the  pilot

of Canadian Classroom On Rails/Salle de Classe Ferroviaire Canadienne
is an opportunity to introduce the Classroom On Rails concept

*  in a smaller group
*  with a shorter itinerary and
using the momentum generated by the 150th anniversary of Confederation

Although the per-student costs (prorated) are considerably higher than for an eventual larger Classroom group envisaged, there are definite advantages to piloting with a smaller group.

Larger groups can subdivide when challenges arise. With the central importance of building a group spirit, it is essential our first group be compact enough to be able to meet in a corner, and that members not be spread over more than one sleeping car which can makes them difficult to find at a given moment.

A smaller group will simplify the logistics of boarding and dis-embarking at stations. It can be moved on the ground in a large van or minibus rather than a Greyhound.

An itinerary shorter than 2 months limits our time in Acadia, Québec and Labrador. However, it reduces our use of other types of land transport. It may mean members will be less fatigued at the end than they would be if we ran a full 62 days. Better to end earlier wanting more than burned out.

Our goal is to have students end their trip …

*  exhilarated and wanting more
*  comfortable with each other and
thoroughly convinced of Classroom’s viability and able to talk about their country  knowledgeably, authoritatively and non-dogmatically.

That is the best public recommendation we can ask for, and the best return on investment for our sponsors.

There is significance to the number 12 when it comes to groups: disciples, councilors or members of a jury. A dozen is too many to dominate easily yet workable to reach consensus; enough to get things done, not enough for polarized camps.

Our pilot group will include

*  one from the national capital region (Ottawa-Gatineau)

one from each province and territory region (13 in all)

* one recent arrival in Canada

* one Canadian expat

Of the Sixteen…

*  at least five will be francophone or bilingual
*  at least three will be indigenous
*  at least two will have been born outside  Canada

(There may be overlap between these groups)

Other languages will enrich our mix. We’ll translate for each other as needed. Speaking the same language does not mean we’re saying the same thing with the words we use!

Our group will be a microcosm of Canada’s human riches and our individual talents and interests will enrich each other. We will be the pioneers who shape the first Canadian Classroom experience and the pillars of the Classrooms of later years.

In seven weeks we’ll become a compact, closely knit group. We’ll take Canadian Classroom to the country as our travels bring the country to us. We’ll “sail upon the waterways and walk the forests tall” (Lightfoot) and discover what parts of the Classroom itinerary will stand and which ones will change.

In from five to ten years we’ll be a significant force in Canada: not only in strength of numbers but in our network and the strength our connection to each other and to our country bring.