Another Week Beyond – 2226

Dear friends,

As we camped with 11 youths at Pulau Ubin last week, we were pleasantly surprised to see how quickly they got on with each other. These young people were not acquainted with each other but from the get-go, they cooperated and supported each other. After arriving on the island by bumboat, they received brief instructions on how to read a map and a compass and were told to make their way to the campsite. It was a task they embraced wholeheartedly and 2 hours later they were cooking lunch with their mess tins after pitching their tents.

We figured that they excelled with the assigned tasks because their level of difficulty posed enough of a challenge that was attainable and not overwhelming. The youth were stretched but not stressed to the point of helplessness or incapacity. Also, the early success of finding their own way to the campsite was a confidence booster that braced them to take on the activities that were presented to them. Each activity built on a previous one and this enabled the youth to recognize and experience the progress they were achieving.

So, learning to work with ropes on land led to lashing up a set of kayaks into a raft on water and going on a night walk as group led to walking through an unlighted forested track alone. Everyone completed this night confidence walk successfully but what impressed us were the words of  congratulations they offered each other after the exercise was over. There were no teasing or insensitive words for those who were afraid but only emphatic acknowledgement.

The 3-day event was framed as a Leadership Development Programme and by how they conducted themselves, participants reflected what they imagined was good leadership. They treated each other the way they wanted to be led and it was most heartening to observe an absence of bravado. They were genuinely committed to succeeding together and when one of them was exhausted after a rafting activity and found it difficult walking back to the campsite, she was piggybacked.  

Unfamiliar surroundings create a sense of vulnerability that heightens the value of interdependency and to their credit, this group embraced the notion that despite their differences, everyone is valuable and only by working together were they collectively stronger. Vulnerability also proved to be a door for authentic conversations. Aside from the cheerful banter there were quiet moments where a few started conversations about issues that mattered to them.

The camp was a meaningful way to conclude the school holidays. It provided these youth an experience of success and competency as they returned to the challenges of a new school term. By recognising their potential for leadership, these youth behaved as leaders would. When we think well of people, they become better, and we hope that these youth will continue to believe that success is not beyond them.

For peace, community, and interdependency,

Sincerely,

Gerard

When we intentionally seek out the difficult tasks, we’re much more likely to actually create value. – Seth Godin

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Read more >

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By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

Read more >

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Read more >