Impact Experience

Impact Experience offers all students at Western and affiliated colleges access to unique co-curricular opportunities to support community projects during Western's Reading Weeks. Impact Experience is more than just a one-week experience--it is a program with leadership elements and workshops, combined with service and reflection.

May 2-6, 2023

Partner: Stem2Stern

About the Experience

This hands-on experiential learning program will connect you with Stem2Stern, a community woodworking organization that focuses on team building and leadership skills. Each team member will build a Muskoka chair to be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area while learning the importance of leadership, teamwork, and communication. On May 6, Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentors and Mentees will help finish the chairs and test them around a campfire before we donate all chairs to the organization.  

David Vine, founder and principal boat builder of Stem2Stern, will join us from May 2-6 to lead you through the design and construction of the chairs while explaining how he has used woodworking to educate, connect, and celebrate youth and newcomers to our community.

Day one will be spent getting to know your fellow Western team and learning about each person’s strengths. The afternoon will be spent with David from Stem2Stern, learning about the design and building process that will span the next 5 days.

We will conclude the week with a visit from Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentors and Mentees for an outdoor campfire, testing out all our Muskoka chairs while reflecting and discussing how hands-on experiences like this can bring our community together.

About the Organization

Stem2Stern was founded in the summer of 2018 based on the founder David Vine’s passion for educating young people in woodworking. Stem2Stern sees the value of exposure to the trades in rounding out the life experiences of today’s young people. David trains participants to build a boat and launches them with the group.

Stem2Stern works on a variety of programs. These include March Break programs, working with groups of students in grades 5 to 10, mentoring them in boat building, helping them build hands-on skills, as well as helping them develop academically, socially, and emotionally. They offer workshops on boat building in high schools, community boat building, and woodworking projects for families and individuals interested in working together and learning new skills.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area is a non-profit organization that aims to match young people who are facing adversity with trained adult mentors in either one-on-one or group mentoring programs. By providing mentoring opportunities, the organization helps young people build important relationships that can help them develop into healthy individuals who are better equipped to navigate life's challenges. Ultimately, the goal is to help these young people overcome adversity and lead fulfilling lives.

Program Dates

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - Saturday, May 6, 2023

Participant Numbers

  • Up to 15 students
  • 1 student team leader
  • 1 staff leader

Learning Outcomes

At the end of your Impact Experience you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to explore ideas, issues and viewpoints other than your own through reflective practice, group discussions, and program activities
  • Work under conditions of ambiguity or uncertainty by engaging with community partners and community members working as a team
  • Build a Muskoka Chair and understand basic woodworking techniques

Ideal Participant

If you are looking for team building and hands-on service experience – this is for you. This experience would be ideal for participants excited about learning new technical skills, working with a team towards a common goal, and using teamwork for social impact. You will be challenged to step outside your academic comfort zone and learn more about the trades. If you are hands-on, like building, and want to learn more about how these skills can be used for empowerment, this is an excellent opportunity for you.


Impact Experience is a cost recovery program, we strive to ensure student fee transparency.

The cost of the program is $140 and will include the following:

  • Daily team lunch
  • CliftonStrengths Workshop
Additional program costs are gratiously covered by funding from the Parr Family.  

Preliminary Itinerary

Tuesday, May 2 – 9:30 AM  – 4:30 PM
  • Welcome and team introductions
  • Team building and CliftonStrnghts Workshop
  • Stem2Stern Introductions
  • Let’s build
Wednesday, May 3- 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM - Friday, May 5 - 9:30 AM - 4:30 AM 
  • Workday - Let's Build
Friday, February 24 – 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Complete Chairs with Big Brothers Big Sisters 
  • Product testing around an outdoor campfire as we reflect on our accomplishments

Your team is encouraged to organize social evenings throughout the week such as evening events and/or dinners.


Please contact us if you have any accessibility considerations we can address that would support your learning.

How to Apply

  1. Log in to
  2. Select the Impact Experience tab in the left menu
  3. Select 'Apply for Impact Experience'

Applications will open on March 9 and be approved on a first-come, first-served basis.


Other opportunities to get involved with the local community

Orientation Serves
Opportunity for first year students to contribute to the London community during their first week at Western.

Community Engaged Learning Courses
4- or 8-month courses with a project for a community partner.

Western Serves Network
One-day group volunteer experiences from September to April.