High Five – Phase 01

Project HIGH FIVEIt's about moments worth celebrating be it the beginning of a new friendship, be it a moment of epiphany, be it a novel experience, be it new lessons learned or simply be it a moment of joy and laughter!

Project High Five 1.0 was one of the most exhilarating events in the RACUOCFMF calendar year and here is why. It was originally planned to be held in October but due to a change of events in the University calendar, it was rescheduled to the 23rd and 24th of January 2020 proving that there’s a good side to everything that happens! We couldn’t have asked for a more incredible start to a fresh year and a new decade!

This was exactly what High Five 1.0 was all about. For us, as students pursuing Management for our high studies, the significance of outbound training cannot be stressed enough and this itself was one of the driving causes behind the project.

To begin with, Kudos! to the organising committee for managing to raise enough funds along with everyone else’s support to bring down the participation fee to an affordable rate. This undoubtedly provided great Value for Money!

 

DAY 01 – We set off early in the morning together with high spirits all set for High Five! Needless to say, journeying in a bus with fellow Rotaractors is bound to be fun and exciting. The crowd comfortably managed to break the ice even before reaching the destination – The Adventure Base Camp, Kithulgala.

In an instant, we were filled with awe upon seeing the tranquil atmosphere, nestled within the backdrop of a natural setting surrounded by the serene wilderness bordering the banks of the Kelani River.

We were warmly welcomed and taken through the itinerary by our facilitator Mr. Anura Suraweeraarachchi, a friendly and energetic Ex-Navy Officer.

Finally, the much awaited program began with each one of us giving a brief introduction about ourselves and it unexpectedly led each of us to discovering the similarities we shared. This was followed by a game called “Two Truths and One Lie”; a fun ice breaker which revealed somewhat embarrassing traits/moments of each person.

Then we were divided into teams according to our birth month and gender balances was ensured when doing so. The teams were Alpha, Bravo and Charlie and the trio of teams competed in group activities which tested our team chemistry, leadership, competitiveness, cooperation, and coordination.

After lunch, all teams were given a brief lecture on the application of few organizational concepts such as the hierarchy of needs. Inspiration took over the next few minutes of the session as were told the amazing story of how Nelson Mandela united two warring populations to create one nation that was eventually ignited by winning the IRB Rugby World Cup in 1995.

Thereafter, it was time for yet another interesting team activity which basically involved understanding different perceptions and perspectives. We were given the challenge of coming up with reasonable justifications (both supportive and against) for the fictional characters and their actions which were provided to us through a short story.

For a typical undergraduate attending 8.00 a.m to 4.00 p.m weekday lectures, the activities of Day 01 later that evening were quite unusual. There were obstacle courses which required focus, conscious awareness of your surroundings, strict adherence to instructions, and most importantly maintenance of your balance!

The first one was the “Cobweb Odyssey” which definitely stimulated a high level of concentration and unfolded the importance of team work, flexibility and critical decision making skills!

Group synchronization was taken to another level during the “Caterpillar Walk” and it did educate us on the necessity consistency and smooth functioning within a team to achieve a common target.

“Balancing the Tube” was an activity most of us had been exposed to previously in various other outbound sessions. However, doing it again with a new crowd definitely gave us a novel team experience.

Most of the time, in life, distractions could be the difference between success and failure. And imagine adding a dash of ultimate rush to it?

That was what the next game was all about. While the members of one team had to run one after the other and tap the plate with the number assigned to them, other teams deliberately distracted them by shouting. Doesn’t sound that hard? Well it was quite tough as the pressure kept mounting with time flying and surrounded by competitive teams trying to confuse you! It was an excellent way to put our presence of mind and mental strength to test.

The next 2 tasks involved balancing yourself on a rope. In the first one we had to hold a cup full of water in one hand while walking a certain distance with minimum spillage and the second was the “Burma Bridge”.

These two challenges presented us yet another opportunity for confidence building which also highlighted the importance of supporting each other in a team based environment. We realised that words of encouragement and at times even a roar of cheer were essential, especially when performing individual roles as part of a team.  

Afterwards, the daunting yet wonderful day took a twist with the completion of a range of such enthralling activities and that was by having a refreshing river bath together! We took a plunge in to the cool fresh water with no hesitation and the experience was nothing but sublime. By then, such was our heart and mind too with waves of joy and contentment gushing away!

In no time, night had fallen and then came yet another most looked forward to, moments of our itinerary – The Bonfire! Lit up on a rock in the middle of the rushing waters of the Kelani River, surrounded by our stellar vocalists, great music and good food, the night couldn’t have gotten any better.

Day 02 kick-started when we all finally managed to assemble ourselves together to begin the day! In the meantime we realised that while the outbound activities strengthened our bonds, each and every one of us were subconsciously being prepared for the most eagerly awaited challenge of the final day – White Water Rafting!

When the time for it arrived we were super excited! We were taken in jeeps to the starting point and the uphill ride was nothing short of thrilling. This ride was not known by any of us and that’s probably why it made us scream our lungs out as we raced uphill in a truly adventurous style.

After arriving at the point, we were given clear instructions and safety gear as per international standards which were used under trained instructors with years of experience.

It was one adrenaline pumping ride “through the rapids and over the lows’”. As we rafted our way through the fast flowing downhill stream in 8-man boats, our fears married our ceaseless joy! Every time we tried not to topple, we thoroughly enjoyed!

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At the end of all the crazy rapids in the waters, apart from the best ever memories we collected we were left with one important realization. That was the fact that it brought together all the skills and lessons which were taught the previous day including the one on the importance of following instructions “together” while working as one to ensure the final goal is achieved by each and every individual safely.

We further learnt how important it was to be there for our fellow mates in times of need to give him or her that extra boost of confidence to take that leap of faith to reach his/her best especially in risky environments.

 

Finally after yet another fun river bathing session and lunch, it was time to bid farewell and it wasn’t an easy departure for the memories and the gorgeous scenery kept us calling back.

Most importantly, we were made to genuinely feel the impact of individual actions on team performance. Thereby we learnt responsibility through a rather exhausting yet empowering and truly fantastic experience.

Likewise, PHASE 01 of Project HIGH FIVE was wrapped up in style!

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*This was a first-time experience for most participants and as a club we are glad to be able to provide such an experience inculcating valuable life lessons. We remain grateful to the course facilitators who ensured our safety and security for a pleasant experience.

 

Written By:

Rtr. Harith Lokugamage
( Club Member – 2019/20 )

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