The inaugural FASS Student Leadership Camp 2012 (FSLC) was jointly organised by the FASS Dean’s Office and the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). Participants hailed from various leadership positions of the Communications and New Media (CNM) Society, Economics Society (ENS), FASS Club, Geography Society, German Society, Malay Studies Society and Sociology Society. 26 FASS student leaders spent 13-15 Jan 2012 challenging ourselves, amplifying our inner leaders, making new friends, and opening doors for inter-society partnerships.
1: Leaders at Kota Rainforest Resort
Upon arrival at the resort, we were briefed about the objectives of the camp (keep a positive attitude, be considerate, be sensitive, and refrain from smoking and consuming intoxicating beverages) and broken up into two groups for games the next day. After a home-cooked supper by chefs at the resort, we checked into our rooms, which were satisfactorily equipped with air-conditioning and water heaters. Five almost-strangers would step out of their shared room two days later, friends
Games the next day were not to be trifled with. Many of us suffered battle wounds in the form of detached shoe soles, but none of us were deterred from pushing our limits through abseiling, flying fox, and rock wall climbing. Cheers for teammates abounded, especially when Lok Liang Xun, Freshmen Immersion Camp Project Director of the Geography Society and Kelvin Poh, President of the Sociology Society, battled the rock wall blindfolded to gain bonus points for their respective teams.
Before lunch that day, we were asked to rate our groups. Siti Zakiyyah Bte Kamaruddin from the Cultural Affairs Team of Malay Studies gave her team a seven, for she felt that the unfamiliarity between leaders from different societies had led to cliques forming.
The swimming pool challenge, Indiana Jones, was a wake-up call to us. Each team was provided with a plank and two poles to transport members to the middle of the pool to retrieve balls. The teams worked separately and though we managed to collect all the balls, it was with much difficulty. During a camp instructor’s debrief, we were told that the task would have been completed more efficiently should the teams had combined their resources to form a stronger structure. With cooperation in mind, the teams breezed through a second round of Indiana Jones. Of course, strong arms and terrific balancing skills of some leaders helped too.
What brought it up to a ten, among many other tens from fellow teammates as shared in the final debrief, was the finale challenge the next day – rafting. Points accumulated from previous games were converted into “currency”, which were used to “purchase” materials such as barrels, poles and rope to create one raft per team. The rafts were to be manoeuvred in a lake, each time bringing a maximum of four balls back. Though each team was allocated a ball colour, teams helped each other by collecting balls nearer to them, regardless of colour. Ties were not only strengthened within the teams through the constructing, rowing and repairing of the rafts, but also between teams.
A/P Vincent Ooi, Assistant Dean (External Relations and Student Life), shared with us on how the idea of the camp came about, “I was told that the societies would never interact much with one another.” Indeed, the lack of interaction opportunities prior to FSLC resulted in societies being strangers to one another despite most society rooms located together on the 2nd Level of Blk ADM. However, by the end of the camp, the critics would have been silenced. As Zakiyyah concluded her rating, “now, we’re just perfect.”
By Stephanie Yeo, Honorary General Secretary, 32nd Management Committee, NUS Students’ Arts and Social Sciences Club