'Climb as High as you can Dream' - Junior Leaders Nepal 2013 Expedition

JL Nepal 2013
JL Nepal 2013

The four Qualified Junior Leaders (QJL’s) selected for this years JTYAF funded expedition to trek to Everest Base Camp, were Joseph Champion, Christopher Cresswell, Callum Reid and Roderick Mountain.  

They were all members of the Air Cadets Junior Leaders Course XIV and were chosen for this expedition because of the quality of their applications together with an assessment of their performance on the course.  The Air Cadet’s Junior Leaders Course is rightly known as the toughest course available to Air Cadets and once all assessments and training phases have been passed, candidates are allowed to wear a special DZ flash. The QJL’s are faced with a huge challenge during the Nepal Expedition which gives them an exceptional opportunity to develop and improve as leaders in this extremely demanding environment.  This expedition is often a life changing experience as not only do the QJL’s push themselves to the limit both physically and mentally, but they are privileged to be welcomed into the very different culture of life in Nepal.  Callum Reid explains.

The time I spent in Nepal has had a massive impact on my life in many ways.

Firstly the culture was the biggest difference I noticed, the living standards from the UK are vastly different ……as we began our trek from Juri I noticed that the owners of the tea houses were very welcoming and giving towards us all, even though they had just met us……..The porters and guides leave for weeks sometimes months at a time to take part in treks and provide an income for their families and then spend the rest of their time when not trekking at home with their families. It seems that they are happy for what they have rather than wanting expensive possessions.

Secondly, after our flight was cancelled, we began walking from Juri. This added a few more days onto our trek…………. But as we walked in from Juri, those extra 6 days experiencing the non-westernized culture of Nepal and then later reaching the Gokyo lakes made me understand that it wasn’t all about achieving one goal it was about understanding the culture that surrounds it as well.

Chris Cresswell also wrote to the JTYAF with an account of his experience.

The change of scene throughout the trip (from Kathmandu, to trekking, to Pokhara and finally the Chitwan safari) meant we saw the most of Nepal possible in the allocated time….

This opportunity has developed me in so many ways, ways that mean I will be forever grateful. There was one morning during the trek (to Kalapatthar, 5545m) which meant we awoke in the middle of the night to see the sunrise, but being so tired from the previous days trekking I thought to myself is it worth it ‘I am so tired’. Moments later I looked at my wrist and saw the JTYAF band and spurred on by QJL Callum Reid,  I shot out of my warm sleeping bag and got ready……… Well and truly inspired we cracked on as a team and made it to the top well before the sun rose in fact so early that we had to come back down due to the freezing temperatures. This was only one occasion, and quite frankly I have lost count of the many times that I have been pushed to my limit and got through or a team member was there to pick me up – all of which have developed me into the rounded person I am now.

There have been so many life lessons learnt through this past month, I have grown up considerably. I feel far more independent and able to work both on my own and as a team much more than before – life lessons that could not be learnt anywhere else or at any cost.

And for all of this I am truly grateful – the JTYAF will remain the heart of the Junior Leader’s course and in the foreground of everything I do from now.”

A day to day account by Callum Reid gives detailed information about the expedition and the challenges that faced the Nepal Team 2013.  Day to Day accounts CR Callum Reid