OBS connects youths to serve the community as active citizens!
Sewing patchwork quilts for the less fortunate during an outdoor adventure course might seem out of place, but this was what 300 students from St Hilda’s Secondary School did during their 5-day adventure programme at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) in August 2011.
They cut and sewed a total of 70 square patches from donated pieces of cloth to create 19 blankets, which was sent to disaster-stricken areas overseas.
The project BLING (BLankets In the Name of Green) project which aimed to increase environmental awareness and empathy for the less fortunate in the community was adopted by OBS this year. The project is in line with OBS’s mission to “develop mentally and physically rugged youths to be active citizens inspired to serve the community”, where youth participants of OBS programmes are inspired to serve and to undertake leadership roles in the community through positive and engaging experience at OBS.
“Sewing the blanket was the most memorable activity for me. All my group mates helped to complete the blanket as part of the community service component of our 5-day course,” shared Tay Shane, 15.
Besides the BLING project, OBS also mobilised another 130 ex-OBS participants as well as youths from various walks of life to come together in September 2011 to clean up five stretches of beaches in the western parts of Pulau Ubin. The participants collected a total of 1,400 kg of trash and recorded the data for International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS).
As a result of the event, many participants gained a deeper appreciation for the environment around them, and were empowered to become “green” ambassadors to spread the word among their peers.
Said Celestee Loh, 14, “I have learnt how littering can impact our environment and how we can each play a part to make a difference. After today, I will help to raise awareness about the situation to my family and friends.”
On 8 May 2011, 11 youths who have completed their 21-day OBS classic challenge programme initiated a free kayaking orientation programme for 14 youths from Beyond Social Services (BSS). BSS is a Children and Youth, Volunteer Welfare Organisation (VWO) that runs programs to help youths to be meaningfully engaged and be able to contribute back to the community.
One of the event organiser, Ow Mun Yee, 19, an undergraduate at Singapore Polytechnic, said, “After OBS, I became more aware of the importance and need to serve the community. I felt that it was time to share what I have learnt and to give back what I have received.”
Two months later, after their OBS experience, 10 ex-OBS participants from Methodist Girls’ School also chose to spend their Saturday mornings by volunteering at the Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen. Willing Hearts is part of High Point Community Services Association, a VWO that prepares, cooks and distributes meals to the needy including the elderly, adults and children in various locations in Singapore.
Ng Kar Yeng, 15, one of the 10 volunteers, noted, “When I was in OBS, there were many things that I didn’t know I could do until I tried it. At the soup kitchen, I thought I couldn’t do much to help the less fortunate, but I have learnt how a simple act such as cutting the vegetable could benefit so many people.”
The spirit of active citizenship and youth volunteerism were clearly illuminated through these activities. Going forward, OBS will strive to inspire more youths to become active citizens to serve the community through its programmes.