Generasi Gemilang Leadership Camp at SMK Katibas

One weekend in April,  a team of 8 volunteers from Generasi Gemilang
conducted a Leadership Camp for my Form 5 & 4 students!
Thank you, Generasi Gemilang, HuayPhing, DerekHuiPing, WaiPeng, KwokSarah, Joy & Charlene!
How did this happen?
Back in January, I got a call out of the blue from Derek who was my team mate in our secondary school national-level winning choir team. He was touched by what he had seen circulating on Facebook about my efforts in my remote school. He is a volunteer with Generasi Gemilang & wanted to explore the possibility of running a programme at my school this year. I checked GG out & was really impressed by what they've done.

Then, I was connected with HuayPhing who is the head of school programmes &, together, we planned for a camp designed to address the needs of my students in order to quip them to not only excel in whatever they choose to do but also to overcome specific social issues their community has been mired in for generations. I.e. poor financial skills, lack of self-efficacy/purpose/role models/leaders, etc. GG usually charges for their camps but they decided to go pro bono especially for us! Thanks, Generasi Gemilang! Also, this trip was made possible through a grant from The Edge Education Foundation.

Read on to see the pictures & videos of the activities! It might be useful for when you want to run a camp yourself!

The many lessons were activity-based, engaging & FUN!!!
The lessons shown here were on teamwork & communication.
Team building activities.
Why do this? Aren't you an English teacher? KNOW YOUR PLACE!
Back in 2010 & 2011, I had a team of at least 6 English teachers. We had the human capital to run our own programmes like English Week 2010 & 2011 to nurture a culture of English at school. Now that we have only 3 English teachers at school, I had to focus our efforts on purely academic activities in order to maintain the grades required to not get grilled during annual evaluations.

During the following years without events/programmes to develop an English culture at school, I watched the students use less & less English at school. At the same time, I noticed that, after secondary school, some of my students would get lost in the social issues their community is mired in. I decided that building the character of my students to prepare them for a harsh reality trumps building a culture of English for the school. Some of the things I did was personally running motivation programmes & mentorship programmes.

The lessons on adapting to challenges, supporting each other & making a difference.
Lessons on financial literacy.
It was not enough. After years of hearing the same message from the same mouth, I was becoming like the annoying parent. So, I invited speakers relevant to my students to give motivation talks at my school like this stewardess. I also vetted & invited volunteers to run short-term camp-like programmes for my students. In 2014, we had #inspireKATIBAS & Aram Katibas!. In 2013, we had Program Jalinan KasihmissionKatibas & Jalinan Kasih Antarabangsa. ALL of the volunteers came AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. The school DID NOT give them any form of compensation. This is totally commendable & should be encouraged.

The keys to success in life are similar. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out but your students might not be motivated to do it. It is important for your students to hear the same message come from different sources because they might not listen to you because they can't relate to you. But, someone you invite to speak to them might & when that happens, you can see the visible changes.

Early mornings out in the mist & fresh air!
Lessons on self-worth & trust.
This was one of 2 camp opportunities which fell on my lap (credits to Derek, Sarah & Amanda). Since 2013, I've asked hundreds of people & I'd get rejected outright sometimes. Rejection is good because I knew I should move on. Most times, I'd go on a wild goose chase when people said that they'll consider it or ask around but would not commit.

Despite asking everyone I knew or met for the past 3 years to come to my school, I've only ever gotten 5 positive answers acted upon (credits to Sarah, Jia YiingKay, Adriena & Noelle). That's like a 0.5% success rate. Lol. I didn't mind. Because that was more than what was needed. They came with open minds & a desire to connect with my students. They made a difference.

If you want to volunteer at my school, contact me!
If you're a teacher & you believe that something you want to do will make a difference, don't be afraid to ask or push or sell your idea.

I desperately want my students to succeed in life. Even more desperately, I want them to one day have the ability to band together & be pillars of change in their rural community. I want my students to be the ones who will uplift their people from the chains of illiteracy & poverty. I want them to develop their beautiful land sustainably & usher in an age of action & wisdom. That is my dream for them. I will do whatever is within my limited abilities to make that happen. I'm very thankful for all the people who lent me a hand along the way. They are previous jewels I keep close to my heart.

Thank you once again to Generasi Gemilang, HuayPhing, Derek, HuiPing, WaiPeng, Kwok, Sarah, Joy & Charlene!
You guys made a difference!

View all the pictures here:

In April, a team of 8 volunteers from Generasi Gemilang came to my school at their own expense to conduct a leadership...
Posted by Mr Yong (Jarod Yong) on Saturday, 23 May 2015

This programme was also featured in Page 3 of the Generasi Gemilang Newsletter.

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