Yukon elementary school students learn about teamwork through helping others

Golden Horn Elementary School students came to the rescue for seniors overwhelmed by heavy snowfall in the Whitehorse area.

Golden Horn students came to the rescue for seniors overwhelmed by heavy snowfall in Whitehorse area

Grade 7 students of Golden Horn Elementary School take a group picture with Murray Lundberg, far right. The students shoveled snow and refilled a wood room at his Whitehorse home. (Michelle Beaulieu)

Elementary school teacher Michelle Beaulieu has routinely used the outdoors as place for learning during her 21 years teaching in Yukon.

But the pandemic put an end to some of the traditional activities like river trips and hiking.

So Beaulieu said she's been looking for alternatives to help her grade 7 students at Golden Horn Elementary School learn about things like leadership skills, team building and work ethic.

The plentiful snow in the Whitehorse area this fall provided that opportunity.

"All of that kid energy could be really useful and it was really useful, so because I mean, these kids have bounds of energy and they want to jump and run and dig all the time," she said.

She also wanted to give the kids something positive to focus on heading into the Christmas holiday instead of negative thoughts about how the pandemic has been affecting their lives.

So Beaulieu put out an offer online to do some snow shovelling.

The students also helped out by stocking up a firewood room. (Michelle Beaulieu)

"We were looking specifically for seniors or veterans or elders in our community that, you know, haven't been able to cope. And I think it's just with COVID[-19], everyone is so maxed out right now," she said.

More than 20 kids went to four homes on Wednesday, Beaulieu.

"They shoveled a whole pile of snow and refilled my wood room," said Whitehorse resident Murray Lundberg.

"I have enough firewood in my basement to last for a couple of months," he said.

He said it's significant that the students are learning about volunteerism and empathy, he said.

"What Michelle is doing is really, really important."

On Thursday, the Golden Horn students did a neighbourhood food drive and took their haul to the food bank to stock the shelves. (Michelle Beaulieu)

Brooklynne Beecher, one of the students, said it was a good feeling to make a difference.

"Well, I saw one of the people was actually very thankful and crying because their driveway was really full and they couldn't get out," said Beecher.

On Thursday the students did a food drive and then took their haul to the food bank and stocked it on the shelves.

One of Beecher's classmates, Ava Shewen, learned how much a group of people working together can do.

"We worked together as a class, so when you have, like all the extra support, then it makes it feel like it's less of a job, and it wants you to keep you going," said Shewen.

Beaulieu said the class wasn't able to fill all of the requests they received.

She's hoping to squeeze in another day before the Christmas holiday.