KOCHI: The next time you plan a college trip to the hills or the countryside, head to ‘Will on Woods’, an experiential training academy located in the Kotagiri hills.
The academy, started by seven youngsters from Kochi, provides its visitors training workshops, lessons on etiquette and personality development, even as you enjoy nature at its fullest and indulge in outdoor activities.
Co-founder Vaisakh said he and his friends, Paul Nithin, Arun Kurien, Sharat Mohan, Adorn Kuriachan, Nirmal Jose and Jithin Valavath, were inspired to start such an academy after they went on a trip to to Munnar.
“Most of the college trips are for visiting places. However, as part of our excursion, from SCMS College, we got an opportunity to participate in several outdoor activities and workshops. This made us want to provide a similar experience to students -- both school and college, and corporate professionals,” he said.
Through experiential training, the team intends to mix skill learning with outdoor games and fun. “The approach towards workshops is usually not positive. This is why we added skill-learning lessons,” said Vaisakh.
The biggest challenge was to find a place which could be converted into an experiential training academy. The group needed a lot of space so that they could conduct outdoor activities like paintball, archery, cycling, football among others. It was after a lot of searching that they found the nine acres of land at Kotagiri which also housed a bungalow. “We used whatever savings we could source, including loans, to buy the academy, which is currently run on a partnership basis. We have roped in Mahesh Nazare, the brain behind Red Dot training, as the trainer,” said Vaisakh.
Red Dot training is specialised in providing training in leadership skills. “We customise our training workshops, as per the needs of the visitors. For example, if architects arrive, we try to bring experienced people from their field to conduct workshops. It is usually a three-day package,” said Vaisakh.