With her luggage in hand, Dani Hurtado, 17, waited along with 11 other young recent immigrants living in Canada to board their transportation in Calgary yesterday for a week-long retreat in Jasper National Park.

The youth are participating in a pilot project with Parks Canada and Outward Bound Canada for immigrants aged 15 to 17 that helps connect them to the outdoors.

“I think it will be interesting to go and see Parks Canada, go camping and meet new people,” said Hurtado, who came with her family from Ecuador last year.

The teenagers will participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, canoeing and kayaking.

James Bartram of Parks Canada said they hope to expand the program across the country to connect new immigrants in other cities to the great outdoors through trips to national parks.

“This is the first in the country, so that’s pretty exciting,” said Bartram.

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