End The Year with Outdoor Leadership

Ending the school year with this Outdoor Leadership exploration is the best way to end it, no doubt. In this exploration, we study about the leadership roles when we are outdoors. Being a leader is not just so other people feared you, but it’s about how other people respect you and recognize you as a leader. A leader is not just someone who tells others their tasks or what they should be doing, but a leader should show and lead the way throughout for their teammates

Photo by: Cindy Liu

Some of the things we learned during this exploration are skills to save someone like doing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), checking if the victim is awake or responsive, checking for deformity of the patient, etc… I find it very useful and helpful to learn all these skills at a very young age because with these skills I could actually save a person’s life! We practice with different scenarios throughout the whole exploration and get comfortable doing it. In addition, we learned some of the survival skills while we are outdoors, particularly in the forest or jungle.

Photo by: Chornson Sum

In order to practice those skills we went on two trips; one was in Kirirom National Park and the other one was in Mondulkiri. My highlights from Kirirom trip was to see the heaven cliff. I don’t usually get impressed by things easily, but this heaven cliff sure looks like how it sounds like. It was beyond my expectations! It’s like the best place I’ve ever seen. I felt so much better after seeing the gorgeous view of the cliff after a super tiring, long, but chilling weather trek. I’m glad we camp there, but unfortunately, it’s a very short trip. I enjoy it a lot, especially seeing the sunrise in the early morning, including seeing the horn bills.

Photo by: Cindy Liu

My highlights from Mondulkiri was overcoming challenges as a whole team. It was very difficult to go to Mondulkiri at the end of May because it’s raining season and our tent ended up all soaked up, so does the clothes that we put there. Everyone shows a lot of caring and sharing for each other while facing this challenge and I love seeing that a lot! We showed a lot of flexibility and adaptation when we changed our plans around. After this struggling experience, we come to understand each other better and become better teammates. Plans might not always go accordingly, so you should always be ready for changes in plans! Even if we are facing the problem, we remain calm and help each other until the end, showing great loyalty to the whole team, not team, but more like a family. 

One of the challenge everyone faces during our second trip to Mondulkiri might be the trekking part because it was very slippery due to the rain. There were insects and bugs especially leeches all over the ground. It was very difficult for us to trek when the rocks were slippery and we need to be super careful so that we wouldn’t slip. We collaborate really well when it comes to the steep or slippery ground. We hold hands or give a hand to those who need to climb down or climb up, showing great teamwork, which I find very impressive. We alert each other if there are tree branches or obstacles along the way so that no one would get hurt. One of the best things I observed is how we as teammates encourage each other to push through the hard times they face, for example, some people are afraid of particular insects or bugs, but we didn’t blame them for that, besides we actually help them get out of their comfort zone and push through the struggle together, which results in positive consequences.

We also communicate really well with each other, especially while trekking. We have three signs that we could say out loud anytime we want. “Green light” means go/continue, “Yellow light” means to slow down and “Red light” means to pause/stop. Everyone was very open hearted, whenever anyone needs to stop or pause for water break or someone gets hurt. Talking about water break, we also assigned someone to be a water wizard. He/she needs to make sure that everyone is hydrated and tells them to drink water frequently. 

What I thought I could work towards to would be to be a better teammate and nature observer. What I meant by being a better teammate is that I should be better at encouraging and motivating others, like during this exploration trip, I could have encouraged my teammates to continue and push through the tiring trek together, but I didn’t do so. I would love to also openly help anyone in need, especially during the trip because we are at an unfamiliar place that could end up with a lot of struggles. The other thing I could improve on is being a nature observer. I could ask or let my curiosity goes wild about the natural environment. While I was trekking, I didn’t really think much about my surroundings. What I could have done better next time would be to ask questions about the nature around me such as; trees, plants, insects, bugs, wild animals, fruits, flowers, etc…


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