Raleigh Expedition 17O Volunteer Manager Team Begin Trek Training

28th September 2017

*Acronym alert!* – Sit Rep call- is that another Raleigh-ism?! You may well be wondering what a Sit Rep call is. Well, a Situation Report call is where the Volunteer Manager on a project takes a call from one of the Deputy Operations Managers (DOMs) with the venturer whose turn it is to be the day leader each morning of trek between 6am and 7am. Together with the Volunteer Managers and the DOMs, the day leader will go through details such as the weather, how the trek is going, any potential health issues etc.

Felix (VM), Baibhav (DOM) and Jen (DOM) by Raleigh Expedition 17O VM Photographer, Jake

When the VMs had their end of the day review today bac in Kathmandu with day leader Volunteer Manager Andrea, they all agreed that it was great to get out of the training room and into the open air out trekking. All of the Volunteer Managers are active, outdoorsy, interesting people for whom even a beaten rice lunch spent looking out onto a buffalo carcass (which had been killed by locals for Dashain festival celebrations) provoked conversation and scenario planning. The VMs discussed how they’ll handle the trek phases with their venturers and how the venturers will grow as the 19-day treks progress. Felix, one of the Volunteer Managers summed it up when he said at the end of day review that, “today is what Raleigh is all about, adventure, culture and great fun. ”

Deputy Operations Manager, Jen (far right) briefs the VM team at the start of the day training hike. Photo by Expedition 17O Photographer, Jake.

At the highest point of today’s trek the Volunteer Managers sat around looking out onto the view of locals around a buffalo and the valley through Kathmandu, way below where they had climbed, and trained in groups to plot new waypoints on the GPS. Many of the Volunteer Managers also used this time to go and see the children who were flying their kites just next to where the buffalo had been killed for Dashain festival feasts. For these Nepali children, kite flying is an important part of celebrating Dashain, yet despite the peace of the children flying the kites, the Volunteer Managers couldn’t all help but notice that the local house didn’t have a safe water tap with soap to wash their hands. Whilst the Raleigh training day revolved around getting to grips with trekking and working effectively as a Volunteer Manager group, these young Nepali children, who were playing so close to the buffalo, were placed at the kind of hygiene risk the VMs have been learning about how to reduce over the past few days in training back at the base in Kathmandu.

Home Country Volunteer Manager, Shrijana looking out at the view from the top of the hike. Photo by Volunteer Manager Medic, Tom.

The young venturers will engage with similar expedition trekking scenarios as the VMs have done today. The young Raleigh volunteers who are about to undergo this incredibly formative expedition will be ready to take ownership of what is happening in the world, to plan for the future and make a positive impact locally and globally. It is so exciting to imagine how all the venturers will learn from their experiences, from cooking and feeding themselves and the group to supporting local Nepali people in the communities in Gorkha learn about safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

Volunteer Managers & Deputy Operations Managers on the descent. Photo by Expedition 17O Photograher, Jake.
The Volunteer Manager team discuss whether they need to take on more fuel for the remaining climb. Photo by Expedition 17O Photograher, Jake.

As the Volunteer Managers discussed how to minimise risk in mock-up scenarios today, new leaders shone through. Some were focused on maintaining group dynamic, others engaged with local people to understand their lives. Others deciphered new methods of taking notes to complete the communications and Sit Rep calls and discussed with their fellow managers how they hope to impart Raleigh leadership values to their venturers. Today we demonstrated that young people are indeed full of creativity, innovation and determination. Given the chance, they can be leaders at the heart of global change. At this early stage in their training, when the Volunteer Managers are all getting to know each other and prepare for the upcoming expedition, these values are what the team are looking forward to embracing the most. It is this unique and immersive training programme which delivers the true Raleigh values which the Volunteer Mangers will pass down to their venturers.

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