“The self-discovery of your inherent leadership potential and an understanding of who you are and what you are meant to be are the keys to fulfilling your purpose from existence as a leader.” — Myles Munroe
The Adventure Troop of SAI International Residential School comprising of Classes IX-XII embarked on an exhilarating 7-day leadership journey to Bir-Billing from May 20, 2023 to May 26, 2023. The students were divided into 2 groups as per their flights. One group consisting of 77 students accompanied by 6 teachers & another group consisting of 35 students & 5 teachers. One of the most important aspects of this 7-day trip is the development of leadership by providing opportunities for students to hone their adventure skills, soft skills, social skills, and problem-solving skills. Through these experiences, students learn a variety of survival and life skills that help to dispel their fears and inspire them to take on challenges with confidence.
Building Confidence, Character, and Community: How Leadership Trips Foster Skills for Success
Such leadership educursions are designed by SAI International to engage the students actively in mentally and physically challenging tasks to provide them a healthy risk-taking experience. Signing up for such trips stands crucial as it pushes young learners to step out of their comfort zones, into the real world, which can sometimes serve them with uncertainty. Recent leadership research has demonstrated a need for better understanding the process of becoming a leader because it might be qualitatively different to being a leader. If so, there is likely to be a need for pedagogies designed deliberately to support first-time outdoor leadership experiences and any such pedagogies must be informed by the needs of first-time leaders. Becoming a leader in outdoor educational settings involves moving from the relative equality of being one participant among several in a group to a position of some influence in the group. Away from familiar settings of their school & home, into the wilderness of serene places unknown to the, accompanied by a gamut of intriguing adventurous sessions, the SAIoneers discovered themselves & the leader within through self-retrospection.
Transformative Experiences to Shape Future Leaders
SAI International School was constantly in touch with its for their update on the Leadership trip to Bir-Billing. Sharing some of their anecdotes & experiences as penned down by the SAIoneers , in letters they wrote to their parents, while on the trip.
Day 1: May 20, 2023 (Saturday)
Our first day was loaded with lots of enthusiasm & excitement. We were all well set for the trip. The Leadership Trip from Class IX to XII assembled in the lobby at 4:00AM early in the morning for the final instructions, cap distribution, food packet distribution & photography. Everything was briefed very clearly to us & our in-house teachers wished all of us good luck for a successful trip ahead. We boarded in the buses & arrived at the airport at 5:45AM. Our Headmaster Sir & Dean Sir accompanied us till the airport & left us with their best wishes. We had another photography session over there. We then checked in & had breakfast at the airport with proper discipline followed by a smooth flight to Delhi & both the flights landed there around 10 AM. Collected our luggage & boarded in 3 buses to Chandigarh. All of us had a wonderful lunch together at Hotel Almeida, Zirakpur on the way. We have reached Chandigarh around 8:30 PM. We will stay here overnight. Looking forward to many more exciting moments to share.
Thanks & with warm regards,
Day 2: 21st May 2023 (Sunday)
Today we woke up at 6:00 AM and had a very nice breakfast at HOTEL ALMEIDA, Chandigarh around 6:45 AM followed by some photo sessions. Then we started our journey in the buses towards BIR-BILLING sharp at 8:00 AM. We enjoyed ourselves throughout the day by listening to music, dancing, and playing variety fun games together. Midway, we had our lunch around 2:30 PM at KANGRAWALA BAGLI restaurant which was awesome. The journey was a bit hectic as we travelled a little long in the bus. After reaching COLONEL'S RESORT, we had our dinner. After a good dinner, Mr.Vikramaditya, our group guide gave an insight about tomorrow's plan & activity details. Finally, we arrived at our respective tents and relaxed.
