By NEDIM KARAEVLI and KAREN NEOH
Many months after the SPARK Leadership Programme camp – the first ever – I still gush shamelessly about how it had an indelible impact on me.
From learning, to being inspired and to being overjoyed at different moments throughout the camp, I came away charged up to be a better version of myself.
Truth be told, I was a camp facilitator, not a camper!
The campers were all impacted in different ways and I remember clearly how the early awkwardness melted away and many a tearful farewell took place by the end of camp.
Fellow camp facilitator, Nedim Karaevli agreed that one of the things that stood out was how the campers seemed to grow – quite remarkably – from day to day.
“Most were very shy in the beginning – not sharing or participating. But after just a day or two of group activities and games, I noticed them starting to bond and communicate better,” says Karaevli.
It was encouraging to see them coming out of their shell one by one, stepping up and speaking out more.
If it wasn’t challenging enough making new friends, it is worth noting that they overcame their shyness in the midst of campers who came from all over the country.
The organisers went to great lengths to ensure that youth with very diverse backgrounds were represented, cutting across social and economic strata in Malaysia.
“I was happy to see them learn, have more confidence and teamwork – and a little surprised it happened in such a short time. For the community project, it was good first to see the campers accept responsibility to help the community, and then be motivated to work together to accomplish it.”
This year, the SPARK Leadership Programme is back for its second round of learning, inspiring and making a difference.
The SPARK Leadership Programme is a seven-day camp designed to provide leadership development to 80 deserving Malaysian youths from across the country.
The initiative is a partnership between ECM Libra Foundation, Leaderonomics and Epsom College in Malaysia.
SPARK (and other youth leadership camps at Leaderonomics), is akin to a gift that won’t stop giving!
As we look back, we realise that it didn’t just impact the lives of the campers, it helped transform the team who took great care in designing and running the camp – the facilitators who soaked in the experience and went back to “real life” re-energised, and the families of the campers too – as some of them have relayed back to us.
Together, let’s instil in our young leaders that desire to pay it forward. After all, like the ripples in a pond, “it only takes a spark to get the fire going!”
How to sign up for SPARK Auditions? Click here to find out.
Nedim Karaevli and Karen Neoh cherish the thought of playing a role in building the lives of future leaders. To find out more about this programme, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Pay It Forward insights, click here.
Lay Hsuan is the content curator for Leaderonomics.com. She writes occasionally and is the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader’s Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.