Last weekend (Dec25-27), I attended PEMBINA's Kem Lepasan SPM. The camp aims to enlighten school leavers on the various pathways they may want to embark on after SPM.
A dear friend asked me to help out as a facilitator. I have never done this before, so I was a bit apprehensive about joining. Will I be of any help?
But they needed someone to explain about how one may enter into the teaching profession, so I agreed.
Alhamdulillah, that decision turned out to be the right one. Though, I went there to "enlighten" the participants, I ended up being the one enlightened.
The camp had more male participants than female ones. There were around 40 male students while the females numbered at 14. Funny thing is, the number of female facilitators and committee members is 14 too, so the ratio of participant and facilitator is 1:1.
That configuration made bonding so much easier and faster. Everyone got to know everyone else. That first night, the ice was not only broken; it was thawed completely.
We, the facilitators, and our group members slept in the same area. The dormitories contained bunk beds. I had to sleep on the top bed and the whole structure creaked and shook with the slightest move. I had never slept as still as I slept that night. Even an involuntary twitch caused me alarm. I was afraid that the bed might collapse totally and crush the poor girl sleeping underneath. The second night was much better. I overcame my paranoia (partially) and slept more comfortably.
On Saturday, the 'Siri Penerangan Kursus' was held. People from various industries (Engineering, Health Sciences, Accounting, Applied Science, Education & Syariah) talked about their respective field. This session was aimed to give the students accurate and useful input so that they will make well-informed decisions about their future. I took the floor for the slot on education. I think I did okay but in retrospect, I think I should have elaborated more on the work scope of a teacher (the various unrelated-to-teaching tasks), its joys and tribulations - so as to give the participants a clearer and truer picture. Photographs would have helped as well. Maybe I needn't focus so much on the structure of the programme and other technical aspects. What's more important is not 'how to apply for the programme' (because that's easy to find out), but 'whether teaching is the right career for them'. Plus, my voice was a bit high-pitched during the presentation - as it tends to be when I'm nervous and excited.
After Zohor, we trekked the jungle nearby. I thought they were a bit crazy scheduling an outdoor activity at the height of the stifling afternoon heat. But amazingly, once we stepped into the jungle, the air was cool and refreshing. The trek was quite challenging. I wore my trusty sport shoes but I still nearly fell a few times on the slippery slopes. But I loved the experience nonetheless. Living in the city makes you appreciate pristine nature so much more.
That evening, we had a team-building exercise. There were 3 tasks that we had to complete - all of which demanded critical-thinking skills as well as great teamwork. We had to:
1) build a gadget that can protect an egg from extreme demolition measures (courtesy of the juries),
2) build the most solid building, and
3) design and create a uniform for a chef, a soldier and a silat instructor.
We had to accomplish all these using only the limited materials supplied. Progress was a bit slow since many were tired from the trekking but everyone was lively again when the juries started to throw and smash the gadgets with all their might in an attempt to break the egg.
That night, we had our 'Malam Kebudayaan'. The theme given was: 'Remaja dan Gejala Sosial'. There wasn't enough time for practice but the participants did a very good job. I was impressed by their confidence, talent, and creativity. They managed to give entertaining performances and convey meaningful messages all at the same time.
On our last day (Dec 27), the participants were coached on how to excel in interviews for scholarships. They were told the Do's and Don'ts and several people shared their interview experiences. Unfortunately, due to time constraint, a mock interview couldn't be carried out.
The closing ceremony followed afterwards. Prizes were given to the groups as well as the best and most sporting participant. After a group photo, the Zohor prayer and lunch, people started to head home...
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What made the camp so special to me was the great people I met there. I knew a few of them, but the rest were strangers to me. But in just 3 days and 2 nights, we really bonded with each other. I'm grateful and honoured to meet these amazing individuals. I've learnt a lot from them. Their enthusiasm was just infectious. They reminded me of this quote from Hassan Al-Banna:
"We need spirited, energetic and strong young people whose hearts are filled with life, enthusiasm, zeal and dynamism; whose souls are full of ambition, aspiration and vigor and have great goals, rising and aspiring to reach them until they eventually arrive at their destination."
May Allah strengthen and bless this ukhuwwah (bond).
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-It has been a truly great experience. I've learned a lot so I strongly recommend you to get your younger brother/sister/cousin to join the same programme next year.
-More pictures and videos will be uploaded later, inshaAllah.
-Pictures taken from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46056694@N08/