Growing Into A Leader with Hante Adventures
This is a guest post from three-time Hante Adventurer Diana Grandas. She ventured with us on Hante Colorado in 2013, Hante John Muir Trail in 2014, and Hante Pacific Northwest in 2015.
“The next leader of the day is… Diana!”
As these words were pronounced and I was passed the map and compass, I became flushed with emotions ranging from anxiety to motivation. From that moment on, I was in charge of my group: a congregation of teenagers in the middle of the Colorado backcountry. We were participants of Hante Adventures, an organization that sends wilderness trips to various locations across the globe. Along with backpacking over sixty miles in three weeks, we were expected to take responsibility for our actions and assume appropriate leadership roles that would benefit the group’s functionality and social dynamic. Although certified wilderness leaders officially led us, each member was challenged with the task of being the leader of the day. In this position, the leader would be in charge of the group as a whole, delegating tasks while at a campsite as well as keeping track of the groups needs during the strenuous day of hiking.
As I accepted the map and compass—the defining marker of the leader of the day—I realized this task would demand the greatest amount of leadership I had ever given. As a quiet and reserved fifteen year old, I had become accustomed to be a follower. While I would not detract from a group, I refrained from actively contributing, frightened my opinions and commands would be deemed as juvenile or ineffective. As Leader of the Day, I was put into a position where my judgment could make the day unbearable or extraordinary. A slow morning could mean a late night, with ravenous group members struggling to boil water for dinner in the dark. Inversely, an extremely intense focus on timing could result in the group feeling extremely rushed throughout the day and unable to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Colorado.
I started the day with an uneasy confidence, hesitant in my delegation and time reminders. To avoid being perceived as “bossy”, I attempted to do all the necessary tasks myself: I got water for the group, took down the bear bags, and helped take down the tents. This proved to not be very effective, and we were late getting out of camp.
Thankfully, we did not have a long day on trail, and it proved to be much easier to ask the group if they needed breaks than tell them to do things. Due to the short mileage, we finished our day with plenty of daylight remaining, and we could afford to take sufficient time setting up our camp and getting dinner started. While I did succeed in taking the group down the trail to the next campsite, I knew I had to refute my tentative nature in order to be an effective leader. I would have to be confident in my commands, motivating in my tone, and be constantly assessing the fine details as well as the big picture of the day.
Over the course of the past summers, I have had the privilege to participate on three Hante Adventures, the final two in California and Washington. Throughout these trips, I have been given ample opportunity to be leader of the day for diverse groups of people in extraordinary settings. From these experiences, I have grown from a passive leader to a person with skills in conducting a group in a strong and direct way. I have realized that being able to delegate tasks with confidence is a positive attribute, and those receiving direction will comply without complaint.
With the leadership skills I have gained from Hante, I am prepared to lead any group to their goal.
Diana Grandas, Hante Adventurer