How a Trek With Indiahikes is an Ideal IB-CAS Program

CAS plays an important role in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme that is designed for students aged 16 – 19. CAS is organized around the three strands of creativity, activity, and service. 

It is designed to strengthen and extend students’ personal and interpersonal learning and develop skills such as problem-solving, cooperation, critical and creative thinking.

Students work together and improve their interpersonal, communication, and creative thinking skills. Picture by Harikrishnan

A trek with Indiahikes involves: 

  1. Personal challenge – Students are involved in planning and executing their own trek.  They pitch their own tents, cook, carry their own load, motivate each other and at the same time work on an environmental issue. 
  2. Team and collaborative leadership skills – Students consult, plan, carry out the planned activities and then reflect on the outcome and their learning every day. Their communication skills and their ability to cooperate and collaborate while doing so are greatly enhanced. While doing so they learn to involve and encourage each other and demonstrate higher levels of empathy.
  3. Social and cultural sensitivity – Gaining insight into the lives and culture of village people in the remotest parts of the Himalayas and participating in environmental programs we run there.
  4. Creativity – Students creativity in the area of problem-solving is greatly enhanced. They also portray and express their experience through videos, photo stories, stories, poems, skits or songs. These are presented during evenings together under the stars or in the common dining tent.

    Students work together to make their trek a success. Picture by Geet Tryambake

Outcomes:

  1. The creative expression of experience and learning.
  2. Strengthens commitment and perseverance.
  3. Identifying one’s own strengths and becoming aware of areas that need to be worked on.
  4. Resilience through getting accustomed to hardship and coming up with creative ways to manage with limited resources.
  5. Recognition of the benefits of cooperation and collaboration as vital elements of success.
  6. A deeper understanding of the need to protect the environment and how to do so. This is through direct engagement in environment-related activities while on the trek.
  7. Ability to reflect on personal choices and actions and recognize their impact on the progress of a team, community, society and the environment.
After a day of trekking and working together students gather for a reflection session.

Details of the Program 

The Program is divided into 3 parts: Preparation for the trek; The actual trek; Post- trek activity.

Preparation

Once a school signs up with us we first have an initial consultation with the CAS coordinator so as to align our thoughts on the objectives of the program and how to take it forward.

The preparation involves physical and mental readiness to do the trek. The school needs to take responsibility to ensure the students are fit to trek and have all their trek gear in place.

The Actual Trek

Selection of the trek: We always select a slope that is suitable for first-time trekkers. At the same time, it will have all the rigours of a Himalayan trek. Another criterion is a base village where we have already initiated environment-related activities in coordination with the local community or where the potential to start new projects exist.

What happens from the start to the end:

  • Day 1: This is the day when students make the long breathtakingly beautiful journey from either Dehradun or Rishikesh to the base camp of the trek. 
  • Day 2:The actual trek begins after a visit to the base village. After reaching the first campsite students rest, have lunch and start campsite activities. The day ends with circle time and reflections.
  • Day 3: Trek to the next campsite followed by the rest of the activities as on day 2.
  • Day 4: This is the day when students usually climb to the summit of the trek. It’s an exhilarating experience and the reflections take on a different note.
  • Day 5: This is the day to descend back to base camp. Students have a new spring in their step with the surge of self- confidence but a wistfulness in their eyes as they know they will be leaving soon. This evening there is a review of the environmental activities that were woven into the trek. Learning and experience are shared.
  • Day 6: Drive back to the nearest airport or railway station.

There is personal time each day, apart from group reflections, where all are encouraged to spend meaningful time with themselves. Some may write their diaries, poems, sit in silent contemplation or walk around. 

Post – trek

This activity takes place in school. Students write and present their reports in accordance with the guidelines given to them.

For further information please write to izzat@indiahikes.com.

Izzat Yaganagi

Izzat Yaganagi

Izzat is the Head of Experiential Learning Programmes at Indiahikes.She believes that all young people must trek since there's no better teacher than nature in its true form.A Psychological Counsellor by profession, she is also an avid trekker and promotes sustainable living. When not busy with work, she loves doodling and gardening.

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