In July 2011 a group of ten pupils, and one teacher, from Newbattle Community High School embarked on the ultimate school trip. They went on an expedition to Costa Rica in Central America and were joined through an expert expedition leader from the company Outlook Expeditions.
Their story is told in Miss Henry's blog here, and you can also see their photo gallery:
Here is their original mission statement from before they left:
For three weeks we will push ourselves to the limit-both physically and mentally- as we take on huge physical challenges climbing Cerro Chirripo (3820m) and working with a developing community on local building projects and volunteering with local children’s projects. The project we intend to work with is called La Flor and the specific details of our work there will be confirmed nearer the time as it will depend what is done between now and then. We have been told prepared to build and look forward to working with families and young children in the local area!
We will also embark on a beach trek. Contrary to a leisurely stroll along the seaside, this is going to be a strenuous hike along the sand with our rucksacks strapped to our backs and hiking boots on, in humidity of approx 86%.
After 2 and half weeks of hard work and physical challenge, we have timetabled two days for relaxing by the shore.
This expedition is not all about what happens when we are out there. Already the team have learned a lot about planning and team work and fundraising. The 18 months of preparation and training are integral to a successful expedition- both in terms of being fit and knowledgeable as well as team dynamic.
Our team are excited and impatient to get to Costa Rica but they are also committed to the huge task of raising the necessary funds to get them there. The team have Bag Packed at Tesco in Dalkeith and Straiton Sainsbury’s. We have had a coffee morning, sold quizzes, had a race night and beetle drive, and some of the pupils are running 10k races and half marathons. In the next few weeks we are having a bake sale at our school In-service day and plan to do a bit of car washing for the teachers! We also intend to do a sponsored abseil next year and at the end of this summer term would like to hold a music festival one evening for pupils and friends of the school. There is a Ceilidh lined up for sometime between now and summer too. Some of these are organised by the pupils themselves, some are organised by parents and/or the school. As 4th and 5th years have really important exams in the next few weeks we are trying to make any fundraising as easy and uncomplicated as possible for the team.
The intention is that this expedition is something wonderful that the team can take responsibility and credit for. They have chosen their own itinerary through discussion and compromise with each other. This was a super team building exercise in itself! They will each be given the role of leading the team when in country and will be trained in use of GPS navigation systems, first aid procedures, risk assessment et al in the months prior to departure. They are responsible for the management of their own budget when in country and the two adult expedition leaders are there primarily as overseers - making sure everyone is safe and emotionally well, and allowing the team to work together to get from A to B, feed themselves and set up camp as independently as possible.
The expedition is a Curriculum for Excellence dream come true and aims to develop these teenagers to become well rounded, confident and successful adult members of our community.
As the teacher who launched the expedition in school I dealt with their application essays and references and was moved by how many of these young people wanted this trip to improve their self confidence and broaden their world view. This is a team of teenagers who are doing something great and who want to make themselves better people- some are shy, some are forward, some are fit, some need to get in shape, some are scared about parts, and some are just really eager to get there. They are a diverse group and did not all know each other before the team was formed. This is a group of young people in the process of building relationships and trying to set themselves up as best they can for their future after school.
(Acting) PT Guidance
Newbattle Community High School