Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Memoirs of OLP (Outdoor Leadership Program) – NINE

It was 9:00 am in the morning of 16th and I was about to drive to my university when I received a sms regarding my selection for the OLP.  I was happy and confounded to know that I was selected. Confounded because leadership, similar to adventure, is a state of mind. Always the dispute within me has been with –‘Getting started’.  Coaxing the inherent self to do it. Indeed they (who else? google guys? Naah!) say that beginning is half done. So, after the mental dressing, I started packing for the 3 great days I am gonna spend with every single person up for the program.

It was 9:30 am in the morning by the time we (motor-poolers) reached the venue. We found a bunch of adventure enthusiasts who already reached there and we started conversing with them. All of us had few things  in common but every single one of us were trying to make some sense out of his or her presence here, to find some meaning with the opportunity presented, to become an ‘Outdoor Leader’.

After a hefty breakfast, the first day started out with an introductory session followed by the prerequisites for a trek-- planning, equipment, safety and execution. To facilitate better interaction between all the members, the whole team was divided into groups of 5 members each. They were fun filled sessions with one member of the group introducing other members of the respective group and chalking out the probable prerequisites for a trek. The class breaks for lunch and the much awaited session about survival began in the second half of the day. It is the third session of the day which dealt with the basics of survival. These skills were later experimented by each of the groups. Later in the evening, we got to chop the vegetables, cook them to make a decent meal (Veg. Pulao, Mixed veg curry and white rice) and taste it numerous times (thankfully much more was left to eat even after the tasting session: D). After the delicious meal, we proceeded to bond near the bonfire. The highlight of the night was the sentry duty which was given to only guys (lucky chaps, they got to stay out of their tents for more time) and then we retired to our tents, which we pitched before cooking dinner. 
9th Outdoor leader ship workshop for future leaders of GHAC

Col Rajeev Sharma Explaining on collecting Firewood
Yes we did start a fire

Cutting Vegetables for Pulao

The Yummiest Food Ever

The classes on the second day began with basic scrambling and bouldering sessions followed by the ritual of breakfast. A much anticipated session of the day for me indeed was the map reading session which was followed by a practice session which requires the map reading skills. It is worth a mention that the practice session was much spontaneously decided by our leader. Much to our pride of wanting to be the leaders, most of us dosed off in the sessions that followed post lunch. Nevertheless, we survived (with dreamy eyes) the session by presenting each of our game-plan for the survival challenge given and died in 10min (You will know what I mean if you have attended the OLP ;)). The evening was made exciting with the knots and lashing session followed by ‘Barbecue’. The day ended with dinner followed by campfire and sentry duty assignment.

Diyanat the original Outdoor leader conducting a workshop

We had 2 doctors telling us about basic first aid in outdoors

Finally Time to get some rest in our tents

Next morning every body was fresh

Here comes the third and final day: Early in the morning, we were led towards a temple atop the hillocks for a sunrise hike. The hike was certainly worth cherishing for most of us. Why was that so? Be-cause, it had the most powerful element of all – “Silence”. The session consisted of exercises that help to build inner peace and clarity of mind. While the sun planned to hide under the clouds, we proceeded for bird watching.

Trust is the basic building block of any team: Trusting your team  member with eyes close

After the end of the bird watching session, we had different tasks to work on (namely- the balloon task and river crossing task) where everyone had put their game face on. The tasks clearly exemplified that leadership skills include working as a group towards a common goal either be it protecting one’s balloons (figuratively our egos in the first task) or one’s life  (figuratively our common interests in the second task). The next session had a simple but revolutionary exercise which was about trusting the leader and as a leader, keeping up to the trust of one’s own group. In the exercise all the members of the group are blindfolded and are lead by their leader. By then everyone could take in the feeling of the unique leadership that was aimed to develop among us. In the second half of the day we were briefed on accounting and steps on how to organize a trip etc followed by the vision, mission and rules of the club.
The 3-day program apart from building new and strong networks between the members created a lasting impression of leadership development for the new ‘Organizers aka Leaders’.
At the end of the day all of us bid farewell with a promise we made with ourselves to bring on the Vagabond in us, to bring out the Outdoor Leader in us! 

Check  here about an earlier OLP 

About the Author:
AkhilA Manne is an outdoor enthusiast and an Inquisitor, she is a trainee organizer with GHAC and attended the 9th Outdoor Leadership Workshop recently.

Introducing - CELOL - Centre for Experiential Learning and Outdoor Leadership

Dear Members

Its close to 6 years since we started the GHAC journey and I am very glad that GHAC was able to bring about a change in Hyderabad by providing avenues and various options for adventure seekers thereby
contributing towards a fit, healthy and active lifestyle for many of our members in Hyderabad.

My current focus is to convert the learning's, experience and network towards helping build professional skills in Adventure, Outdoor Leadership and Experiential Training. With this Vision in mind I am
launching "CELOL" - Centre for Experiential Learning and Outdoor Leadership"

The Outdoor Leadership Track will focus on helping participants acquire professional technical skills, certifications and experience in adventure and outdoor leadership.

The Experiential Learning Track will help existing trainers or aspiring trainers to learn and incorporate experiential learning methodologies in their trainings.

Both the tracks will be mentored and managed by a team of trained,experienced and seasoned professionals and advisers in adventure and experiential learning.

The Mission of CELOL - Centre for Outdoor Leadership is

1. To Develop Exceptional Outdoor Leaders and Adventure Professionals who can analyze, plan, implement, administer and supervise safe outdoor and adventure events.

2. To Provide Hands on Guidance and Training in Adventure, Outdoor Leadership Skills, Safe and Sustainable adventure as per the latest industry trends.

3. To Develop a Eco-System in Adventure, Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel and Sustainable Tourism

4. To Provide guidance to acquire certifications and employment in Adventure and Outdoor Leadership.

If you are interested in Outdoor leadership either part time or full time you can sign up at

The Mission of CELOL - Centre for Experiential Learning is

1. To Promote Experiential Learning and familiarize members to experiential learning methodologies.

2. Equip members with leadership skills and provide experiential learning opportunities where they can learn to use these skills in the various training programs.

3. Facilitate networking to build a community of Experiential learning Trainers who can share best practices and expertise among each other.

4. Build and Support a Eco-System for supporting and nurturing experiential learning both in the indoors and Outdoors.

If you are interested in incorporating experiential learning in your trainings you can sign up at

CELOL is both for the serious professional and for those aspiring tomake a career in adventure, outdoors or experiential training.

Be part of this new initiative and support it to become another success story.


Diyanat Ali
Founder, GHAC |
Founder, OUTLIFE |