Overnight stay in Jegersberg
Prior to leaving for our overnight trip with all the international students, our lecturer held a pre-departure meeting at Spicheren after our lecture to discuss aspects of the trip and to help us coordinate packing our overnight bag. This proved very beneficial as I was able to identify, through the guidance of Len, what items I packed and did not need (taking up important space), the way I packed all my items in my rucksack (making items I needed quick and easily accessible), along with my food selection. It was noted by Len that my food selection was not very efficient as some of the products I chose took up too much space in my bag and was not very nutritious, which is something I took into consideration when I am to reflect on this for future trips. My preparation as a whole for this trip was not very good as myself and Danny just assumed that we were sharing a shelter with other colleagues, resulting in not bringing a spare tarp between us. Fortunately, we were told after that there would be enough room to share with another group, which would prevent holding the whole class back if this was identified at a later point.
After Len had taken a look at my bag and other colleagues, giving us one to one feedback, he started to advise us on the correct process on packing our rucksacks through a guided discussion. Gizmodo (2016) believes that the way a rucksack is packed is essential because if done incorrectly, it can affect your balance, your stance and your breathing, especially if you have a long excursion planned. Which means it is it important to think about where you allocate items in your luggage. Therefor, it is essential to pack the light things in the bottom of your bag and the heavier items in the upper section close to your back Gizmodo (2016); which results in providing your back with a high centre of gravity to make hiking for comfortable. Even though the weight distribution will be the same, packing it this way will help your posture and relieve muscle stress, especially when these muscles are going to be used on a daily basis (Gizmodo, 2016).
Secondly, it is important that you place items that you will need quick access for in your side and top pocket, or in the top of your rucksack. Items such as a water proof, jumper, first aid, head torch, knife, rope; items which you can easily access without unloading your entire rucksack. Further-more, it is viewed as more practical to pack your stuff in plastic bags as this method keeps all of your clothes and equipment in order and dry (Gizmodo, 2016); using different coloured bags to make locating equipment quicker in times of need. This overnight experience was a good opportunity to learn, reflect and test our equipment out so we know whether they are suitable for future trips.
When we made it to Jegersberg we got straight into the first task of the day which was group dynamic games. Each country was given the opportunity to present a game for the whole group to perform. Every game was fun which made everybody gel really well as a group which improved social cohesion due to the laughter and positive involvement, and because social cohesion was high this made group cohesion work more consistently. This was also a perfect opportunity to step forward and show your leadership qualities through explanations and demonstrations of the activity, knowing that constructive feedback was to be given on the basis of delivery and practicality. Unfortunately, the game which myself and Danny presented was not a great example due to the lack of preparation given, resulting in negative feedback at the end of our session (a point to reflect on).
Our second task of the day was a cooking competition, and again we were split into groups of nationality; our group consisted of myself, Danny, Kyle, George, Conor and Elouise. We were against the clock and was only given 20 minutes to present a dish using a storm kitchen and the following ingredients; Mincemeat, Leek and Couscous. Which unfortunately did not work out well due to the amount of time it was standing for waiting to be eaten and judged. We came near enough last in this task but it really showed me how creative you can be with limited ingredients presented by other countries, and it gave me some nice ideas that I can possibly use in the future using a storm kitchen.
Our final task was to create our improvised shelter to sleep in overnight. Fortunately, we were placed with the other Brits who have a lot of experience making improvised shelters, therefor we were able to observe and learn how to create one under the guidance of our colleagues. The shelter had to be created quickly just in case we lost light or the weather took a turn for the worst, so George, Connor and Kyle took a more autocratic approach towards us in order to get the job done quickly. Autocratic leadership according to Kahn et al. (2015) is characterised by individual control in order to get the job done correctly and to a good standard. Which is something that is important because it has to withstand five people, and be warm enough for a comfortable night. Our team members presented all the equipment needed including; a tarp and some rope. We began by being shown how to tie the rope between two trees tightly to enable the tarp to placed over it eventually. Whilst they placed the tarp over, me and Danny started to collect wood which we had to sharpened out and used as pegs to hold the shelter down. We then started collecting plenty of branches and other terrain to use as a wind shelter for the side of the tarp to keep us warm over night.
From this experience I learnt that being prepared is essential, not being prepared if conditions are bad can hold a team back. My sleeping bag was not warm enough so I would need to invest in a new one to withstand the cold weather for the mountain trips; and I can finally reflect on the shelter building which will hopefully be easier to create on my own for future trips.
Khan, M. S., Kahn, I., Qureshi. O., Muhammad. A. H., Rauf, H. & Muhammad. A. L. (2015) The Styles of Leadership: A Critical Review. Public Policy and Administration Research, 5 (3), pp. 97-92.