Globally accessible conference
Samworth Church Academy, Nottingham, UK
Day 1: Samworth Church Academy
Excited but exhausted after their long journey from India to Manchester via Dubai, a group of 10 students reached Samworth Church Academy in Nottingham. The first thing they did was eat a delicious lunch with a wide variety of desserts, in order to get ready for the activity filled day looming ahead of them.
Five days of bonding began with the group of 150 student delegates and 25 teachers with five simple icebreakers. These included games where teamwork was the key and plenty of giggles could be heard.
Slowly getting to know other people, they took a tour of the school. The children were divided into groups that explored different parts of the school - the large playground, the P.E. department, the gym, the dance and drama rooms, the art rooms, the computer lab and many others. They then went to the art and craft room where they learned origami and made cranes which would later be displayed as an instillation in the school. The next thing on the agenda was a team game that combined rounder’s, baseball and tennis, which was enjoyed by each and every person. As firm friendships blossomed, they made their way to the auditorium for the Opening Ceremony. Welcome by the Principal of Samworth Church Academy was followed by stunning performances by the Samworth students which included dance, singing, gymnastics and drama. The Flag ceremony displayed the variety of schools from a myriad of countries attending the conference.
Introduction of the Conference by the Head girl and Head boy was followed by an inspirational speech from Keynote speaker Jamie Andrew, a mountaineer and an amputee. His words encouraged the delegates to define "Adventure Awaits" - the theme of the Conference, in their own way, no matter how small or large the adventure may be. The day ended with hot chocolate and cookies - a perfect end to a perfect day.
Day 2: Chatsworth
On the second day they visited The Chatsworth House, which has 126 rooms and they all seemed to have a medieval theme. The house is well adapted to allow the family to live privately in their apartments with nearly 100 rooms closed to visitors, while the house is open to the public. The current Duke and Duchess live there. There were paintings of this period in time and the architecture also seemed to show medieval influence. As the current Duchess loved dogs, there were countless artefacts and paintings based on them. One piece that particularly interested them was a centrepiece made of solid gold. It belonged to Queen Victoria herself and Queen Elizabeth had lent it to the Duke and Duchess for their exhibition. It had Queen Victoria’s four dogs carved on it and a throne on the top. They also had some unusual but extraordinary items like the tusk of a narwhal and a painting of a violin that was so realistic it almost seemed as if there was a violin hanging on a door. After an exquisite tour they went to the Chatsworth House gardens. There were massive fountains and large fields. Eating ice- cream while walking around the gardens was extremely calming and relaxing. This was truly a delightful experience. As soon as they finished their tour they were taken to the camp grounds.
Day3: Bushcraft Adventure Begins Archery, tomahawks and team building skills:
One of the most exciting endeavours that the students of DAIS undertook during this trip was to learn the skill of archery and throwing tomahawks. First, they had learned the skill of archery. To take a shot, they were told to stand facing right and hold the bow in their non-dominant hand. They were then instructed to place the arrow into the small hole in the center of the bow, which is called an arrow rest. The arrow also had an odd colored feather at its end, which had to be facing up. The final instruction was to attach the arrow’s string to the nock on the bow, pull the string back to the chin, and then release the arrow.
Next, they learned how to throw tomahawks, which are a type of axe. The delegates had to attempt to penetrate a thick log of wood by throwing the tomahawk. All they had to do was to aim properly and make sure that they got the tomahawk to get stuck in the log of wood. Lastly, they did two activities which were centred on team-building. In one of the activities, they had to fill water from one bucket into the other, using pipes with holes in them. They had to cover the holes in the pipes, and connect them to form a long pipe which could be used to transport water from one bucket to the other.
They also participated in an obstacle course, in which one person was blindfolded and he/she had to follow a rope which led him/her through the obstacle course. Each blindfolded person had a partner to help them throughout the course.
Day 4: Life saving techniques and First Aid
On the second day at Bushcraft camp, they learnt life saving techniques and first aid. They were taught how to safely help a person with a broken arm and leg. They were taught to help an unconscious person called DRSABC, which are a few steps to safely help an unconscious person. They then practiced these techniques on one another. They learnt survival techniques post a plane crash, where adults acted unconscious or hurt and the student delegates had to get them to safety in time. This was a great learning experience which was very helpful to ensure the safety of others.
The camp leaders showed the students how to make a fire. Then they were separated into their own Tribes and made fires with their tribes under the supervision of their tribe leaders. To make use of the fires, they made cookies and baked them over the flame for their evening snack.
To survive in a forest, shelter making is an important skill. The students were split into different tribes in which they made these shelters. These shelters were set up between trees using tarpaulin, paracord and tent pegs. They tied the paracord tightly to both the trees and draped the large tarpaulin upon it. The tarpaulin was secured using more paracord and a few tent pegs. After this basic setup was complete, they gathered leaves, logs, twigs and the like to make walls on either side of the tent. On completing this, they were allowed to customize their shelters and add extra features. That night they were even given the option to sleep in their shelters to test them out. This was a good experience as the students learned how to work together towards a common goal. They helped each other and in the end they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labour together.
Day 5 : Cutting Tools
On the third day at Bushcraft camp, they learned how to make a tent peg out of a stick and how to appropriately use a knife. Whilst using a knife, they learned to sit in a Blood Triangle, sitting upright on their knees and the blood bubble, to wave their hands around to make sure that they wouldn't hurt anybody. They had to hold their knife in their dominant hand and not move that hand. They needed to carve one side to a point, and slightly carve the other one so it wouldn't splinter. Then, 3/4th down the peg’s front (the pointy side), they had to make a slight inward curve so that the rope would stay.
