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For module 4 – Finding My Passion we travelled to San Pablo del Lago in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and camped at the Outward Bound Ecuador basecamp for 5 days and 4 nights.
The Agents of Change participated in challenging ropes courses which consisted of high and low elements aimed at personal development and team building. Low elements such as the “Crossing of the Swamp” took place only a few feet above the ground. High elements like the “Giant’s Ladder” were made of utility poles and require a belay for safety.
The group initiative “Crossing the swamp” involved real and imaginary ground-based obstacles that challenged the group to pool their resources and work together to find solutions. The students had to cross an imaginary swamp walking together on a wire. After two trials, the Agents of Change successfully crossed the swamp when all members contributed to the outcome including group members who assumed critical spotting roles.
The Giant’s Ladder, Discovery, and Giant Swing high ropes courses focused on personal achievement and asked participants to confront their personal fears and anxieties. These courses were both physical and emotional challenging.
The Giant’s Ladder provided members the opportunity to demonstrate their trust in another member of the group. The Agents of Change climbed the Giant’s Ladder in pairs. The Giant’s Ladder is a ladder eight feet wide with logs for rungs. Each step gets progressively bigger, from three to six feet apart. Participants found out quickly how important it is to help each other and that their success depended on the success of their teammate.
The Giant Swing was a lot of fun and got the whole group involved in the climber’s experience. Each participant climbed to a platform. While standing on the platform, each Agent of Change committed to successfully completing their initiative and then they jumped and were immediately caught by their safety lines and lowered to the ground.
The courses enhanced cooperation, decision making, self-confidence, positive risk taking, social cohesion, trust, self-esteem, leadership, goal setting, and teamwork.
The Agents of Change also experienced a 24-hour SOLO (an experience of being in total solitude with nature) to become aware of their own interests and hence strengthen their initiatives. This experience lead the students to think of themselves as leaders and to become aware of things in their lives they are passionate about.
Furthermore, this module provided practical tools to jumpstart the initiatives taking shape in a real and sustainable way. Students worked on their initiatives and made sure each initiatives had a clear, focused plan and budget. The participants outlined how their initiative will meet SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). The Agents of Change also developed clear plans to make their initiatives ongoing, including transition plans and structured roles of responsibility for future team.