LAHC is an association of leaders of schools with an international focus based on British educational principles. The membership is committed to sharing best practice and providing exciting opportunities for professional development at all levels through a mutually supportive network.
During this year's meeting 30 students from different schools across Latin America were invited to take part in a shared activity, the theme being: “Communication in Leadership – through Outdoor Experience”. The objective of the overall programme was to promote personal growth, the development of leadership skills and teamwork through outdoor educational activities.
The four day activity took place in “Lo Valdes” a mountain resort at the end of the Maipo valley, Chile. The surrounding environment is spectacular with the impressive San Jose volcano, 6000 meters, at the head of the valley.
Four Year 11 students were selected to take part in this fascinating experience, and here is Nicholas' account which he shared at Assembly with all years 9 to 12 students:
"...Without truly knowing what to expect from this trip we headed for Santiago. In our first hours in Chile, we tried to deduce this. But talking, to whom at that time were strangers, we discovered that none of us knew what this was all about. What importance would this adventure have in our lives? What was the true objective of this conference? Did they really expect us to become leaders?
But now, after experiencing and reflecting what happened up in the mountains in “El Cajon del Maipo, Lo Valdes” I am able to understand what this trip was all about. This journey was not about creating leaders, but a lesson to all of us. Teaching us that in order to work in an efficient way we have to think as a team; that we do not have to depend on one person but on the group as a whole, listen to all the ideas everyone has and that one’s own satisfaction does not necessarily mean victory or success for the team. The most amazing fact of this expedition was that we had to figure this out for ourselves by playing different games, surpassing obstacles and understanding the true meaning of leadership.
I had one of the most interesting and enlightening moments in this trip with all of the people involved in the LAHC 2009. Every one of them contributed something special to this trip. I was impressed with “Lo Valdes”, the scenery, the mountains, the beautiful environment we were coexisting with. But what mostly amazed me throughout all the outing was the warmth and good vibes all of the participants demonstrated. We surely had unforgettable moments together, extraordinary moments that bonded us for, pretty much, life. What, less than a week ago, was a group of complete strangers, are now people I really appreciate and feel as friends.
This trip intended to unite Latin America, show us that although coming from different backgrounds we all fight for a same cause, we all enjoy the same activities, and we all love and listen to the same music. It truly taught us to not let cold, frustration, the incapacity of communication among each other and the collision of ideas from different cultures to destroy our dreams. We finally realised that we do not come from different countries but from the same continent, we are all equals. Adolescents trying to make the world take a twisting turn. Building a better place, our better place.
For these reasons I encourage all of the year 10 students to apply for the Latin American Heads Conference next year. I assure and bet that you won’t regret it. It’s a once in a life chance, do not let it pass by.