A recent study that we conducted has shown us that hiking or trekking as a sport, is a great way to improve the overall psyche of school-going students.
We conducted this study in collaboration with Delhi Public School, North Bangalore. Much like Indiahikes, DPS North firmly believes that trekking is good for students and encourages all students to explore the outdoors and learn.
Together, we conducted a survey to quantify the impact of trekking on students.
The study circle involved students from classes 12, 10 and 9 with a total strength of 251 students. 53 students from class 12, 117 students from class 10 and 81 students from class 9 participated.
The results only reaffirmed our belief that trekking indeed can improve a child’s self confidence and make them more humble and giving.
Here are further details of what we learnt
1. Trekking Boosts Self-Confidence
A total of 188 out of 251 students said that they did feel more self- confident after the trek. The outdoor trekking environment forces students out of their comfort zones. Their dependency on others reduces to a great extent. In that sense, they are expected to solve their own problems and overcome challenges.
Overcoming these obstacles through their own devise is a great boost to a child’s self confidence. They learn first hand that success can be achieved with their own efforts, if only they push a little harder and persevere.
2. Trekking Instills Values Of Empathy and Generosity
Treks have a way of forging bonds between people. It’s a real life experience that when you help someone else, you achieve greater things. This realisation is strong with children.
We have seen students carrying each other’s backpacks, helping each other on difficult boulder sections, providing moral support to those struggling while climbing uphill.
Moreover, the students who partook in the study also observed that their classmates became more helpful upon return from their trek. A total of 136 students out of the total of 261 confirmed that they had observed their classmates act more helpful than before.
3. Trekking Helps Boost Camaraderie
As the students face hardships together, they get to know each other at a much deeper level. They share lunch, share off-school conversations, they even get into arguments. But all these experiences help them understand the other person. They learn how to get along and deal with different kinds of personalities.
We notice that this sense of camaraderie increases with age, as students become more conscious of the company they are keeping.
Being away from technology, network and generally, a change of the environment helps boost this friendship.
4. Trekking Increases Environmental Awareness
Instilling a sense of environmental consciousness is a fundamental part of all Eco Hiking treks. Students take part in cleaning up trekking trails, and see immediate results of the positive changes that they have brought about on the trail.
Apart from this, students are made aware of sustainability initiatives like the Green Trails initiative of Indiahikes. They are given real life examples of how their everyday activities can be damaging to the environment and what they can do to mitigate their impact as individuals.
5. Shape Personal Values
During the trek we have awareness building sessions for children to encourage minimalism. They are made more conscious about the carbon footprint of the food and snack choices they make on a day to day basis. This plants the seed of ‘I can make a difference’ and what I do matters.
Apart from this, there is a huge sense of team work and within the students. Leadership qualities also slowly emerge.
These values are enhanced when the students are thrown out of their comfort zones.
On another note, as part of the Green Trails initiative, the students collect any garbage that they see on the trail on all Indiahikes treks. This principle applies to Eco Hiking Programme as well.
The students are given pouches, called Eco Bags, at the beginning of the trek in which they put their own garbage or any pieces of trash that they may spot on the trail.
The idea is to nurture a sense of personal responsibility towards nature.
This is a personal ethic that takes time to build upon.
The values surveyed above are the core areas that the Eco Hiking Programme for schools works upon. It is evident from the survey that being outdoors has a great impact on the overall development of students. It supplements their classroom learnings to round off a wholistic education. It is experiential learning. This is something that we hope is realised by more and more institutions as well as parents.