On April 2nd, 2023, 86 students and 10 teachers from the Sarla Birla Academy set out on the Dayara Bugyal trek with us. This trek was a part of the Outdoor Leadership Program that we conduct for school students.
During this program, students trek, set up camp, cook, wash, help each other, struggle together, and finally cooperate to achieve their team’s goals. They do things they have never done before.
“The main objective of the program was to make students more confident, resilient in the face of hardship and a better team player. It also aimed at helping them develop a stronger connect with nature, becoming more sustainable in daily lives,” says Trek Leader Diptarka Gupta who was a facilitator at the program.
This program lasted for four days in the Himalayas. It exposed the students to the unique ecosystem of the Himalayas. They learnt about the flora, fauna, geography and culture of some of the remotest areas in the mountains.
Students of Sarla Birla Academy attending the briefing before starting on the trek. Photo by Diptarka Gupta
It also put the students way out of their comfort zones. Staying in the outdoors, doing a high-altitude trek, taking up new responsibilities, and doing it over 4 days challenged them physically and mentally.
But at the end of the program we witnessed deep transformational changes in the students. These changes were not small.
“We observed that students became more resilient, better able to face challenges and more accustomed to hardships. They developed an inner confidence. Even in the face of all the challenges, they became more caring towards each other,” says Diptarka.
Their learning came out clearly at the end of trek when they performed a skit on the Joy of Trekking. In this skit, they reflected upon the entire trek, recreating some of the most impactful moments from the experience, like the challenging ascends and how the team got through it together, the disappointment of seeing lots of litter from Gui to Chilapada but the joy of clearing it up as a part of Green Trails.
Students successfully complete the Dayara Bugyal trek. Photo by Diptarka Gupta
View details of Outdoor Leadership Program
“We observed a lot of behavioural changes in the children. They had become more sensitive to each others, and towards nature,” adds Diptarka.
On the other hand, the program was an impactful experience even for the team who conducted it.
“It was a rollercoaster experience to guide and facilitate 86 students in the Himalayas. No less than a rollercoaster ride. But we are glad that despite the challenges, the program was successful,” Diptarks says.
“Doing a trek with 25 trekkers is one thing, but conducting such an experience with 86 students is an incredible achievement for the team,” shares Arjun Majumdar, Founder-CEO of Indiahikes.
To sum it up, this intense immersive experience, combined with reflection sessions with our team, triggered deep learning would change the way students see themselves, the world, and their place in it. It was also an enriching experience for the team who conducted it.