The Journey Of 60 Leaders

The Journey Of 60 Leaders

October 09, 2017

23 hours . That's about the amount of time we had to bring together a group of 60 who have known each other for only a short time.  These were student leaders who represented all 12 different CCA's and associations at PSB. 

Most of the time camp starts at the break of dawn. In this case camp started at sun down 7pm .  We thought that most participants would be tired from the day of classes but we were quite surprised at the level of energy they had during the warm up sessions .

Whilst observing the trainers at work , i couldn't help but be drawn out to the loudest group . The group led by our senior instructor Hilman. Within 20 mins of game play the group was already bursting in laughter and starting to jeer one another in jest . Its one thing to facilitate a group its quite another to get the group to like you and follow your direction to the tee and have fun at the same time. This is certainly a skill that requires time to develop . 

Though its not uncommon for students to sleep on the last night of a camp instead choosing to chat with their friends till morning these team of leaders did it on first night . Well of course it was their only night to do so but we certainly couldn't join them as there was a full day of activity the next morning . And I had to drive the safety car . 

It is interesting how you can get a fairly good nights rest in an air conditioned classroom on a safari bed . In the meantime McDonald's was kept busy with streams of orders coming in all the way till 2am . This was allowed as the participants are  young adults and are given certain liberties. 

What impressed me more was that the PSB staff also stayed up till late chatting with them and getting to know their leaders more . Here i was getting up at 3am to visit the loo thinking it would be a ghost town but instead found a Mc Nugget party . 

I think the level of care and willingness to go all out for these students is quite special in particular when you realize that most of these students are away from home studying in Singapore and only have school mates as support. Reminded me of my time as a foreign student in Melbourne and how i too clung to anyone willing to lend a hand. 

We keep teaching that care is one of the 5 pillars that support good leadership . That certainly was the case for PSB and it helped us a lot as the training went along as they were in a better position to nudge the students to participate .  Don't think they would have been able to do that if they asked all the students to sleep by 11. 

The Lost Shepherd. 

The game is simple enough. Set up a grid , blindfold your partner , place him at one end and guide him to the other hand without hitting obstacles and more importantly not getting himself injured. I was somewhat fearful that the game would be too simple for these young adults . What transpired continues to remind me that the simplest things are often the most important . In this case it was "communication"  . As leaders the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial . Failure to communicate can be costly .  

Its called the lost Shepard because there are so many voices trying to guide the one poor lost sheep. It was quite amusing to profile the different lost sheep . Those that will only take super baby steps , those that had chattering knees and those that just knocked everything over. All to the frustration of their Shepard and the delight of the competition . 

With the best of intentions , team mates tried their very best to guide the very helpless blind folded "sheep" . What made matters worse for them was that with every breeze the plastic balls would move around creating entirely different scenarios and sending what was originally correct instructions  right out of the window. 

With "heartless brutality" , our HA instructors added to the shepherds sorrows by placing fresh obstacles  along the way and also injecting comments to create doubt and confusion .  Well someone had to do it . Thankfully the students didn't let that discourage them and leveled up their game. 

What impressed me most was the amount of effort the Shepard put in to make sure his voice and not the others were heard creating special codes and signals so that the right message went across . Trust between partners began that day . And I hope the spark that was lit will burn strongly. 
                     

 

 

Odyssey the learning journey . 

Timing could not be more perfect and at 11.30 the whistle was blown and off each group went on their respective team journeys . As expected every team had their own unique plan of tackling the checkpoints but what surprised us where that some teams were so eager to be first that they forgot to plan in their lunch times. 

Whist we were zipping around in the cool of our safety vehicle , we felt a bit bad for the other explorers who had to gut it out in the heat. You know that burning , reflective OMG heat that we get now days from 12 to 2pm ? Oh well . Safety First. 
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Despite my hopes that the participants would be excited to have discovered , i often heard .

I really got to hand it to Esther for going through the process of surveying all the checkpoints which I thought would be cool just at the entrance. Surprisingly if you dig deeper there are hidden gems in each of the location . I wouldn't have thought to use murals of Goats or markings on floor boards as checkpoint markers. But i'm certainly glad she did.  
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Pictures speak a thousand words so i'll let their works to the talking . 

 

One of the new things we tried this time around was the integration of social media to document the step by step progress of each team . We were a bit concerned on the safety issue when on the go as well as the lack of participation . < Totally Unfounded > Thankfully these were not an issue but instead turned out to be a wonderful canvass upon which the participants could paint their individual stories. 

The benefits of the method were that all participants could see the progress of one another even though there were 4 separate groups at 4 very different locations . As planners we could not have choreographed more quirky and fun posts even if we tried.  This is one example where technology was certainly used to an advantage both as a means of monitoring process but as a means of group expression .  

Personally as a photographer its so tiring to be there at the right place at the right time to capture that shot which embodies the moment. Yet this event page is filled with so many of them. I firmly believe that the Facebook Post IC's should be honorary members of the PSB photographic society . 

Check them out at  http://bit.ly/HA_PSB_2017

 
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I guess we couldn't have asked for a better outcome. The students whilst divided by language and culture were brought together by the common desire to make new friends and build bonds with their fellow leaders . 
These circumstances brought the best out of our instructors who though sleep deprived managed to circumnavigate the south of Singapore within 4 hours  along the way capturing unique moments of these special participants. 
Everyone was back by 4.30 pm , freshly forged under the intense heat of the noon day sun and quenched by thunderstorm at the last leg of their Odyssey. What was the most unpredictable of all events turned out the be the biggest blessing which was the cooling rain and blissful breeze. 
 
Our best wishes go to the educators and students leaders at the PSB Academy . We hope that the experience and memories serve them well as they embark on their more arduous journey as heads of sports and associations . 
Story Covered by 
Eugene Lim . 


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