Teachers and parents need all the support they can get to build and nurture essential life skills in children. Programmes like the International Award for Young People (IAYP) are game-changers in this regard.
The IAYP empowers young people aged 14 to 24 to explore their potential and make a positive impact on the world. The programme’s impactful learning framework goes beyond traditional academics to encourage: Community Service, Skill Development, Physical Activity, and Adventure.
Our focus for this article will be the Adventurous Journey – an IAYP component that ignites a sense of adventure and encourages students to step outdoors and outside their comfort zones.
It’s a well-established fact that away from familiar environments, children rapidly build life skills and imbibe values that typically take time to emerge in classrooms.
While this sounds incredible, how do schools and parents find an outdoor learning programme that fulfils every IAYP requirement to the letter?
Here’s where Indiahikes can help.
Indiahikes is a Trained Activity Provider for IAYP
We offer Experiential Learning Programmes that perfectly align with IAYP’s Adventurous Journey and its objectives.
Ours is a world of increasing screen time and diminishing outdoor experiences. Children and young adults are often confined to indoor spaces, missing out on vital real-world experiences.
Indiahikes feels a strong need for children to learn and develop skills, attitudes, and qualities to contribute proactively and meaningfully to the world they live in.
Our solution to this is immersive Outdoor Experiential Learning.
Students from La Martiniere Girls' College, Lucknow in the middle of a purposeful activity - one of the requirements of the IAYP Adventurous Journey | Photo credits: Shwetha Krish
Our Program Design
Our programs aim to build a strong sense of leadership where the greater good supersedes individual goals and ambitions.
All our programmes take place on thrilling wilderness treks, from short-day treks to multi-day treks. The program duration directs how immersive the experience and its impact will be.
All journeys are supervised and assessed by experienced facilitators who are well-versed in outdoor learning journeys for children and adults
The key elements
Outdoor Experiential Learning at Indiahikes comprises three key elements that enhance participants' learning experience:
- Adventure and challenges that emerge on the trek naturally
- Specially designed learning activities that inspire new thoughts, actions, and behaviour
- The presence and input of trained facilitators to nudge learning in the desired direction
How Indiahikes programs align with the IAYP
Here’s a list of objectives as defined by the IAYP and how our programs meet each of them.
1. All journeys have a clearly defined purpose.
Our programs aim to help young people develop the capacity to demonstrate collaborative leadership. This involves working closely in teams in planning and executing different aspects of the trek.
2. All participants undergo suitable training to have the appropriate skills to undertake their journeys.
Approximately a month before the trek, we start preparing students through sessions on fitness, camping equipment, gear, expectations and sustainability. We plan every session in collaboration with the school.
3. All participants undertake a minimum of one Practice Journey per level.
The participants go on shorter treks and hikes as a practice journey before their Adventurous Journey. Sometimes this happens on the initial part of their Adventurous Journey if it’s not possible to do it in advance.
4. The group, for all journeys, is between 5-8 members.
As an integral part of our program design, all participants work in teams of 5-8. Depending on the number of young people, we have 2 to several teams who trek together.
5. All members of the group are involved with the planning and preparation of their practice and qualifying journeys.
We work closely with the school on all aspects of program planning. It is an indispensable part of how we design our Experiential Learning programs. We also have a wealth of resources online that detail what students can expect on the trek and guide them during the planning and preparation phase.
6. All journeys are supervised and assessed by suitable and experienced adults.
We work closely with schools to ensure this. Our trek leaders have led numerous groups ranging from Experiential Learning groups to Himalayan treks. They have undergone extensive training in engaging students on the learning objectives of the Adventurous Journey.
We are India’s safest trekking organisation. The trek leaders/program facilitators who accompany students are trained and certified in wilderness survival skills. Our facilitators ensure children’s physical, mental, and emotional safety at all times.
7. All team members use a mode of travel that requires their own effort.
The journey is on foot. The treks we take them on have no transport facility or the possibility of it. Participants must go on foot - carrying their own backpacks.
8. Accommodation is in portable tents or simple dorm tents.
The accommodation at our base camps is in dorm-style tents or village homestays. While on the trek, the participants stay in tents that they pitch and unwind themselves.
School students on their IAYP Adventurous Journey in the Uttarakhand mountains | Photo credits: Shwetha Krish
9. The environment chosen is unfamiliar to all participants.
The learning environment in our program is either the wilderness of the Himalayas or remote hills close to the city. Even a small percentage of those who have trekked before usually find the environment challenging and unfamiliar.
10. The distance covered on all journeys will depend on the terrain, weather conditions and ability of the group members. All group members undertake a minimum of 6 hours (for Bronze), 7 hours (for Silver) and 8 hours (for Gold) per day of purposeful effort.
Our treks are designed in a way where the first half of the day involves trekking and the second half involves camping-related activities: setting up the campsite, cooking, engagement in learning, environment-related activities, and art-based activities.
11. All members of the group prepare and consume a full meal each day.
All meals are prepared on the trek. The participants plan and make at least one full nutritious meal a day on their own.
12. On completion of the Qualifying Journey, the team is required to deliver a report to their Assessor.
Journaling is an inbuilt element of the trek. We have designated time for self and group reflections to bring out the observations and learnings of the day. This process greatly helps them in putting down and delivering their report to the Assessor on completion of the Qualifying Journey.
Not just ordinary treks, our programs for children are platforms for personal growth, leadership, and collaboration. Indiahikes is dedicated to offering a safe and engaging learning environment.
Much like the IAYP, Indiahikes believes in the power of the outdoors to challenge young people, build their leadership skills, and leave them with learnings they will carry forward into adulthood.
Are you a school or parent interested in the IAYP Adventurous Journey for your children?
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Learn more about the IAYP here.