Learning Visit to Hougang Primary School
On 17th September, the management of OBS had the privilege of a learning visit to Hougang Primary (HGP), a school recognized and sought-after for its niche in Outdoor Education (OE), to find out how it has so successfully incorporated OE into the students' learning experience. At HGP, OE is designed as a complete and enjoyable experience for both teachers and students - and the difference is palpable.
Top: Vertical obstacle course on facade
Our first step into the school compound was greeted by an impressive vertical obstacle course fronting the building's facade. HGP also boasts its own open-air Butterfly Garden, a Flying Fox Line and a height challenge course. Besides being infused into teaching subjects to promote interest and knowledge absorption through experiential learning, OE at HGP also serves the higher purpose of inculcating environmental awareness and innovation, as seen from the lush and intricate green wall – a school project irrigated by a solar-powered system.
Former HGP principal Mr. Goh Ek Piang, who had built OE into the school from scratch, shared the difficulty in obtaining the Ministry of Education's (MOE) endorsement for their OE niche back then. Today, all HGP students undergo progressive exposure and training in OE, and most have a number of sea and land expeditions under their belts. A recent expedition saw more than 20 students climb and summit Mount Brinchang – truly no mean feat. Current principal Mrs Sabrina James and HOD Kassidy Bin Kamis also shared how OE has helped those less academically motivated rediscover the values of learning and encouraged them to pull up their socks. Overall, students are noticeably more confident and expressive compared to their peers in non-OE environments.
Left: Chicken in a hut; Right: An exotic Pitcher Plant on the solar-powered irrigated green wall
As we at OBS strive to inspire individuals through learning journeys, we are heartened and excited to find like-minded partners who believe in the same long-term OE goals that will positively impact our upcoming generations. We look forward to more of such knowledge sharing with other organizations in future.
A Day in the Life of...Azzam Roszini
Kenny Lands the Job, Career and the Girl at OBS!
Instructor Kenny Leong got the job, career and girl of his dreams…all at OBS. CCU catches up with him to get the scoop!
Why did you want to become an OBS Instructor?
A year and a half into my job in the IT industry, I knew for sure that my true calling was in another place. I embarked on a quest for greater life & career significance and I stumbled upon it while surfing the Internet one day. I landed on a recruitment page at the OBS website and immediately I felt a stirring in my guts. It brought me back to my days as a Scout in secondary school where my love for the outdoors budded. I then applied for the Instructor position and fast forward… it’s been seven fulfilling years; impacting young people through this unique OBS journey.
Why this compelling desire to serve youths?
I was a delinquent in my early teen years. I was on a destructive path, always getting into trouble. I can relate to teens attending OBS programmes who displayed a rebellious streak. My scouting days served as an intervention and helped me move away from that life path. In my present capacity as an OBS Instructor, I can impart fundamental values of life to make a difference in the lives of my participants. My work provides me with a dynamic platform to influence youths and this is a driving force for me!
There was a time when I was conducting a course for the Singapore Boys Home. The boys were mischievous throughout the entire course and it was a challenge to manage them. On the last day, they gave me a monumental surprise!
of his calling to develop youths with at-risk behaviour
I could sense the heartfelt emotions welling up through their words when I read the card. It was truly rewarding for me to know what they had gained from the course. To this day, the boys still remembered me when I go back to their school to conduct briefing sessions. I keep the card pinned at my workstation as a special keepsake.
You also found a life-partner in OBS… how did that happen?
Kenny the bona fide Scout weds Sophia the true blue Girl Guide
My wife Sophia came on the same Instructor Selection Process (ISP*) that I did. Being a Scout, she got me hooked when she first introduced herself as a Girl Guide. On the second night of the ISP, we found ourselves kayaking together. We started talking and I got her contact… we were dating in no time!
Sophia and I have much in common. We are both involved in youth work professionally and also in the church where we both serve. We both love the outdoors especially mountain climbing. In fact we have climbed a few mountains together. Of course the best thing we share now is our newborn son, Emmanuel. He is our joy!
Currently, are there any exciting developments for you at OBS?
Since 2010, I have been managing the ‘The Choice Is Yours’ (TCIY) programme, a youth resource developed in the United States by Sean Covey and based on the popular ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’. This programme develops the students’ character and helps them to know themselves better and to learn how to relate to others. It has and continues to garner quite a few success stories for our young participants.
Recently, a student from Chestnut Drive Secondary School came on board a TCIY camp at OBS. She was unmotivated and uncooperative throughout the programme. However, after the camp, her teacher informed us that her attendance was getting better and her attitude had improved tremendously.
Such testimonies affirm my calling at OBS. They fuel my drive to serve and impact the lives of our youths in a relevant way!
*The ISP is a 3-day and 2-night programme that enables OBS to assess a candidate’s suitability for a job. Participants go through a series of physical and mental challenges to demonstrate qualities such as leadership, initiative and tenacity.
A Day in the Life of...Yvonne Low
OBS Instructors shone at the NTU Adventure Trail Challenge
OBS Instructors Thian Choon and Daniel bag the top prize in the NTU-ATC race
Team ‘OBS Young and Younger’ was borne out of an unlikely partnership that spans race, religion, nationality and generation. Both ardent outdoor race enthusiasts, Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) Instructors Ng Thian Choon, 38, and Daniel Lawrence Grillo, 26, came together with one passion in mind – getting that next adventure race adrenalin fix! After shopping around for an event, they settled on the Nanyang Technological University - Adventure Trail Challenge (NTU-ATC). Organised by NTU Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC), the race involved running between a series of checkpoints at which participants would paddle, cycle, abseil, and complete puzzles/challenges. The team came in first under the Men’s Open Category.
Team 'OBS Young & Younger' traiblaze their way through obstacles, side by side, staying ahead in the race
Daniel shared, “Before the starting gun, there was already a commitment between Choon and I to help pace one another; but with assurances not to push too hard. Of course, any sentiments about ‘taking it easy’ were gone as soon as the race official launched our wave!”
Highlights over the next three hours of the race involved Choon and Daniel folding origami whilst sharing one oven mitt, having a bath under a drainage pipe, and exploring some of Singapore's restricted areas near MRT lines and construction sites. The final triumph for the team was solving a tricky sudoku-esque game, afterwhich, they saw no other teams on their trail until the finish line.
Thian Choon and Daniel come up winners not just in the race but with a new-found friendship
“I was truly delighted that we won the race,” remarked Choon. “However, I felt my biggest win was to have forged a deeper friendship with Daniel whom I see day in and day out. Through the time we spent on the race, I found out more about the challenges that Daniel had to face in landing his job in OBS; having come from the United States. His sharing has inspired me and has earned me even greater respect for him.”
OBS instructors, Rennie Iskandar Suprayitno and Tan Pei Lee, also took second spot under the Mixed Open Category at the NTU-ATC. Click here to read more about their experience.