Things I learnt from this trip:
A briefing in the morning of each day is important so that participants are aware of what the coming day entails. This can be an excellent time to check up on the group’s overall wellbeing and ask around to establish who may not have slept well as this may effect their performance. Before walking it is also important to apply some group dynamics theory to the group. This can involve delegating front and back markers, group leaders and navigators to assist the overall group cohesiveness. Throughout the walk, leaders can play an integral part in maintaining the group morale, this can involve singing songs, giving the individuals riddles to solve and generally chatting amongst the group. When doing so, a leader can subtly pick up on any issues that participants may be having such as first aid problems (asthma, blisters etc.), poor levels of fitness or emotional problems that may be occurring throughout the group.
Debriefs are important to run at the end of every day, in order to track the wellbeing and overall status of the group. It is important to frontload what will be included in the debrief to get individuals thinking about what they need to reflect on, particularly with groups that are not familiar to each other, or new to the experience. Debriefs can be run in a number of ways:
- Chat to a partner about their general feelings about the day.
- Fruit salad (strawberry- something enjoyable, banana- something you learnt, lemon- something you didn’t enjoy so much).
- Leader to choose people to speak one at a time (if quiet group and no one volunteers).
- Comment on group development.
- Find an object that represents your experience of today.
- Go around the group and say a highlight and a lowlight of the day.
Finally, it is important to ensure that the group is able to hear and see each other clearly, that everyone is comfortable, and there are no distractions within the location e.g. other groups, road traffic etc.
(Adapted from personal knowledge, advice from mentors at Cornerstone College; Heathfield High school, Eastern Fleurieu R-12 school, and Froude & Polley 2011).
The desired attributes of the participants for the ski trip are:
- Background knowledge in lightweight camping
- Able to safely and independently use Trangia
- Confident is erecting tent
- Knowledge of how to pack a rucksack
- Some skiing experiance
- Basic understanding of navigating and map skills
- Adequate fitness (able to carry a pack at approx. 1/3 of body weight for three days)
- Ability to maturely lead peers
- Be able to effectively self-manage
- Own fatigue
- Diet and hydration
- Thermoregulation by wearing correct attire
- Wellbeing of other group members
- Positive group contributions to make effective decisions