Program Components

What makes up a Discover Year?

There are five primary components that all Discover Year students participate in: Discovery Days, Mentorship, Work Terms, Travel, and Community Service.

Scroll to learn more about each component.

Discovery Days

Discovery Days are experiential learning days that occur every Wednesday throughout the year (except during the month of February when students are travelling). They are filled with skills workshops, career panels, self-reflection exercises, group coaching, field trips, team-building activities, and more.

Discovery Days are delivered both in-person and remotely. During the morning sessions, all students come together online via Zoom for engaging and interactive skills workshops (see below for a list of sample workshops). They also meet and network with successful professionals from diverse backgrounds who share their knowledge and advice with students. 

The afternoon sessions are delivered in person both in Ottawa and in Toronto. During these sessions, students in both cities meet up with Discover Year staff for group coaching and adventures in the community. These could include university and college campus tours, tours of businesses and office spaces, museum visits, cultural and community activities, team building exercises, and more.

Here are just some of the workshops we deliver during Discovery Days:

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Resume and Cover Letter Writing

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Success in the Workplace

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Setting and Achieving Goals

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Personal Financial Planning

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Stress and the Teenage Brain

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Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication

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Project Planning and Design Thinking

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Critical Thinking

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Resilience

Mentorship

Mentorship is a pivotal component of Discover Year to help students discover their true interests and learn more about themselves in a meaningful and ongoing way.

At the beginning of their Discover Year, students complete a questionnaire so our staff can get a better sense of their personality, interests, goals, and challenges. Students are then matched with a personal life-path coach* and receive bi-weekly, one-on-one mentorship throughout the year.

Mentors often support students to set and achieve goals for the year, explore different career paths, work through personal challenges, identify students’ next steps after Discover Year, explore and apply for post-secondary studies, and much more.

*It is important to note the difference between a coach and a counsellor or therapist. While our coaches are committed to helping students better understand themselves and achieve their goals (which may, at times, require difficult or sensitive conversations), they do not deliver therapeutic care.

Work Terms

Throughout Discover Year, our students participate in two work terms, one from September to January and one from March to June. These work terms help students gain hands-on work experience, develop critical professional skills, and save money for their travel period and/or their post-secondary studies.

Whether students have previous work experience or they’re looking for their very first job, our staff help them craft a professional résumé and cover letter and coach them on effective communication strategies to connect with employers. Students will also participate in skills workshops throughout their Discover Year that will help them succeed in their jobs, such as Success in the Workplace, Time Management, Interpersonal Communication, Resilience, Stress Management, and more.

Students can choose to work full-time hours (30-40 hours per week) or part-time hours, depending on their financial and professional goals. The only requirement is that they have every Wednesday off so they can participate in weekly Discovery Days.

Travel Period

February is devoted to travel and exploration! This one-month independent travel period helps to expand students’ worldview and build confidence by stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Throughout their work terms, students have the chance to save for their travel period so they can self-fund their trip. They can choose to travel domestically or internationally, for the entire month or for a shorter period of time, depending on their travel goals, personal budget, and comfort level.

Leading up to the travel period, students complete several travel planning workshops and receive ongoing support from our Discover Year staff, who help them navigate the essential elements of planning for their trip. 

Watch our video to see the highlights of our students’ exciting travels and explorations.

Community Service

Working in groups, students complete two community service projects during their Discover Year. The first project is planned and executed during the Fall Session (September to January) and the second in the Spring Session (March to June).

Through their community service projects, students explore social issues that are important to them while building crucial teamwork skills and giving back to their community in a meaningful way. Discover Year staff support the development of the project, but ultimately it is up to each group to decide which issue they want to tackle, what impact they want to create, and how to implement their project.

Want to learn more? Join our next Info Session!

We would love to meet you at one of our upcoming virtual information sessions! Join us to learn more about Discover Year and meet some of our students, parents and staff members.