Sharing My Life-Changing Outdoor Experience

My smile when I got to talk to new people

On the 22nd of November, 2019, I had one of my greatest sharation (presentation event) ever in Liger which I presented about the impact that Outdoor Leadership Program brings to Cambodian youths and to me. The most joyful part was meeting many older students, seeing their smiles, and hearing that they were inspired by the project I was presenting.

Presenting to Inspiring and Supportive teachers from India

Besides the student, I coincidentally met an outdoor trainer which I easily made connections with due to our experience and perspective in the outdoor field. He shared his outdoor experiences in many beautiful landscapes in different countries he went to. His lessons learned from his trekking leadership with many participants he lead helps our program to be better. In addition, I was able to inspire an IT that only works with technology and entrepreneurship to start going outdoors, and take some moments to change the perspectives from technology to nature. 

Sharing my stories and experiences

 “Do you think Humanity is being consumed by technology?”, “What do you think about how our nature is being threatened?” and “Do you think humans are being disconnected from their true homes?” These are the questions I asked audiences to hear from their perspective and get them to open up. I was amazed to see so many great responses and discussions out of the several questions we asked them. 

Asking students questions and challenge them to think

Then, I started telling them the journey of our project:

“It starts from the great success and impact we saw from Liger students, and we thought: Why don’t we begin to spread this success and experience to other students? In my last 14 weeks, I worked in this project that aims to bring the wonderful and life-changing outdoor experiences to students. We carried out two workshops; one in Kampong Cham Province and another one in Happy Chandara which is an all girl school. It was a perfect opportunity for us to empower those women who always fight through this stereotypical society.

My group of female participants in Happy Chandara Workshop which we introduced a new perspective of leadership to
The Whole Excited Crew!

I am sure they are familiar with the concept of “Girls are housewives and indoor workers rather than explorers in the outdoors.” We wanted to fight that stigma together by introducing these girls to our program. After the workshop, they were all enthusiastic to go to the trekking right away. Their smiles, responses to our questions, discussions with each other and especially their spread of ideas with their peers proved our project was making real impacts. We watched them have fun, learn and grow together in just an afternoon of our pre-workshop. I can’t imagine what change it can bring to them after the whole program.” 

“I want to have the workshop and go out trekking, too!” One of the girls from GreenLand said full of energy. I replied telling her that we are going to collaborate with her school, too. She was happy, and I was even more excited to work with them already. I continued with the stories from my most life changing outdoor trip ever that I had just a few days earlier: 

“Wow, I do not know where to begin this great adventure story of mine. It was my absolute most challenging and most outside-of-my-comfort-zone experience which I discovered the true strength of teamwork and the power of determination.

My Girl Team!
The Start of the Adventurous Journey

It leads me to overcoming my fears, walking through obstacles and fighting through the hardest challenges, taking real risks and responsibilities and especially to think and see beyond. It proved the saying: Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I can tell you it’s most true when it comes to outdoor.

The great exhaustion, 

the short breaths and pounding hearts, 

the muscle ache, ankle twist, blisters, blood, sweat and tears,

were the only light to self-improvement and growth. 

It leads us to the greatest sceneries, 

Of mountains and valleys,

Of singing birds in their paradise, 

Of  wild animals living in their true homes,

Of families of bees, that chase and stinks us,

Of gnarly bushes of trees that reach out to us,

As we trek, sang, and explore,

Discovering new wonders as we go. ” 

Outdoor Leadership is not just a typical trip; rather a personal experience, an exploration, a discovery that will forever capture our fascination in the deepest part of your soul.

Youth Outdoor Leadership Program

Deep in the woods. Lost in the wild. Found my soul

Lifestyles in the city are full of modern technologies and convenience which tend to slowly take humanity away from their true home, nature. After years of growing up in the city, I did not have a lot of time to spend in the wild beauty of nature and get a chance to actually appreciate how special and wonderful it is. Luckily, I got to have a full experience in the wilderness during an exploration called Outdoor Leadership. That is when Nature became a big inspiration for me and I wanted to share that inspiration to other youths in Cambodia. 

Youth Outdoor Leadership Program is an exploration that gives me a chance to use my wonderful experiences and lessons I got from my time in nature to inspire other students in my country. The mission of this project is to empower Cambodian youth to be outdoor leaders and environmental stewards by introducing them to natural spaces, raising awareness of conservation threats, and nurturing the passion and skills needed to positively impact their communities. 

To complete this mission, we have came up with specific goals that we want the youths to experience. 

First of all, we would love to give them a chance to explore the outdoor nature of Cambodia and learn about the wonderful wilderness we have. This will be an experiential outdoor program because the students are going to trek, camp, observe nature and practice a lot of skills in the wild. 

In order to prepare them for the trips, we are going to run four main workshops with them that focuses on different skills including: leadership and community building, medical and risk management, nature appreciation and wilderness skills. By introducing them to these skills, we are hoping to develop their appreciation of nature and the treasures they did not know existed in their own country. 

This round, we focuses mainly on developing the four workshops. The exploration have talked to many outdoor leaders working in different fields and places to strengthen our understanding about outdoor leadership. Through this experience, I can understand deeper about outdoor leadership and how to develop a great workshop. 

Female Outdoor Leadership Team

This Outdoor Leadership Program for Youth is hopeful for creating a huge impact, not only on those youths who are participants, but their community as a whole. Participants who are joining will be encouraged to break down gender stereotypes which always limited girls from doing outdoor activities and sports. The youths will also be encouraged to get outside of their comfort zone and try something that they have never done before. 

To keep the positive impact going, even this program ended, we are going to ask the participants to continue spreading the environmental stewardship to their own community through the Final Impact Project. The participants will create their own projects to share their experiences and awareness to a bigger audience. By doing this, the change will keep going and the hopes of preserving our nature is brighter.