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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Summer

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Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer
Do you know you’re unlike any other?
You’ll always be my thunder, and I said
Your eyes are the brightest of all the colors
I don’t wanna ever love another
You’ll always be my thunder
So bring on the rain
And bring on the thunder

And this post shall mark the last official day of the (non-existent) summer break, and tomorrow it shall be a fresh start as a Y3 undergraduate … as a Social Work major. Pretty excited for the modules this semester after browsing through the course outlines etc, may it have been a wise decision to take the leap. It’s not going to be an easy transition, especially since it’ll be the first time I’ll be taking 4 core modules (not to mention the fact that I’ve never taken any Social Work modules before). But it shall be a meaningful, enriching & fulfilling journey 🙂 At least my new course of study will complement my experiences as a volunteer in CSC, hopefully it’ll value-add & allow me to achieve deeper insights into the volunteering sphere.

Watched NUS Rag with A on 7 August, thanks for accompanying me to the event! First time watching The Sam Willows/Gentlebones live, amazing performances. The highlight (and main reason why I attended Rag) was for … Christina Grimmie! I remember watching her covers on youtube many years ago, and got utterly hooked & wowed by her talent! Then she went on to join The Voice, and was in Team Adam Levine, yet another of my celebrity crush HAHA *ultimate fangirl mode on*. Although she mostly performed her original songs during Rag which I haven’t been following, it was a love-at-first-hearing for Liar Liar – Christina Grimmie! The lyrics for Liar Liar are super nice, forever a sucker for such lyrics haha #teamgrimmie forever yaaaaay.

Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.

It’s not going to be a smooth-sailing semester ahead, but I’ll survive. Guilty of missing lectures frequently in the past two years, trying to make it a point to not miss lectures (to the best of my abilities), and actually pay attention during lectures instead of using my phone all the time whoops. Going for most lectures alone so … self-discipline! Time to start being productive again, and make each minute spent worthwhile. Really upset that S & Y are gonna be flying off for exchange super soooon, y’all will be dearly missed ): Not looking forward to having to send you guys off this weekend sigh can time pause, just for a while?

So excited to meet my youths tomorrow again hee. Last week’s session was a really good one with good attendance (11 youths hee). Please let the attendance rate be regular & consistently high! Last week’s topic was on Respect, to treat each other with a sincere heart & dignity. Had interesting conversations/discussions with our youths, it’s really heartening to witness them being serious & all during sharing sessions & not just taking them lightly. Learnt so much about & from them, hopefully they have great takeaways, as I’ve always had through all these interactions 🙂 Played a new board game called DixIt with our youths as well, hope to play it again tomorrow because it’s really, really fun hee.

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I don’t want to have to be the one who misses everything when everyone else has clearly forgotten. It’s mortifying. It’s mortifying to be the one who remembers. So I guess, it’s time for some closure. And I really hate being put in dilemmas, where my heart & mind clearly has different stands.

Soulmate, or not? x

Lucky Ones

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Dandelions add a wish of happiness, and a promise of complete and utter faithfulness.

YR Launch Ceremony has officially concluded as of yesterday. Really glad that the event ran through rather smoothly, without any major issues/hiccups. It has been weeks/months since we first started gathering volunteers for the launch, so so thankful for the dedication that every single volunteer had to make the launch a good one for our dearest youths :’)

And I was really heartened to see the youths yesterday, considering how I haven’t seen them since the last study support session which was back in … September. Time really flies, and it felt really awesome to see them again. Didn’t realize how big an impact these youths have made in my life till yesterday.

It was so heartening, & I feel so privileged to see the youths get commissioned yesterday :’) Words simply can’t encapsulate the overwhelming feels I had, but I’m so happy for every single one of them. For they are willing to give themselves a chance, to be commissioned, and to continue heading down the right path in life. It might have taken a lot of determination for some of them, there definitely are complications that are entangled within, but they all made it eventually. And my heart swells in pride & happiness for them.

I can’t emphasize how much these youths are the main driving factor to let me continue on & be part of this Youth Ranger family. I won’t deny that there have been many unhappy circumstances which have made me doubt certain decisions, but every chance I get to interact with ’em youths only reaffirms the fact that this indeed is the right way to go ahead. No more looking backward, not now not ever anymore.

One youth gone astray, is one youth too much.

This sentence particularly struck me in one of the speeches delivered yesterday. During my duty as a stage crew member yesterday for the launch, I learnt a lot more about the youths whom I didn’t know prior to the event (i.e. the youths from the other centres, or the performers). It made me appreciate their performances so much more, I was really deeply touched by some of the stories that the social worker shared with me. Never judge a book by its cover, never judge a person by how they seem. All too often, they carry stories far more than you’d ever possibly imagine. We all fall victim into being judgmental people, be it blatantly or subconsciously. But after yesterday, I learnt not to judge people by first impressions, because they might seem to be different, but you don’t know how far back their life stories are dated. Some of them have really came a long way since the beginning, and comparatively, their journey in life humbles us so much, considering how much they have progressed since then. On a lighter note, I really really enjoy chatting with social workers because the passion they have really inspires me 🙂

“Have you ever regretted your choice?”

Not so surprisingly, this question has been thrown to me more than once. I think my friends realize the impact that this has on me,& I’m sorry for all the times you guys have to tolerate my rants & frustrations vented out, be it over messages or in real life. I’ve grown to realize the increasing importance of volunteering. I wouldn’t say that volunteering defines me per se, but it definitely represents me in one way or another. It makes me happy, it makes my life fulfilling albeit the tough times that are attached to the decision. It dawned upon me that being a person & the commitment to this shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, in fact it’s deeply intertwined. Everyone has different passions & different things that they feel compelled to protect & push for. Personally, I think I’ve found mine. I’ll never let go, no matter how tedious the journey ahead might be. What entails an enriching volunteering journey? Different people have different standards & expectations. I know what it is I hope to achieve, I’ll work towards my goals. And the answer to the question? It’s a simple no.

I remembered it now with happiness and I knew I would always remember it with happiness.
It was one of those small things that you can go to sleep with,
that you can wake in the night and that you could recall if necessary if you were ever tortured.

It’s all about pushing your limits & trying to figure how much you are able to take. I believe that everyone’s potential is limitless, the only difference is the extent to which our comfort zones are able to handle. And hence, I’m going to redefine my journey to completely dedicate myself into the process of enjoyment within, and distance myself from any external factors that might make me potentially unhappy. It’s difficult, but at least I’ll try. Because such matters that probably wouldn’t even matter (or be remembered) in the future shouldn’t serve as an impediment to my experience. I’m still learning, I’m trying to be a better person.

Everything in life is temporary. So if things are going good, enjoy them. And if things are going bad, don’t worry, it can’t last forever. But I don’t know why I let you build up that false hope again, only to have it shatter me into a million pieces (yet again). I should have learnt from the first time, ha ha. All ’em pointless waiting & foolishly hoping, may it stop soon.

La douleur est seulement pertinente si elle fait toujours mal, et tu me manque tellement.

Still drained, still trying to cope with everything, but I’ll get through it somehow. There’s still so much that I want to talk about, but I’ll save if for another time/the next post haha. Such a lengthy post, I had fun typing all these out though. Alright then, till the next time x

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