The structure of the course is divided into five main modules (acumen) which we believe to be the building blocks for success: physical, natural, social, business and technical acumen. In all cases, resident professionals, as well as guest instructors are utilised to offer the young men training which is both practical and current. The candidates will be encouraged in an entrepreneurial approach to their new- found skills, so that practical knowledge can be translated into business- building.
The physical acumen includes physical fitness and health and a variety of adventure sports. Our physical training includes a variety of activities to maintain interest and enjoyment while achieving a very high level of fitness. The fitness program also provides good opportunities for leadership and team work development. Quest boys will reach an exceptionally high level of fitness and will invariably be amazed at what they are able to achieve after some dedicated training.
Physical fitness program - the fitness program includes the following disciplines that are used to build general functional fitness and strength:
- Assault course - daily routine for the basic training phase of the first term
- Gym circuit training - once or twice per week to build strength in the "Goat shed" gym or the open air bars facility.
- Calisthenics - once or twice a week, or daily for students that need to improve fitness and strength
- Trail running and trekking - the fitness program has a foundation of regular running and backpack trekking - group endurance runs and hikes, hill runs and hill sprints, speed play workouts and interval training, weekly time trials
- Swimming and pool training - estuary and sea endurance swims, pool sessions and fitness "games". The pool is also useful for maintaining fitness and building strength with certain injuries
- Core sessions - regular Pilates-type core sessions build strength and flexibility that help prevent injuries and improve overall physical performance
Adventure sports - these activities compliment the fitness program and also allow Questers to develop skills and competence in adventure sports that can become a life long source of enjoyment:
- Kayaking - K1 and K2 paddling proficiency, and also the opportunity to do some sea kayaking and surf-ski paddling
- Rock climbing - adrenaline filled, physically demanding and immensely rewarding - this will always be an important part of the program. Excellent physical exercise and also very useful in developing confidence and courage! We also make use of a climbing wall in the "Goat shed" gym.
- Horse riding - gaining confidence with horses can lead to a life of enjoyment of horse riding. Questers enjoy riding in the Kaba game farm and also working on horses, herding cattle etc.
- Mountain biking - mountain bikes are no longer compulsory at Quest, but many Questers still enjoy developing their fitness and skills in this area, making use of the tracks and gravel roads on the Kaba game farm, and in the broader Woody cape area
- Orienteering - combining map reading skills with physical endurance ability and teamwork. Some Questers have also had the opportunity to compete in this exciting sport that is gaining more popularity
The physical program provides a critical role in the development of character and self belief in the young men. We are confident that Quest will provide the foundation for lifelong habits of fitness and health and also an enjoyment of various adventure sports.
For some of the Natural Acumen training the amount covered in any particular area is interest driven and will depend on the individual's concerned. The "Specialization" options in the Spring term offer students opportunity to focus on areas of particular interest.
Hunters training – rifle training, safety, marksmanship, tracking, species and trophy identification, shooting game, skinning, skin prep, meat prep and cooking.
Guides training - All students will reach reasonable level of competence in bush and wildlife knowledge and will have the opportunity to become more proficient if they choose to specialize in this area in the Spring term. Bush survival training and bush - oriented first aid, the art of camping and plenty of practical experience in the bush.
Marine experience – whale and dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing, sailing, sea-kayaking, surfing and spear-fishing and learning sea-food cooking. A Wild Coast expedition will be a highlight of the marine experience. There will also be a period of hiking and enjoying this magnificent, wild coastline and also the opportunity to explore the coastline in kayaks in certain areas.
Agriculture – Two fundamental approaches will be taught as guiding paradigms for the understanding and implementation of successful and sustainable agriculture. First, Brian Oldrieve’s Foundations for Farming principles – Timing, Standards, No Wastage and Passion, and secondly, Alan Savory’s Holistic Management approach. Hands-on cropping activities will include vegetable production, composting, mulching and organic pest control. Commercial cropping is not applicable on Kaba but the principles and practices taught can be applied widely.
Stock Farming - Our beef farming operation on Kaba allows for a wide range of experience and skills to be gathered in animal husbandry and game management. The buffalo breeding programme offers a unique opportunity to get to know the management of these valuable and fascinating animals. Again, depending on particular interests of individuals, the livestock and game management can be areas of focus in the Spring term.
Horse Riding - Stock horses are an integral part of our beef and game management systems. The young men will have the opportunity to become proficient riders and horse handlers, herding cattle, checking game and fences, and game counting.
