The Telegraph
Saturday , June 28 , 2014
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TSAF activities get American zing
- Adventure outfit introduces self-awareness session & ethics of US centre in its monsoon stint

Call it the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation’s American connection.

The premier Jamshedpur-based adventure outfit will incorporate some of the activities picked up by two of its men during their recent stints at National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in the US into its curriculum.

These include organising self-awareness leadership session and imparting the ethics of Leave No Trace — a centre in the US that teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly — as a part of its programme conducted on the outskirts of the city.

The twin activities have been initiated by TSAF manager Hemant Gupta and senior instructor Sandeep Tolia, who spent three months at NOLS. Both returned to the steel city earlier this month.

In fact, the new lessons have already been made part of the ongoing monsoon outdoor leadership course that kicked off from June 21 at Tumung and Dimna Lake.

“Self awareness leadership session involves telling the participants about their strength and weaknesses. It is an outdoor interactive session where participants in batches of four are briefed about leadership,” said Gupta.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the 24-year manager added that they had also introduced the principles of Leave No Trace Centre for Outdoor Ethics that are accepted across the globe.

Leave No Trace is built on seven principles: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimise campfire impacts, respect wildlife and be considerate to other visitors.

The adventure outfit’s local outdoor leadership programme at Tumung, about 25km from the steel city, includes Tarzan swing, abseiling, rock climbing, caving and other fun games. Adventure activities like rafting and raft-making are earmarked for Dimna.

“The TSAF always wanted to increase its sphere of activity. Our mentor Bachendri Pal is keen to make TSAF a happening classroom. We have started with two new activities and will soon add more under her guidance,” said Gupta, adding that they were redesigning the outdoor leadership course in the Himalayas this winter.

Chief of Tata Steel adventure programmes Bachendri Pal, who has herself undergone the NOLS course held in India years ago, said she was serious about adding a zing to the foundation’s adventure activities. “I am looking forward to making TSAF a demanding classroom, where people can learn outdoor living. I also want more women to get involved in the stints,” said the legendary climber.

Shanta Pal, an employee of Tata Steel who was part of TSAF’s monsoon programme last year, said introducing new events was a positive sign. “It shows how serious the TSAF is about teaching different things to participants. It is a good step and I hope more new events will be included in the days to come,” said the 40-year-old adventure junkie.

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