They say that “adventure is the best way to learn” and the children of P3 couldn’t agree more! Read on to get a glimpse of P3’s three days of non-stop adventure and learning.
Our adventure began on a much-awaited Wednesday (January 22) which saw the children excitedly piling into their buses accompanied with bags, bottles, hats, smiles and all. As we waved goodbye to school and embarked upon our journey, little did we know that the days ahead of us would fly by in such haste making it hard to believe that we’d been away from our world as we know it, for two whole days.
Accompanied by the wonderful Adventure Mantra team, led by the ever-attentive Mr. Monish, and their teachers, the children of P3 travelled to Panchgani and after three fun and food-filled hours, found their way to the Natventure Camp in Bhilar village. Being surrounded by the majestic plateaus of Panchgani and breathing in the fresh, clean country air worked well for their appetites and our children happily devoured their lunch, helping themselves from a thoughtfully planned and sumptuous spread of food and beverages.
Substantially refueled, our adventurers were ready to take on the day. After being given detailed instructions and safety demonstrations, the children were divided into four groups. While two groups took off for the ‘Burma Bridge’ and zip-lining, the other two trudged towards the suspension ladder. All three activities tested the stamina, grit, perseverance and agility of our youngsters and saw many a child conquering their fears and inhibitions and finally emerging victorious, incredibly proud of themselves and their accomplishments.
After a little bit of unpacking and unwinding in their respective tents, the children spent the rest of their evening engaged in a couple of fun team games aimed at strengthening social bonds, having a good time and fostering good old-fashioned play. A well-earned albeit early dinner wrapped up the day for our troopers who soon fell asleep, some from all the excitement, some from the exhaustion but mostly all, with a keen anticipation of what the next day would bring.
The next day, as it turned out, was more action-packed, more thrilling and even more enthralling than the previous one! It started bright and early, right after breakfast, with a trek up a gently-sloping but lofty mountain. Once atop, two groups went off to explore a cave while the rest of the children were shown the ropes, so to speak, of rappelling. Our children, well-harnessed and safely tethered, bravely scampered down the cliff to a ledge a few metres below, from where they shouted out words of guidance and encouragement, cheering their other classmates as they made their way down. The cave exploration was equally thrilling as our children navigated through the narrow spaces and climbed the rocky surfaces of a beautiful cavern. After the children had had a go at both the activities, we made our way back to Camp where a hot, delicious lunch awaited us.
A quick rest later, we walked to the NatSkies Space Camp where we strengthened our understanding of the universe and gained invaluable insights into our current Unit of Inquiry on space exploration. Mr. Vikram Londhe, the COO of NatSkies and an astronomer and a space-scientist of international repute and his team led our explorers through a range of customized experiences which ranged from working in teams to make and launch their own propeller rockets and fixing space-themed jigsaw puzzles to engaging in a chemistry experiment to understand how aviation fuel works, assembling telescopes and sampling dehydrated astro-food. Eager for more, we returned to NatSkies soon after dinner for a lesson under the stars. Mr. Vikram mesmerized us with legends and stories about various constellations and taught us how to locate the North star and other famous star formations in a night sky. A trip to the observatory had us peering through a telescope in stunned silence as we witnessed the beauty and splendor of a batch of newborn stars.
The night drew to a close as the children went to bed, enveloped in the warmth of a glowing bonfire, savouring the sweet taste of roasted marshmallow flavoured triumph, happiness and contentment.
Early next morning, with not a moment to lose, we walked briskly to the strawberry fields and expertly hand-picked the sweetest and juiciest strawberries which made for a perfect accompaniment to the pancakes and Nutella we had for breakfast. Energized and ready to squeeze in a little more excitement, our children headed for the obstacle course which had them constantly exercising their muscles and harnessing their flexibility and sense of balance. Then it was time to get back to our tents, to wash up, pack our belongings, to tidy up after ourselves and all too soon, to bid farewell to Camp Natventure.
On our way back, we stopped at Mapro Garden for another mini-adventure. This time around we exercised our Math skills as we set about shopping for goodies to take home from the Mapro shop, engaging in rapid mental calculation in order to manage our money effectively. Adventure Mantra had yet another treat in store for us; a delectable lunch of mouth- watering margherita pizza, French fries and grilled sandwiches. And if that wasn’t all, Mr. Vora, a school parent and the owner of Mapro, very generously, ordered a round of strawberry and chocolate ice-creams on the house! Thank you for your kindness and hospitality, Mr. and Mrs. Vora!
Finally, carrying their precious cargo of happy, sleepy children along with all their bounties from the trip (numerous boxes of strawberries, thoughtfully-selected Mapro products for their families, gifts from Adventure Mantra and certificates from NatSkies, and most importantly, many unforgettable memories) our school buses carefully made their way back home.
We are thankful to Mr. Monish and his amazing team of people at Adventure Mantra for their meticulous care and tremendous patience with our children (and teachers) and for all the effort and thought that went into organizing this safe and fun-filled adventure. A warm ‘thank you’ also to all those members of our school community who contributed their support and helped to make this trip happen.
It was an extraordinary adventure, perfect in every way. But, hey! Don’t take our word for it- here’s what the children have to say:
Riva: “This field trip was really fun! It was the first time I did an obstacle course. The ‘tarzan leap’ was quite challenging. I had to hold a rope and swing across a ditch. I was scared but I held on tight and jumped with all my strength. I felt so proud of myself because it was a hard task for me but I did not give up!”
Aryan: “I loved so many things about this field trip, but the most fun was rappelling down a cliff! I was quite scared at first, I was scared about the rope snapping, about me falling. But then I realized that I was well-harnessed and tied safely with many ropes. When I went down the mountain, I was so happy and I felt confident enough to do it all over again!”
Rhea: “The best part of the field trip for me was when we did the Burma Bridge and the zip-lining. At first, I was scared since the bridge was shaky. But then I got used to it and it became easy. I saw that my friend was scared of the zip-line and so she asked me to go first. I was scared too but I zip-lined first for my friend so she wouldn’t feel scared. When I went down, it wasn’t scary at all and then waited for my friend to come down. I was proud and happy because I had been a risk-taker and also because I had helped my friend.”
Anaya: “My favourite part of the trip was the cave exploration. I really wanted to see the inside of a cave and find out about the animals that live there. I experienced a lot of climbing, narrow paths and challenging places. But I thought to myself that if others could do it, so can I! As soon as I got out of the cave, I felt so relieved that I was away from those hairy caterpillars!”
Oceane: “I loved the obstacle course because there were some challenges like the ‘swinging catwalk’ and the commando rope bridge. The rope was moving a lot but I felt safe thinking that it was made for us and we would be okay. After completing the obstacle course, I felt so proud of myself because I finished everything bravely!”
Reyansh: “I enjoyed the field trip! The best part was the Burma Bridge. I had to walk on one single rope! It was quite challenging to walk on one single rope instead of a steady platform. There were times when I almost fell but I held on, tightly, to the rope. When I reached the other side of the bridge, I felt relief, but I was also excited for the next activity- the zip-line!
Shreash: “In Panchgani, I had so much fun with my friends! We tried many new things such as the Burma Bridge, cave exploration and rappelling. Sometimes I got dirty and sometimes I even got hurt but I always enjoyed myself because I was with my friends. This has been my favourite field trip. It was two nights and three days long with many breaks where we could do anything we wanted including playing soccer!”
Here’s to more such adventures!