Simone Robinson likes to get outside. As a University of Toronto Scarborough student, Simone took great delight in the beautiful campus setting and seeing community members and students alike benefit from outdoor activity and the positive mental influence that time in nature can bring. Inspired by her studies as a mental health specialist and her participation with the Department of Athletics & Recreation, she co-founded the Outdoor Recreation program, introducing students to everything from treetop trekking (a series of challenges culminating in zip lining through the forest) to white-water rafting.
Getting people outside of their comfort zone to try something new is rewarding, she says. One particularly worthwhile aspect of the program is introducing international students to winter sports.
“It brings people of all abilities together in a welcoming environment and shows them that there are no barriers to achieving their goals. They can carry this sense over to their studies and other aspects of life.”
While still in high school, Robinson volunteered with Ontario Shores, a mental health facility, and she credits that co-op placement as setting the foundation for her interests. Whether organizing movie nights for geriatric patients or drop-in sports for athletics, she enjoyed interacting with the patients. Realizing that many of them had interruptions in their education, she tutored students to help them earn their high school diplomas.
“I enjoyed engaging with people and helping them toward their goals.”
Graduating in 2017 with her honours Bachelor of Science, Simone is now enrolled at George Brown College studying event planning.
“Outdoor recreation inspired me. I want to use my planning and creativity to co-ordinate events around mental health, and advance that connection between physical activity and mental wellness, especially getting outside.”