From the 17th to the 19th July, our grade 5s were away for three days at the Nanbeihu Scenic Resort in Zhejiang Province. Having been on this same trip the year before, Mr. Aydon and Mrs Moberly both knew what a wonderful place Nanbeihu is and the fantastic experience the pupils had waiting in store for them.
Nanbeihu is a vast lake surrounded on all sides by picturesque mountains. Most tourists usually visit the lake to amble peacefully around its shores taking photos, but thanks to the outdoor activities company, Indier, who ran this trip for us, our grade 5s were in for quite a different sort of experience!
Indier is China’s leading provider of these sorts of outdoor activities trips. The trips are hands on and full to the brim with various outdoor pursuits. Indier’s itineraries are tailor made according to the pupils taking part and are run by highly specialist staff with a wealth of experience in delivering this sort of outdoor experience to school children.
After leaving school on time (at around 9.15am) on Monday morning and with snack boxes in hand, the children managed to contain their excitement for the three-hour bus journey down to Nanbeihu, arriving at the resort just in time to be welcomed into lunch by the Indier staff at the hotel we were due to stay in the first night. The sixty-seven pupils had already been divided into six groups, each group with an even gender split and a mix of pupils from the three grade five classes. Our groups were: Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Monkeys, Giraffes, Snakes. Each of the groups was led by one of the Indier representatives and supported by one of our own teachers from WAIS. Mr. Aydon felt very privileged to be assigned to the Giraffes!
Over the course of the trip, each of the six groups were able to experience each of the six different activities Indier had organized, these were: orienteering, catapult-building, hiking, raft-building, kayaking, and the one which perhaps caused the most excitement, the “broken bridge”/”leap of faith” high ropes activities.
Having had a good night’s sleep after a tiring first afternoon, the pupils continued through the second day (with a sandwich break at lunch time) and in the evening camped outside in the rain. The weather however did not dampen the pupils’ spirits as they got their makeshift rooms ready and in small groups prepared their own dinner out in the open, using a gas stove to cook up a hearty batch of spaghetti in a vegetable-tomato sauce.
After doing battle with the mosquitoes all night, we awoke on the third day to our last breakfast (once again back at the hotel) and had a last half-day doing activities. After our parting lunch, we said our good-byes and a big thank-you to the Indier staff and boarded the buses back to school.
We hope the pupils enjoyed the trip. As teachers we were very proud of how for the most part there was very little moaning about the comparative lack of home comforts. At WAIS we believe in the character-building opportunities these trips afford and see them as highly valuable preparation for the Duke of Edinburgh International Award trips that the pupils will embark on in secondary school.