NTU Leadership Development Program Challenged Mt. Nanhu and trained leadership

By Chang, Wei-Chien, LDP Cycle 3, junior, Dept. of Law
The Leadership Development Program challenged mountains once again bravely.

During the summer vacation this year, from 12th to 21st of July, the teachers and the LDP cycle 3 students began the “Team Learning and Outdoor leadership” course. Lead by Prof. Shi-Wei Chu, the team members not only consisted of program students, but also other interested students. Considering the safety issues experienced by former trip to Mt. Himalaya, the challenge of this year was heading off Mt. Nanhu (3,742m.) in Taiwan. Though the height of Mt. Nanhu couldn’t be comparable with Mt.Himalaya, the difficulty of climbing is nothing less. The students had to carry nearly 20 kg stuff each. It’s also important to be well-prepared. Students had to share life perspectives with each other. In addition to the difficult landscape, the students also had to deal with the interactions within the team. Each experience was rewarding to all of the students.

Conquer inner obstacles and facing challenges 

The teaching policy of the Leadership Development Program is not only to develop students’ skills but also the inner integrity. The program has always insisted that students should cross their comfort zones. For the students of the program, it was their first time to climb one of the 100 peaks of Taiwan, and all felt the fear and uncertainty. They underwent the physical training, including running designated mileage and completing basic 2-days mountain climbing training to Yi-lan Jia-lo Lake. The training encountered pouring rain, and the camp was humid and full of insects. After one difficult landscape after another, the students all realized that “Mountains will always be awed but never conquered.”

The mountains not only taught the students to keep respect for things, but also to view the beauty of nature with a pure heart. During the mountain climbing period, the weather was unstable and rained continually. The students felt very uncomfortable, but when the rain stopped and the golden sunshine poured through the treetops, the holy scene moved everyone. Beautiful moments last forever,the students said “With such scene in front of our eyes, no matter how long it rains, all the difficulties are worth while.”

Everything has its meaning. Prof. Chu kept using humorous words to cheer the spirits of the team. On suitable occasions, he led everyone to calm and educated the students to think from a higher level and not to be trapped by trivialities.

Think about everything from a higher level 

 When people interactions take place higher in the mountains, the relationship between them becomes more real. The students can feel each other’s breath and heartbeat within the process. The course designed a “buddy system” to group the students in twos or threes and take care of each other. Because the course was led under the “buddy system,” the students had to care for and understand each other even better in order to make correct choices and decisions.

The students made most of the decisions during the course. The assistants only gave supports when needed. There was an incident which all the students remembered clearly. One day at an intersection, some students thought it was still early and came up with the idea to achieve the summit earlier. They strongly suggested to go for the main peak and forgot to ask the weaker students whether they could manage or not. This led to a series of discussion and the schedules were nearly altered. It was not until the assistants reminded them to keep an eye on other people’s situation, did the students realize the seriousness of the matter.

Taking the case as example, the students realized from such decision making process that mountain climbing isn’t just about the minority but about every team member and even everyone’s life. When trying to reach the goal, we must never forget our partners. What’s more, the students came to understand that how a question is placed will greatly affect the answer. For example, students who felt physically ill, often find it’s hard to express their needs. The devil is in the details. The students were reminded not to neglect the importance of every single word.

A bag full of rewards

 When descending, students noticed the memorial stone recording the names of people who died in an accident. These reminded us always to be aware. All the students were grateful that they could return safely and blessed by the mountain gods. During the ten days and nine nights, each student was responsible for a course topic. They had to prepare what they had learned and shared with others. This was also a nice chance to practice self-expressive abilities. The students learned to communicate with themselves and to think about the meaning of life during the course of being alone.

Just as Prof. Chu had instructed, the mountain climbing process would not make someone change to a completely different person, but it provided an opportunity to make oneself become better. They’ve done something with overcoming many difficulties during the process. As long as people insisted, they would see the sunshine and hope. Each cloud has a silver lining. Be patient enough, we will see the fruits of our efforts.

All teachers and students of NTU Leadership Development Program “Team Learning and Outdoor Leadership” course” successfully conquered Mt. Nanhu.