“The second day of our trip started with waking up at 5:00 am in the morning and then having delicious breakfast at our hotel in Chandigarh. We then started our road trip to Bir Billing with hopes, expectations, and excitement. On the way to Bir, in our buses we danced and sang our hearts out for hours. When we reached the COLONEL's Camp, we were star struck by the beauty of Bir and the camp. We had a mouthwatering dinner at night and also socialized with other tourists. We went to sleep in our tents with a tired body and a happy mind,” said Samaira Angel.
Day 3: May 22, 2023 (Monday)
Today we woke up very early in the morning with a lot of enthusiasm & excitement about paragliding in these beautiful valleys. Our dream came true. Post breakfast we all assembled & moved towards the Paragliding Point. The entire exercise was breathtaking & equally thrilling. We all could discover the hidden daringness within. The activity was instrumental in bringing up our hidden potential in terms of courage & risk-taking ability. We were truly flying in the air like a bird. It was mind blowing & we all loved it while doing. Post lunch we visited the Tea Gardens with our guides & executed some adventure activities as well.
On talking about the cinematic beauty of nature, SAIoneers Askand Singh, Shivansh Agarwal, Piyush Agarwal, Satya Prakash, Vaibhav Khandelwal, Meet Talukdar, Chinmaya Dash, and Nageswar Mahakud, Debashish Mohapatra, expressed how the morning started with the sweet little chirping of the birds from the Pear Orchid right beside the tents where the children resided. In fact, the night that the children spent in their tents was a different kind of experience. The children had the taste of staying away from cozy beds and learnt the survival tricks of sleeping amidst nature.
In awe, while looking at the hills and mountains that surrounded them, the excited children got ready for the most awaiting activity of the trip- Paragliding. Excitement and fear both were seen in the eyes of the children as they roared their way towards BILLING that was 18 km away from BIR. Situated at the height of 8000 feet above sea level, the children started their venture of Paragliding. The children gathered their awesome experience of the activity when they landed on BIR.There were numerous activities which the children did along with the visit to the nearby Tea Garden and Rose Garden. Activities like cycling, jumaring, command net, burma bridge, slake line, double rope bridge, cross wire and Mission Impossible were ventured by the children. After the evening snacks, the teams prepared for their drama performances.
“The morning started for us at around 5:00 am. We were rushed to wake-up at an early hour for our first adventure sport that is paragliding. All of us were excited and nervous at the same time. As the saying goes “anticipation is more daunting than the actual experience”, it came true today. 36 of us started our expedition along with our teachers, to high up the mountain to experience our glide through the wind. The road to the mountain was filled with twists and turns and 40 minutes later we arrived at our spot where we would take off with a trainer pilot. They strapped belts and locks on every individual for safety measures so we can have the full experience without worrying about our safety. So as trained, we ran and suddenly our feet lost touch with the ground. And before we knew we were in the air. The world below us looked so small, for a moment we thought we were literally on the top of the world.
After a slow and steady land, we told all about our experience to our parents. We were then divided into 4 groups for some more sports. Cycling and rope climbing were few of them. By the evening we were given themes for our drama and performed at the bonfire setting. We did all of those in combination with the delicious food they provided for us for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner”.
Day 4: May 23, 2023 (Tuesday)
Today was an exciting and eventful day that began with us rising early at 6 am. We started the morning with some rejuvenating stretching exercises to awaken our bodies and minds. Following the exercises, we treated ourselves to a delicious and satisfying breakfast that provided us with the energy we needed for the day's activities. After breakfast, we geared up and set out for a trekking adventure. We hiked up a hill, surrounded by lush greenery, until we reached a stunning river. The anticipation grew as we approached the river, knowing that thrilling activities awaited us there.
As we arrived, we eagerly engaged in grappling, testing our agility and strength against the natural obstacles. Laughter filled the air as we challenged ourselves and cheered each other on. It was a fantastic bonding experience, bringing us closer together as a group. After working up an appetite, we gathered for a scrumptious lunch that replenished our energy levels. It was the perfect opportunity to relax, share stories, and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounded us.
