André Morris – Outbound Adventure
“Today’s competitive academic environment puts increasing demands on students to spend more time in the classroom, and very little time outdoors. Outdoor programmes instil in students a sense of responsibility, assists in building trust, self-confidence and a strong sense of team spirit.”
He is assisted by an indispensable group of outdoor enthusiasts and other professionals. Andre spent almost 25 years as a volunteer with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (now the International Award for Young People) and was the chairman for the West Zone (India from 1995 to 2001) as well as a member of an international training team with particular reference to expeditions and adventure.
Excerpts from the interview
Summer camp is not meant to be a boot camp where you’re up at 5 a.m. and are kept active and toiling till late into the night. Camp is meant above all to be fun and relaxing, says Mr. Morris.
Need for an adventure club
An adventure club fulfills the need for outdoor learning and experiences. Today’s competitive academic environment puts increasing demands on students to spend more time in the classroom, and very little time outdoors. Outdoor education, as gained through an adventure club, helps develop life skills that cannot be gained in the classroom and contributes significantly to student’s personal all-round development. Research in the West has proved that outdoor experiences can actually strengthen academic learning. Outdoor programmes instil in students a sense of responsibility, assists in building trust, self-confidence and a strong sense of team spirit. Additionally, a lasting benefit of outdoor learning is that students learn to enjoy and respect the environment and also to care for it.
To get people outdoors where they can learn and enjoy nature, adventure and a world vastly different from the busy trappings and stresses of the city or boardroom. He mentions that, we run fun trips as well as outdoor education and training experiences, camps and expeditions – but not tours or package holidays. We make this distinction because our emphasis is on hands-on experience where learning is a priority and everyone pitches in to make it a success.
Benefit of the program
He points out saying, “I can’t really put a cap on what people will learn since this will vary from person to person. A lot rests with the attitude and willingness of campers to make the most of the opportunity and the experience. The real answer to this question would come from the many parents and campers who keep coming back for camping ventures and trips with us. We encourage young people to question and explore everything in the outdoors with respect and concern. I’m always telling people “the only bad question is the one you don’t ask.”
Discussing about the challenges, he clarifies that, each of our summer camps include a selection from a whole spectrum of outdoor activities like from kayaking and rafting, archery, rock climbing and rappelling, fire lighting and safety, tenting to name a few. We can’t make everything 100% safe and foolproof, the very definition of adventure involves an element of risk but as leaders and experienced professionals in the field and with 1-10 staff and student ratio, we take all the necessary precautions and steps to ensure a safe, healthy and enjoyable experience.
Handling the temperaments
Care, concern and even a firm approach is used depending on the circumstances. We often get campers to do some self-introspection when faced with a difficult situation.
Reliving the memories
It’s very gratifying for me when parents call up and say that their child has blossomed or bloomed after coming on camp. I’ve met many a shy person who has built self-confidence or learnt to be brave and bold. I’ve seen people who are rebellious or problematic at home calm down and gain focus and direction. There are many cases of young people gaining self-esteem and blossoming leadership qualities when faced with challenges in the outdoors. The outdoors has a tremendous capacity to release latent talents and time and again parents are surprised by this.
Tel: +91 98201 95115