Tribes got talent:
DAIS presented their Cultural programme using Yoga and Bharatnatyam - a form of classical Indian dance, to depict five symbols unique to India – Namaste, Lotus, The Banyan tree, The sound of the Universe and the Peacock.
Day 6: Emergency Bracelet
On the last day of camp, they learned to make bracelets out of paracord, which is a strong rope. They had to attach the single string of paracord to a buckle and make a seemingly complex pattern on it. It was quite a confusing task and most of them couldn't quite get how to do it right. However, the ones who caught on, helped the others make this wonderful memory out of a single string of paracord. The other delegates also helped out, showing the great bonds they had made and their teamwork skills.
Back from Bushcraft camp, they celebrated the end of the Conference at an event hosted by the Samworth Church Academy students for charity. Entry was free, but the food cost from 50p to £1, there were little snacks and drinks to enjoy during the dance. The photographs from the dance were printed out in two forms - a frame and a keychain, each priced at £5. All of the money collected went to charity. There was also a green screen Photo Booth, where delegates could click photos wearing different props and choose backgrounds they like. During the disco, they could see dances from different cultures as the DJ played songs which had originated from different countries. They got a chance to portray their dancing skills in the International Dance Off on the dance floor. They had a blast and were tired and sleepy after the disco.
Day 7 : Activities sessions at Samworth
This was the last day, the day when all the fun they had ended. Everyone was in a rush getting their friends numbers and packing. They thought that they wouldn’t do much, but they were highly mistaken. After breakfast, they were divided school wise for the activities they were going to do. First, they played a game called Bench Ball. They divided their group into two teams 8B and 8C. The aim of the game was to get all the players to the other side of the bench while throwing balls. 8C won many games against 8B and was a much better team. After that they went Rock climbing. Some people got extremely scared but others were extremely good at it. It was extremely fun for all of them and many of them could overcome their fears. The next activity was Archery. Everyone had an amazing time shooting arrows and trying to hit the target. Even though most of them couldn’t do it, they had fun trying. After this activity, it was time to depart from the school. Bidding their final goodbyes, they started on their return journey back to Mumbai.
Highlights of the Samworth Conference:
The food at the camp was really good and it was one of the many reasons they really enjoyed the camp.
For breakfast they had pancakes, porridge, sausages and bread, baked beans and a whole lot more. The meals in the morning were nutritious and gave them an energy boost early in the morning.
Lunch was a meal that they had in between activities. they would play some games and then have lunch and move on to doing other activities. The lunch they were given was scrumptious and included dishes such as pizzas, veg curry, beef and vegetable fajitas etc.
They had dinner at about six ‘o’ clock. It was an early dinner and would often be before their final few activities. It was the last meal of the day and included meals like pasta Bolognese, lamb stew, ponassed salmon etc.
“For me, the theme of this conference - 'Adventure Awaits', didn't just mean outdoor activities, but also simply stepping outside my comfort zone, making new friends from different diverse cultures, and making memories to last a lifetime.” – Hrishita Shah PRE 8B
“I think that this experience was a very educational one and I am thankful I had the chance to take part in it. It taught me to be more responsible and manage myself with minimum help and it really made me realise how easy life is for us. We also learned many other survival skills that will help us in tough situations. In all, this was an experience I will never forget. “ – Ami Mehta PRE 8C
“The trip was an entirely different experience for me and I’ve never experienced anything like it before. This strengthened the bond between the ten of us as well as helped us develop our social skills and make new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. One of the most enjoyable things was figuring out how to break the language barrier and find a midpoint between two languages. This trip was one of the best experiences of my life and I would do it all over again if I could, and wouldn’t want to change a thing about it.” – Nysa Agrawal PRE 8C
“It was an amazing experience and we learnt so much from it. According to me, the best part was making friends. We have memories we will never forget.” – Aritra Mallik PRE 8C
This conference was very different from what I have heard about Round Square Conference. Here we had “to step out of our comfort zones, step into a new environment and encounter new experiences.” – Siddharth Roncon PRE 8C
“In this trip to Samworth Church Academy, I learnt many skills that were primarily centred around Bushcraft and stepping outside of my comfort zone. I learnt how to live the tough live in the forest, and survive in situations where you are alone. In this trip the most important things I learnt were team-building skills, archery, socializing with people even though they were from foreign countries, and making fires and traps which are very important for survival in the forest. Had I not gone for this Conference, I would probably have never learnt any of these in my entire life.” – Yashraj Vishwakarma PRE 8B
“Since this was my first camp, I was scared and excited for it at the same time. But when I went there I realised that stepping out of your comfort zones can really pay off.” – Durga Chatterji PRE 8 B
“This trip did not only help us make new friends but also taught a vital skill to survive. It taught us how we can use nature to our advantage and at the same time respect it for letting us use its wonderful resources.” – Sparsh Bohra PRE 8 B
“The trip was a learning experience for all of us. We learned how to survive in the wild and take care of ourselves as well. But the highlight of all this was the new friends we made. They were amazing people and they even taught us a bit about their culture. We had memories and experiences that will remain with us forever.” – Rhea Kothari PRE 8B
PRE 8 B: Sparsh Bohra, Hrishita Shah, DurgaChatterji, Rhea Kothari and Yashraj Vishwakarma
PRE 8 C: Nysa Agrawal, Aritra Mallik, Siddharth Roncon, Ami Mehta and Amaan Singh
Teacher Delegates: Manisha Nanda & Pratima Shridhar