Wednesday 21 August 2013


Noshir Engineer, Award Leader, The Cathedral & John Connon School talks to our Intern about his journey with IAYP

"IAYP has provided us with memories that will stay with us, growth that will help us in all areas of life, and bonds that will last forever..."

Having recently been honoured with an Outstanding Service Meritorious Recognition for 10 years of service to the Award Programme in India, Noshir Engineer, Award Leader, The Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai talks about his journey with IAYP. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

*Tell us a little about yourself..
"I joined The Cathedral & John Connon School in the year 2000 as a chemistry teacher and in 2004 the responsibility of running the IAYP programme in school was placed on my shoulders. My wife and I have a great passion for trekking and have covered difficult treks like the parikrama of Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar. Both of us love nature and all the elements of God. So I gladly took on this responsibility and have savoured every moment of each camp.

*Tell us about the working of the Award in your school...
Our school has four clubs and IAYP is one of them. All students have to compulsorily join any one club. From the time I took over as Award Leader for running the IAYP Club in our school the club has come a long way. Earlier some camps had to be cancelled due to the lack of children enrolling for them. Now with a strength of 278 students enrolled with the Award, our camps get an overwhelming response. The Cathedral Hiker's Club has also been introduced for students who are under fourteen years of age.  

Our school conducts five camps every year. The first camp is an introductory camp for the new Bronze Level students. Then we conduct two camps that are common for Bronze and Silver Level students, one tough trek only for the Gold Level students and the final summer camp open for all levels. Every camp is meticulously planned up to the most minute detail. All activities at the camps are closely monitored and graded by skilled, dedicated, caring, knowledgeable and responsible instructors and teachers. During each academic year the students are tested on their mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion and these grades are a part of their report cards.

*How has the Award impacted the life of students?
It has always been our earnest endeavour to help the students get away from academic pressure and de-stress. The students can explore the vast expanse of valleys, snow-capped peaks, splendid water falls, magnificent meadows, dense untouched forests, birds, animals and flowers. Trekking through nature is an experience of a life time.

We believe that children who regularly trek, explore and try to understand nature, ultimately turn out to be physically and mentally fit and this helps in enhancing their capabilities. A meaningful wilderness experience that balances challenging adventure and exploration with fun, helps students to boost self-confidence, self-belief and self-discipline. It builds strong bonds of friendship and gives students a newfound independence which lays down the foundation to conquer and challenge their limits beyond all expectations.

*Some highlights of the IAYP club at The Cathedral & John Connon School ....
Last year we conducted our first international camp in the beautiful country of Bhutan. This camp became widely acknowledged as the best camp any of us has ever been for. We saw some breath-taking views and beautiful monasteries. The treks were very challenging and tested all of us physically and mentally. The people of Bhutan were friendly, the streets were spotless, and the camp was extraordinary. Many friendships and long lasting bonds were established, and this was a trip that is never going to be forgotten by any of us.

The Residential Projects at Karjat where students working towards their Gold spend 5 days with the Light of Life Trust, at Jalna where our students worked at the Ganpati Netralaya and at Daang village in Gujarat where our students scrubbed and painted the moss covered walls of the village school, were enriching experiences, where our students visited the local villages and engaged in some impactful social service. 

This club would not be what it is without our teachers who have accompanied us on every camp and the undying encouragement and support of our Vice Principal Mrs. J. Mayadas and our Principal Mrs M. Isaacs.

IAYP has provided us with memories that will stay with us, growth that will help us in all areas of life, and bonds that will last forever. It will always remain close to our hearts. IAYP has become our school's most popular club, having the maximum number of members, the most entertaining and enriching trips and the overall best club experience.

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