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UWC Outdoor Leaders Retreat

UWC Outdoor Leaders Retreat
Rob Carmichael, UWC Thailand Director of Outdoor Experiential Education

Collaboration across the Movement

In September 2023, UWC Thailand played a pivotal role in hosting the UWC Outdoor Leaders Retreat, an event designed to unite outdoor education leaders from various UWC schools across Asia. This retreat aimed to facilitate the exchange of experiences, collaborative learning, and the enhancement of leadership skills in the realm of outdoor education. It was attended by delegates from UWC SEA, UWC Li Po Chun, UWC Changshu China, and UWC ISAK Japan.

The event was a resounding success, exemplifying the power of collaboration within the UWC network. The retreat commenced with participants' arrivals and a warm welcome at the UWC Thailand campus. The first workshop session of the retreat focused on sharing outdoor education approaches and programmes from each participant's school. This exchange allowed attendees to engage in collective problem-solving and innovative thinking. It was followed by a short hike and river walk in the local National Park.

On the second day, participants arrived at the Outdoor Education Centre, where the retreat's learning sessions continued.

Attendees discussed topics such as risk management and outdoor leadership strategies, highlighting the importance of established policies and procedures. They also dedicated time to brainstorm potential collaborative projects that could span the UWC network, including expeditions and residential programmes.

The retreat concluded with participants embarking on a sunrise kayak journey through the local mangrove habitat, during which they discussed best practices for outdoor activities in natural environments. Attendees gathered for a reflective session, where they shared their experiences, insights, and lessons learned throughout the retreat.

The UWC Outdoor Leaders Retreat exemplified the UWC network's dedication to collaboration, innovation, and the development of its professionals. Thanks to the dedication of UWC Thailand and the active participation of attendees, the event was a resounding success, reinforcing the UWC community's collective commitment to transformative outdoor education practices.


“Coming from UWC Li Po Chun, Hong Kong where we only have grade 11 and 12 students it was refreshing and inspiring to see such a wide range of students involved in a comprehensive range of activities. The Outdoor Education programme at UWC Thailand really is at the heart of the school and my experience there has really helped me to reflect upon how we can place a greater emphasis upon experiential education in Hong Kong.”

Carl Fowler,

UWC Outdoor Leaders Retreat Coordinator and UWC Li Po Chun representative