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Dianshan Lake trip - an adventure of exploration and leadership

19 September 2017
Last week, all of year 8 went on their annual residential expedition to Dianshan Lake. The trip is designed to allow pupils the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, preparing many of them for positions of responsibility in school and later life. After having enjoyed a four-day excursion packed with activities and leadership-building tasks, Cheryl was eager to share her account of the experience and its impact on her. Everyone was really excited on the journey to Dianshan Lake, as we had all heard about how much fun the trip would be. After our arrival, the instructors wasted no time and got us involved in the activities almost straight away. My group’s first activity was to build a raft out of just four large rubber tyres, six bamboo poles and a few lengths of string. Once the rafts were complete, we had a raft race with the other groups. After a lot of excited splashing, we all could see that the paddling strategy and coordination was very important for us to go the right direction. After a good night’s rest, the following morning saw us tackling the low ropes obstacle courses in our small teams. The aim of this activity was to work together in teams so every person would be able to get support from their teammates and complete every challenge successfully. The courses were quite hard in different ways, but it was great fun and everybody got to try everything and challenged themselves. Then it was on to the catapult building activity. With all the practice we had back at raft building, all of our group’s catapults worked very well. The activities on the final two days taught us a series of wilderness survival skills as we tried kayaking and building ourselves shelters in the bamboo forests. We also had a scavenger hunt to test our wilderness observational skills. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time had gone, but I was glad to be taking back so many great memories and useful skills. I’d like to thank the school, teachers, my friends and the kind instructors from Insight adventures for making this amazing expedition. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. Cheryl (year 8) As with all the College’s excursions, the year 8 annual residential expedition is designed to provide pupils with access to highly engaging and creative educational environments, so that they can develop not only their academic abilities, but also key life skills and positive characteristics embodied by the Wellington values. Specifically, this trip aims to bring out the leadership potential in pupils by putting them in challenging situations which require leaders to encourage cooperation and guide their team’s efforts. These individual activities were not only great fun for the pupils, they also served as an active demonstration of several key aspects of good leadership. For example, the raft and catapult building exercises highlighted the importance of clearly expressing ideas to the team while encouraging feedback and the refinement of designs, not to mention the efficient delegation of different tasks while under time pressure. The kayaking, wilderness survival and observation exercises demonstrated to our pupils the importance of perseverance and resourcefulness in an effective leader, since they will no doubt frequently encounter challenging conditions in later life. Through excursions and creative learning experiences such as these, Wellington College aims to strengthen the values of courage, respect, integrity, kindness and responsibility, all of which are essential qualities for future young leaders.