Themes & Values

Our values guide everything we do

Every decision we make is born out of one of our three themes: to connect our students and guests with each other and the natural world, to build respect for each others’ differences and the natural environment, and to carry what we learn here out into the world to create a positive ripple effect in our communities.

These themes and values stem from our mission, “to teach the wonder, spirit and worth of people and the natural world through outdoor pursuits.”

Connect. Respect. Ripple Effect.

Over 60 years ago, our founder, Jim Boulding, developed six core values known as the Strathcona Circle. These Core Values are taught in our programs and lived every day by those within our community. From the Core Values, Jim’s son Jamie and daughter-in-law Christine set our mission: to teach the wonder, spirit and worth of people and the natural world through outdoor pursuits.

More with Less

Minimizing one’s impact on the planet through one’s choices. Strathcona is a self-contained off-the-grid community. Our 70 resident staff live very simply while they stay with us for the season, and model this in our education programs. Our guests experience the many benefits of this simple way of life as part of their stay, too.


Caring for one’s local environment and inspiring others to care too. Each year, we introduce approximately 3000 youth to the natural world through our outdoor education programs. Fostering these connections teaches respect for wild spaces, and students leave the Lodge inspired to share what they’ve learned when they return home. It’s the most important thing we do.

Challenge by Choice

Providing the opportunity for individuals to choose to take appropriate risks in a safe environment where success is guaranteed. The zip lines at Strathcona appear dangerous, but the cables, pulleys and carabiners are strong enough to hold a car. That doesn’t make that first step off the platform any easier for a lot of people. Whether someone leaps, balks or just puts on a harness, we consider trying a success. After all, the best angle is the try-angle.

Living on the Edge

Being open to new experiences, new ideas, and people’s differences. Hand in hand with Challenge by Choice, Living on the Edge refers to living outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. It’s being brave and climbing into a kayak for the first time. It’s doing your best on the high ropes course. And most importantly it’s leaving stereotypes and preconceptions behind.

Generosity of Spirit

Thinking of others with kindness and compassion; giving others the benefit of the doubt; treating people with respect. No matter the task, you’ll see people chipping in at the Lodge. Whether it’s stoking the sauna so others can use it, picking up that piece of litter, or paying forward a chance for a school kid to come to Strathcona, it’s all about thinking of others as much as oneself.

Happy Warrior

Going at tasks (including the mundane or daunting) with gusto; being a positive contributor to a team and always pitching in. The rain is pouring down and camp is still a long way off, yet the entire group is singing at the top of their lungs. These are happy warriors. We love to see groups of all ages and backgrounds overcoming obstacles with a smile, a laugh and a song.