Prem international School G6 Camp, Doi Inthanon
After many months of meticulous planning, our anticipated camp with Prem Grade 6 had finally arrived. The week was to be spent camping on Thailand’s tallest mountain – Doi Inthanon. The kids in my van were full of excitement, chattering away about what mischief they would get up to. Some of the students were boasting that they wouldn’t feel any cold!
Once we arrived at the camp site, we set up our homes for the week and set foot on our first adventure – to Siriphum Waterfall.
The students were introduced to macro invertebrates and learnt about the local species. We were even lucky enough to have a visitor drop by – a Red Tailed Rat Snake.
As the day was drawing to a close, the reality of sleeping in tents kicked in. We could feel a sense of agitation amongst the children, but soon enough we had a quiet camp.
After a first night of fidgeting, being woken up by the cockerels and being way too cold in the night to run to the toilet, we were all ready for a warm breakfast at Kin Xim. The local restaurant which overlooked a view of the scenic mountains against a crisp blue sky was just what we needed, especially to remind students of the joys of camping. The students were able to kick around a ball in the open field and make new friends with the local dogs.
The day was spent learning about the Royal Project and the students had the chance to find out how the project befitted the local community, by interviewing local people themselves. In the days after, the students got an even more intimate insight into the different ethnic groups of the region, including the Hmong and Karen people. We hiked through the Mae Klang Luang trail with a Karen guide, enjoyed the waterfall, spotted a Pit Viper Snake and were eventually led to a wonderful coffee village. As we sipped our coffee, many of the students expressed their admiration for this community being so self-sufficient, but also being able to live in harmony with their natural environment.
A key component of the camp was to raise awareness and develop attitudes and knowledge about National Parks and the environmental impacts they may have. Students were able to focus on the damaging effects tourism could have on local wildlife. They came up with practical solutions to help lower their own environmental impact in the national park. Picking up litter was something everyone participated in and the campsite was left cleaner than we found it!
By the end of the five days, the students learnt how to be pros at camping. They were equipped with the ultimate survival skills, including: building their own shelters, making their own fires, cooking their own meals and even carving their own spears! As the camp was coming to a close, the students realized that it was very possible that they could be their own self-sufficient community - although the desire to be reunited with families and warm beds was something we all felt more strongly for!
Although we arrived back at Prem with chapped lips, muddy shoes and smelly clothes, we were proud to see how the Grade 6s flourished in their teamwork skills, but more importantly, their ability to be compassionate, understanding, and helpful towards their peers during fun, as well as challenging situations. It was a pleasure to camp with you Grade 6! We will see you again next year!