30th March 2015
Many see the leadership training as the most challenging phase on any Raleigh expedition. 170km of trekking through the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, carrying everything you need on your back for ten days at a time. The group is carrying the equivalent of a huge house, complete with kitchen, bathroom, and 13 bedrooms. When we first came together as a team we didn’t know what to expect. We could only base our thoughts on what was to come on the stories we had been told by the previous group. So with heavy bags and excited minds, though with trepidation in our hearts, we set off into the unknown.
Leadership training, Raleigh Tanzania.
However, the challenges made us stronger as a team, and through some rigorous teamwork we made it through the experience. We constantly looked out for each other, adjusting the pace and weight distribution of the equipment and food to suit the needs of the whole team. The ‘Day Leader’ was responsible for the morale of the team, allocating daily tasks, determining important break times, in addition to running the day and making sure we left on time in the morning. This was pivotal to the success of the day’s trek and each of us took it in turn to step into it, bringing our own set of unique skills to the role.
Phase two, trek group.
Once our camp was made, the day leader was debriefed with the volunteer managers, which enabled us to reflect on our leadership skills and to adapt, change, and improve our personal conduct and team management as the trek went on. Each team member had the opportunity to take on the role twice, each time learning and developing from their previous experiences and with the full support of the team around them.
Overall we discovered that although the leadership training might be one of the most challenging experiences any of us has encountered, it is also one of the most rewarding. We witnessed some incredible scenery, developed on a personal level by pushing ourselves beyond our boundaries, and embraced the cultural diversity of the villages we passed through, in particular the amazing experience of staying at a Masai camp. We can only thank our brilliant volunteer manager team and guides for making this phase a truly unforgettable experience.
Written by Steph Clarke and George Wirgman, Venturers