As part of a Mental Health Summit, Valemount Secondary School students had the chance to participate in Equine-Assisted Learning with Cimarron Way, owned and operated by Tamara Cinnamon. High school students were led through activities with the horses at the Valemount Secondary School field. At first the students were split into three groups, each with their own horse. They were asked to pull the horse with a very short lead around a pilon about 50ft in front of them using no words—just pulling them along as fast as they could. They were timed. The second time they were asked to loosen the lead and use words to encourage the horse around the pilon. Surprisingly they were faster with the looser lead and encouraging words. /TRISH DUNN

By Trish Dunn

Valemount Secondary School students celebrated the wrap-up of Mental Health Month with a Balancing our Minds Mental Health Summit sponsored by a grant from the Canucks for Kids Fund and held at the school on Friday, May 28, 2021. Activities included: Equine Assisted Learning with Tamara Cinnamon, tie dying of t-shirts (screen printed by principal Derrick Shaw) with Emily Banks and Laura Smith, baking healthy cookies with Amy Pawliuk and Rebecca Wylie to learn nutrition and mental health, yoga with Donalda Beeson, yoga mat decorating with Dr. Kat Godlewski and Heather Whalen, basketball and volleyball with teacher Nick Hannah, and a starfish room just to chill out with teacher Shauna Whetter. The students also coloured and painted tiles for a mural for the school office designed by student Alex Markham, facilitated by teachers Cam Wallace and Karen Doughty. Students signed up for workshops and all school staff who were present on Friday participated along with them in different capacities, including with pinatas at lunch time and a draw for prizes from the Canucks and mental health awareness charity,

This event has been in the works since last year by Shirley Giroux with the help of Emily Banks and the V-Crew members. Also with the help from the Canadian Junior Rangers, and RVCS.

Tamara Cinnamon (far right) brought horses to the school. Her business specializes in Equine-assisted therapy. /TRISH DUNN
Students were put into groups of three for the horse activities. /TRISH DUNN
ABOVE: the students tie-dyed shirts as part of the day. /TRISH DUNN