Team-Building in the Trees
In December 2015, the new intake of scholarship students and two members of PEPY Empowering Youth staff, Channa and Mealea, took a trip to Jombok Hoas in Preah Vihear Province. Jombok Hoas is an adventure retreat run by ADRA, located in stunning surroundings of dense forest, where visitors have the chance to let their inner adventurer run free. Jombok Hoas is translated as ‘flying through the trees’, and the retreat certainly lives up to its name, with an incredible high ropes course. Over the course of the five days, the students participated in a variety of thrilling activities, such as zip-lining through the trees, abseiling and high-wire walking.
It goes without saying that the activities on offer were extremely fun, but they all had an underlying purpose. Each activity at the retreat focuses on a different skill, such as team building or communication – skills which the students also learn about in the PEPY Empowering Youth Learning Center – and the students were encouraged to work closely together to achieve the group goals. This was a very important objective of the trip: the students did not know each other too well prior to visiting Jombok Hoas, but over the next couple of years at PEPY, they will spend a lot of time together. Therefore, it’s crucial that they feel comfortable with each other and support one another when faced with challenges. At first, many of the students felt nervous and unsure about both the adventure activities and working so closely together as a group, but by the end of the visit, the staff noted how much the students had grown in confidence.
After completing each activity, the students took part in a reflection session, which taught them how to identify problems and lessons which emerged as a result of their experience. In these reflection sessions, the students had the chance to analyze their accomplishments and consider how they could be transferred to their work and home lives.
The students all agreed that the Gibbon Swing was the best activity, and that they had gained a lot of useful skills and knowledge. Sakkra said of the trip: “The best things I have learned about myself are self-confidence, positive thinking, empathy towards my friends, good communication with other people, leadership, trust in myself and other people, bravery, and the courage to face problems”. Another student, Chhin, commented “I know myself better and I am braver than I was before going to Jombok Hoas. I have learned about creativity, teamwork, good communication and helping each other. I attended all the activities and I now know I can really do it”. The trip was considered a great success by participants and facilitators, and both the PEPY staff and students returned to life in Siem Reap with a wealth of new achievements and memories, as well as a greater sense of confidence and self-belief.
Watch the video below to see more highlights of the trip!