Wilderness Explorers

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If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
Walter Isaacson

Last weekend was spent in ECP for YB Adventure Camp 2016, and I’m finally having the time to document my experience/journey down properly.

I’ll admit that it didn’t go as smoothly as I intended/expected. I’ll attribute it partially to my fatigue … it was difficult for me to get into the camp mode. And because of the significance that YB AC has to me, I’ll admit that I have very high expectations of it. When we first got into our teams & as I facilitated the creation of our group name/identity, it was so so challenging. But I’m glad. Team Fire really grew a lot, from the first moments together as a team, to when I had to leave on the second night 🙂

This camp taught me a lot, it opened my eyes to many different things & perspectives that I never considered before. This camp, I realised I was interacting with my youths from a somewhat social work-ish perspective; don’t get me wrong – I didn’t view them as Clients. But I realised how intentional I was in balancing the group dynamics, & the kind of words that I used. Call this yet another form of experiential learning? 🙂

Stayed up for the entire first night doing sentry duty, must have been insane but genuinely wanted the rest to get more sleep since I was only staying for 2 days only. It’s so therapeutic to lay on the groundsheet out in the open, staring up into the star-filled sky 🙂 And when dawn was nearing, I went to sit at the shore with 2 of my youths, and we just sat there looking at the sky light up. In that moment, everything in life felt like it fell into place, everything felt right, nothing else really mattered or bothered me anymore. There’s something so addictively calming about the sky, be it sunrise or sunset 🙂 Sitting in silence, pondering over my life and thinking through so many things, I would say that I cleared my mind. Not by a lot, but at least it’s something. We even witnessed a rainbow, how lucky are we? 🙂 Haven’t felt such peace & calm in a long while.

On the second morning, there was a crazy thunderstorm. Our pegged down tents started to   fly away (almost), we braved the thunderstorm to save the items in the tents. And this, marked the start of the turning point of the camp for our youths. This, somehow made our youths get their act together, they were not as idle as before, they started to be even more appreciative. I wasn’t hoping for any of such effects – I genuinely wanted everyone (& their belongings) to be safe & sound, because what’s more important than that right? 🙂

At the beach, I stood by the sea alone, while my team was building a sandcastle for one of the activities. I allowed the waves crash into my feet & I just pondered over how the past two days have been in the camp. Could I have done anything differently to make the experience better for my team? Were there any instances where I should have picked something up but failed to notice? Was it my fault that the youths just seemed disinterested at times during the camp? I was honestly upset then. Upset at myself, confused at the entire situation, and I was on the brink of giving up any hope. And in that moment, marked the turning point of the camp for me. Team Fire was supposed to explain & test out their sandcastle, and they called me to listen to their description. Which really touched me a lot, because at the core of their sandcastle stood a castle that represented me, and they expressed their thankfulness & how they so willingly considered me as part of Team Fire. I was really, really touched then. As cliché as it may sound, it was like the light at the end of the tunnel, when I was being so down & all, they gave me the strength to carry on 🙂

Team Fire isn’t one that’s keen for debriefing/reflections. And I found it a struggle throughout, to try to get them to share properly. & this struggle continued till the last debrief I conducted with them on the second night. They took it seriously albeit it being filled with laughter, and in that moment as we laid on the groundsheet in the semi-darkness, everything felt right again for me 🙂

Many things happened in this camp, I wouldn’t deny it. We had youth falling sick, getting injured/hurt till the point of crying, we had youths feeling angry/upset and caused tension to be present in the camp. This camp might not have been perfect, but it’s these little imperfections that made our youths learn & grow together. What’s the point of a camp that’s smooth sailing anyway? I’m so honoured, and more than glad, to have been participating in this camp alongside my youths.

Pretty bittersweet now that it’s over, hoping to be able to attend my 4th YB Camp next year, but who knows? Nothing is certain. Nevertheless … Thank you for such a memorable YB Adventure Camp 2016. And happy 2-year anniversary to me with ’em YR youths hehe 🙂

 

Till the next time x

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