Elgin grads returned to this recreation site west of Harrison Lake last Saturday to help remove debris from a year-end campout.

South Surrey grads return to scene after camp fallout

Public shaming not way to go, says association president

South Surrey grads who left a mess at a campsite west of Harrison Lake last month took steps to make amends last weekend.

Elgin Park Secondary principal Bruce Filsinger said Wednesday that students and parents travelled to the Skwellepil site last weekend to work with members of the Four Wheel Drive Association of B.C. to remove litter and camping items that had been left strewn following a year-end campout.

News of the mess – the second in as many years attributed to Peninsula grads – discovered on May 20, had prompted an outcry in online commenting and on social media.

However, FWDA president Kim Reeves said the issue was “blown out of proportion.”

“It’s upsetting when you see garbage in the bush, and sometimes you react a bit stronger than you should have,” Reeves said Thursday. “We feel that public shaming is not really the way to go.”

Reeves said about two dozen students and one parent participated in Saturday’s cleanup.

Association members had contacted the district after finding the mess; they then reached out to ask if anyone was willing to help remove the detritus. Filsinger said grads who came to him in the aftermath decided on their own to participate in the cleanup.

“I gave them the information and they did it themselves,” Filsinger said. “I think that’s important, that the students took responsibility for their actions.

“It’s kind of like a team – you win or you lose together.”

The principal confirmed that the campout was attended by an estimated 60-70 students from Elgin’s 297-member Class of 2016.

Reeves said the team “worked really hard, did a fantastic job cleaning up, so kudos to the graduating class,” noting the mess that sparked it all is at the bottom of five problem-garbage issues that association members deal with on a regular basis.

“Our view is most kids are really good kids.”

Filsinger – who wrote to parents of Grade 11 and 12 students following the incident, calling it said “entitled and asocial behaviour” – said the grad class will not be penalized.

“In fairness, there were 240 students that weren’t involved,” Filsinger said. “Do you punish everybody or do you try to do the best to instill some values and the get the students to make the best decisions?”


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