The Technical program involves a number of modules of basic skills learning, each component involving a week of basic training under the guidance of Dean Payne, Quest technical manager. This is then backed up by practical experience gained during the remainder of the course. The main areas covered include:
Vehicle mechanics - fundamentals of diesel and petrol engines, vehicle fundamentals, vehicle maintenance, servicing and trouble shooting
Workshop tools and welding - workshop safety and house-keeping, operating of various commonly used tools, arc and gas welding, power saws, cut-off saws, hand-held drills, bench grinders, hand-held grinders
Building - based on practical work on a building project, learning the fundamentals of laying out, foundations, brick-laying, roof trusses, windows and doors
Plumbing and Electrics - based on initial training on mock-ups in the work shop and then follow up work with practical maintenance jobs on the various buildings and houses on the farm
Woodwork and Carpentry - various practical projects are tackled allowing Questers to master some of the commonly used woodwork equipment - skill saw, table saw, mitre saw, circular saw, jig saw, planers, belt sanders, orbital sanders, braces, drills, chisels, set-squares etc.
Where possible, students will combine their technical knowledge with other skills giving them a realistic understanding of how these skills can be useful in life. For example, a building project may involve the planning, designing, costing, hands-on building and project management aspect of the construction. In orienteering excercises we frequently incorporate vehicle trouble-shooting scenarios, training an attitude of "making a plan" when under duress and physically stressed.
The technical program provides that critical sense of competence that is so important in young men - the knowledge that they have done some stuff and they can make a plan if in a squeeze.
The social acumen involves a range of activities and skills, some of which are at the heart of what Quest is about - developing the self-knowledge, values and character that are the foundation for a life of purpose and direction. There is a thread throughout the course of character development and leadership training, focusing on the ability to relate and engage well with other people. These are skills that are becoming increasingly useful in a rapidly changing world, where emotional intelligence and inter-personal skills are essential.
Public speaking – presentations of business plans, speaking on topics of interest, off-the-cuff speeches, prepared speeches for formal and informal occasions - even some drama and recitals - these boys really get to grips with the exciting business of engaing an audience.
Psychological assessments – using positive psychology, under the guidance of psychologist Lisl Foss, students learn where there natural strengths lie and how to harness them most effectively in life. This is a critical part of the Quest program.
Relationships - General relationships, work and social interactions – fundamental principles, integrity, honesty, dependability and communication skills.... the ability to engage on all levels. This is stuff not normally learnt in the normal academic curriculum but invaluable in life.
Cooking and Catering – bush cooking, healthy eating, catering for a function – planning menus, preparing food and beverages required, understanding wines, entertaining and caring for guests.
Etiquette and Manners – these invaluable attributes are becoming increasingly rare and exposure to advanced social skills will therefore be a vital part of the Kaba training program.
Photography – the Kaba and the surrounding forests and dunes provide a unique and particularly scenic environment for learning the technical and artistic skills of landscape and wildlife photography. Sophie Smith, a photography lecturer from Rhodes University, has really added a new dimension to photography at Quest, teaching useful skills and also bringing out the creativity in students.
Leadership and Teamwork - Quest is a hectic program with a huge range of challenging and exciting activities - leadership and teamwork are central themes that are being developed through out the course. We teach principle- leadership but most of the learning probably happens during the various team-based challenges in the business and physical training. Great leadership involves a process that cannot happen in a short time but it starts with humility and teamwork - Quest will certainly lay the foundations for great leadership to develop.
The business program involves 3 components - Personal Financial planning, Business fundamentals and Business plans.
Personal Financial planning - understanding the key financial statements, and concepts such as the debt trap, compounding interest and how to recognize a "real" asset, principles of investing and building of wealth, making money work for you.
Business fundamentals - fundamentals of what a business is and how a business functions, enabling students to conceptualize and plan a business undertaking.
Business plans – entrepreneurship training will develop the skill of recognizing opportunity, assessing the risk, setting up, organizing and managing commercial enterprises, based on the building of a business plan and the use of spreadsheets to develop a financial plan with a working budget and cash flow.
Leadership and Teamwork - The business projects are carried out in teams where there is opportunity to develop teamwork and leadership skills, in realistic and competitive situations, where each team vies for success against the other teams. Teams are required to present their plans giving students invaluable experience in preparation and delivery of their plans to an audience. The environment is competitive and yet positive, inviting constructive criticism.