Summer Escapades

Summer Escapades

Come summer, and most students heave a sigh of relief. Soon, exams would be over and there would be no more cramming till late nights. After a monotonous and wearisome academic year, they certainly deserve a stress-free summer vacation. But stress-free need not mean laid-back. In fact, summer is a great time to catch up with all those exciting activities that are simply impossible to take up during school time.

One really nice way to unwind during summer vacations is to embark upon an adventure trip by signing up with one of the several adventure camps organised specially for school students. Imagine being away from the sweltering heat of Mumbai in the peak of summer. Imagine yourself skiing away to glory in the snow-capped Himalayas, or navigating through dense forests, crossing rivers and climbing rocky mountains. Imagine spending nights under open skies, on the top of a hill that offers a view to a beautiful alpine lake. This is the groovy stuff adventure camps are made of.

Each year, dozens of students from Thane participate in such camps, thanks to Jidnyasa Trust. For the tenth year in a row, the Thane-based Jidnyasa Trust is organising the Himalayan Adventure Camps, scheduled in the months of April and May 2003. The camps are conducted by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Government of Himachal Pradesh at Manali.

The Adventure Course, as it is called, includes various outdoor adventure activities like Snow & Rock-Climbing, Forest-Navigation, River-Crossing, Rappelling and Zoomering. In the 14-day Basic Skiing Course, campers will learn the techniques of Skiing by professionals from the Mountaineering Institute of Himachal Pradesh.

Surendra Dighe, founder of the not-for-profit Jidnyasa Trust says, "Jidnyasa is all about adventure. Our objective is to help students discover the hidden potential in them. From my experience, I can say with a high degree of conviction that living in the beautiful Himalayas for a couple of weeks away from their folks, imbibes a feeling of self-confidence and a spirit of adventure among the campers. And when they return from the camp, they are really transformed."

It is true that the challenge to undertake a variety of unfamiliar activities not only provides sense of achievement, but also exposes the campers to a more diverse selection of interests. Adventure camps offer a terrific opportunity for these children to experience the real world first hand – away from the protective shield of their parents and teachers. It helps them develop into confident and mature individuals by creating a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. Students learn to be self-motivated and resourceful in organising and planning their activities and also learn to be accountable for their actions throughout the expedition. Noted French critic, essayist, & novelist once wrote, "It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves"

The Himalayan adventure camps are open for students aged between 10 and 15 years. The camps have been specially organised for ‘Jidnyasa’ students by the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Younger students or those who don’t wish to go all the way to the Himalayas need not despair. There are several shorter camps that held closer to Thane. These are typically 3-day camps and offer many adventurous opportunities to campers. Nature trails, star-gazing and trekking are a few of them.

To find out more about these adventure camps, readers may contact Sumita Dighe on 25403857 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. or email jidnyasa@indiatimes.com

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