This afternoon we got back from the overnight shakedown trek. This was my first real hike and my first one with a 40+ pound backpack. Surprisingly, I did quite well during the hike and created a system to tell the person behind me about any obstacles I encountered. The hardest part for me was the cooking. While I have done some cooking at home, this is the first time I have done this in the backcountry. I plan to work further with the guides and with my group to improve this area. That being said, I took my first step this morning at 5:00 AM to make coffee for the team with G. I am witnessing the group become stronger and more focused; I am very much looking forward to the long trek in the next few days.
I learned that in areas where I am not experienced, servant leadership is the best course of action. In a learning environment where I have so much to learn, putting myself in all areas in which I am needed will fast-track my progress and help everyone in the group. If I need to carry the extra weight, lead the group from the back, or recommend breaks, I will happily do it. I believe this form of leadership on the trek will allow me to one day become a transformational leader. This will require a lot of practice and reflection, but servant leadership will set me on the right path.
My teammates did very well on the trek, things were not perfect, but that was the point of this shakedown hike. We needed this trek to pinpoint what went right (our focus to help one another) and what we needed to improve (our communication). Without the shakedown hike, we would be going into the trek blind and would be unable to make necessary changes as effectively. As a group, we now have a baseline for what went right and what did not. Everyone helped each other at camp. Those who needed help cooking were helped, those who needed help setting up the tent were helped, and those who forgot gear were given temporary gear.
Personally, I offered leadership on the shakedown hike by providing guidance and support to all of my group members. When I was needed, I would happily step in and try my best. While I was unsuccessful at times, I never gave up and will continue to keep working hard. I hope to improve my duties as we continue during the trek, and I look forward to sharing my experience after I finish.