. Trekkers can explore at their own pace, trails that wind through forested hillsides and across open meadows, and through pine and aspen forests which are home to deer, coyote, fox, and elk. These trail networks are perfect for beginners with their gentle slopes and easy access and provide more challenging routes for the more experienced. An anticipated activity during a winter campout.
There’s nothing like staring up into a crystal-clear, star filled night while gliding across the ice and snow behind a team of well-trained Huskies. Discover first-hand how the pioneers roughed it in the North American wilderness through the winters. Learn to run and care for your own team of friendly, well-trained huskies.
Cruise through snow laden trees and over frozen lakes, experience riding in 20+ feet of snow per year and see miles of winter mountain terrain. Guides provide safe, fun tours on well-maintained equipment. Journey for hours without seeing anybody but those in your own group. There’s nothing but rolling snow covered hills and the green tree tops barely visible sticking out of the deep layer of white.