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Pupils JUMP into leadership training for upcoming expeditions

08 April 2019
Expeditions are an important part of Wellington’s educational offering and each year we’re continuing to expand the range and ambitiousness of the trips that are on offer to pupils throughout the College’s age groups. As our expeditions improve, they also represent an excellent opportunity for our pupils to take on positions of responsibility and further stretch their ability to plan, motivate, inspire and, ultimately, lead. In this regard, our partnership with the JUMP! Foundation continues to prove extremely rewarding for pupils across the College. The following account by Stefania demonstrates how there are growing opportunities for pupils to take greater ownership of their own expedition experiences. The leadership training course she describes was attended by pupils in years 9, 10 and 11, as we aim to extend the offer of leadership roles to pupils of all ages, not just the oldest. As we look forward to the upcoming trips, including the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award expedition, it’s essential that our pupils understand and appreciate their ability to shape their own path in a very real and meaningful sense. This goes especially for our DofE participants, who will encounter a series of new challenges on their expedition that will be significant yet manageable. While they will be accompanied by a member of Wellington’s staff and a JUMP team member, the adults are purely there to intervene if there is a safety issue; the pupils are meant to make their own decisions, make mistakes, forge ahead and learn from each experience, all under their own steam. For this reason, the work we continue to do with JUMP and as part of our other ongoing leadership training efforts is vital. We aim to ensure that all of our pupils leave Wellington as confident, emotionally mature and resourceful individuals ready to independently take on whatever challenges life throws at them. The earlier this process starts, the better. Jo Evans Director of Wellbeing
Stefania, year 9
On March 1st-2nd, myself and another 13 pupils were given the opportunity to take part in a two-day leadership training course provided by JUMP, to help us prepare to become co-facilitators for the upcoming expeditions. It was a great learning experience, one that myself and many others hadn’t experienced before.
The session began at 18:00 after school on a Friday, where we all met in Ms Evans’s room, not really knowing what to expect. After meeting our facilitator, Ric, and the teachers who would be coming on the expeditions with us, we were presented with one of the many challenges that we had to overcome throughout the course. This one was called “warp speed”. We were told to make a circle and pass a tennis ball around the circle as quickly as possible. We were then told that everyone had to touch the ball in the same order, but as quickly as possible. This simple instruction allowed for creativity to burst into the room as everyone contributed ideas as to how we could successfully complete the challenge. Being our first challenge as a team, we struggled in the beginning to get everyone’s ideas across, which effectively was the point of the exercise.
After many attempts of forming arcs, circles, spirals, running in lines, putting the ball in a cup, making it drop, and so on, we managed to complete the challenge with a record-breaking result of 0.7 seconds, which was definitely a massive improvement from our first attempt which yielded a result of around 25 seconds. After we had completed the challenge, we were encouraged to participate in a debrief, where we analysed both our strengths and weaknesses as a group.
Over the course of the two days, we were presented with similar challenges which involved critical thinking, collaborative planning and most importantly, teamwork. On the second day however, our main focus was to learn how to be co-facilitators for the upcoming expeditions and to prepare the training sessions we would be running before said expeditions launched. Throughout the day, Ric, our facilitator, picked names out of a hat to see who would be leading a so-called “energiser” with some “extreme stakeholders” to make the challenge even more demanding. This allowed us to gain first-hand experience and practise how to deal with a difficult situation as both a leader and facilitator.
After a very short lunch break, we separated into our expedition groups and began to put ideas onto paper. We discussed possible strengths and weaknesses we, and others may have on the expeditions, how to deal with them and how to better prepare ourselves for those situations. We also began planning our training sessions for our respective expeditions. Ric provided us with an abundant list of activities, challenges and energisers, as well as possible topics for our sessions. However, she left the hard work to us, and made us decide for ourselves what we thought would be best for our group.
While preparing, we would break off from our own activities to listen to what the other groups had planned as well as presenting our own ideas, so that we could all provide useful feedback for one another. This was crucial for developing our initial ideas into solid sessions where everyone taking part would feel motivated and positive.
By 16:00, we were ready to call it a day. While it may have not been a physically challenging day, mentally, it required us to overcome many obstacles through teamwork, collaboration and confidence. We finished with everyone sharing their thoughts on the training, what we had learned from each other, and most importantly what we were looking forward to during the expeditions.
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