With renewed vigor, we embarked on one of the most enjoyable parts of the day - river bathing. The cool, crystal-clear water provided a refreshing respite from the warmth of the day. We splashed, swam, and played in the water, creating lasting memories and laughter that echoed through the air. It was a delightful experience that brought us immense joy and a sense of childlike wonder. The rain added a touch of magic to the surroundings, creating a serene and enchanting atmosphere.
To end the day on a high note, we had an energetic dance session. We let go of inhibitions and danced with pure joy, celebrating our bonds and the incredible adventures we had shared. It was a fitting way to express our gratitude for the day's experiences and the friendships we had formed. As we settle in for the night, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the unforgettable moments we have experienced together. Today reminded us of the beauty of nature, the power of camaraderie, and the thrill of stepping out of our comfort zones. We eagerly look forward to the adventures that tomorrow will bring, excited to create more cherished memories together.
Thanks & with warm regards,
Day 5: May 24, 2023 (Wednesday)
“Visiting Dharamshala and McLeodGanj is a delightful experience that combines natural beauty, spiritual exploration, and Tibetan culture. These two towns, located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, offer a unique and enchanting atmosphere. Our excitement was not bound when we reached Dhramsala Cricket Stadium. McLeod Ganj is bustling with Tibetan shops, cafes, and monasteries. We really enjoyed the day”, said Parth Gupta.
“Our visit to Dharamshala and McLeodGanj was an unbelievable experience. Dhramsala is breathtaking, Triund, a popular trekking spot, offers stunning views of the Dhauladhar mountain range and the Kangra Valley. Visiting Dharamshala and McLeodGanj was an enriching and memorable experience for us. The blend of natural beauty, spirituality, and Tibetan culture create a unique ambience”, expressed Mohit Agrawal.
For Puneet Agarwal this trip is unforgettable and says, “Amid rain and frigidity, we started the fifth day of our unforgettable trip to Bir Billing. We were thrilled because we started for Dharamshala and McLeodGanj. The way from Bir to Dharamsala was really stirring. When we reached Dharamshala our expectations went beyond the limit. We entered Dharamshala cricket stadium which is surrounded by enthralling nature. The scenic beauty cannot be explained in words. Then we went to McLeod Ganj, the vast marketplace. We did some shopping and came back to Bir again”.
DAY 6: May 25, 2023 (Thursday)
Good evening, dear parents, this is the 6th day of our trip. We woke up around 5:30 in the morning and got ready for breakfast. After breakfast we had our final assembly followed by a felicitation ceremony and prize distribution around 8:30 am. Glad to share the categories & winner details.
1. Best in cultural performance - Grade X group - Invincible Omnipents
2. Best teamwork & coordination - Grade IX - Invincible Spectaculars
3. Eco friendly person of the camp - Samaira Angel
4. Best in adventure activities - Tanishq Agrawal
5. Best captain of the camp - Askand Singh
6. Best camper - Adarsh Priyaranjan Sathua
7. Outstanding person of the camp - Pranjal Priyadarshini
“We got an opportunity to share our experience & feelings about the trip. Then the Camp In charge, the host gave a goodbye speech and thanked our school management for bringing us here. The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Amit Dey sir. Then around 9:40 am we got into the bus and moved towards a Buddhist Monastery where many Tibetan and Nepalese lamas are studying. After reaching the monastery we saw many monks and met with a few Buddhist disciples who are learning and spreading the philosophical ideas of Buddhism. They shared their theological knowledge with all of us. It indeed was a wonderful & unique experience. After that we started our road journey with three luxury buses towards Chandigarh. On the way we experienced the rainfall and thunderstorms and some of the beautiful mountain views and natural scenery. Midway we had our delicious lunch and finally we reached Chandigarh around 7:45 pm at the hotel, The Golden Plaza. After relishing an awesome dinner, we all came back to our respective rooms to rest and prepare for our departure tomorrow. Overall, the journey was great, and we all had real fun throughout the entire journey.”