By ALVIN DAN
How do we instill love for the community in the youth of this generation? How do we show them the reality of the world at present, and that they, through simple acts and by sacrificing a bit of time and strength, can bring about a world of a difference for another person?
How do we allow them that experience, and in exchange, for them to discover that when they give, they will receive more than what they intended to give? I remember this sentence was once told to me, “If everyone focuses on getting, no-one receives; but if everyone gives, everyone receives.”
In our DIODE Leadership Programme, youths are introduced to the MAD Project, where MAD stands for Make a Difference.
The MAD project is where each group is given our company values to focus on: Empowering, Growth, Giving, and Relationships. Out of these four values, the group will think of a project that will make a difference in a community of their choosing, be it their home, school, or a centre in their neighbourhood.
Loving the community
While the MAD project is encouraged to be executed after camp has concluded, we do understand the restrictions that each group faces, as members comes from different schools and states.
To continue on a project that requires them to continuously meet and plan does pose some complications. So again we return to the first question: How do we instill a love for the community in the youth of this generation?
As the camp coordinator of the June Youth Leadership Camp, I also had my MAD project to work towards, which brings us to the fifth value of our company: Building the Future.
Because I was determined to see a positive change in the lives of the youths that came for camp, I decided to organise the inaugural MAD Project/Reunion event for the campers.
Having a heart for the community myself, I believe it was imperative to introduce that community aspect to campers, that even at a young age, they can make a difference.
In doing so, they will continue to build communities of love and take one step closer towards transforming the nation.
Anyone can choose to be a leader
On Sep 12, a number of campers from our June Youth Leadership Camp gathered at the Assunta Children Society. Five camp facilitators, 11 campers and 16 children from the centre, ranging from ages five to 14 were present.
The facilitators and campers arrived early in the morning, sacrificing their Saturday morning sleep, and found themselves surrounded by children who were up and running, excited for what would come next.
We started by having a simple snack and drink, and the campers were broken up into two groups – one would be in charge of running games for the children, and the other would be involved in our AVP (Awareness, Vision, Plan) session, where we would introduce our Leaderonomics leadership model to the older children.
I started the morning by introducing why we were there. I explained the community I was connected to, and announced that we had some of the children from the centre who were given scholarships to come for our camps.
I shared with them that instead of doing the usual DIODE reunion where participants would gather at a particular venue such as a mall, have a meal and catch up with each other, we aspired to do more than that this time. The games team then took over and we ran them with the children in the centre.
What I found most inspiring was that instead of the facilitators sharing their experiences from camp, I had three campers who rose to the challenge and shared their understanding of what AVP means.
They shared their feelings when questions were posed by the facilitator. Even with that short session, I believe that just by sharing their personal experiences, the three children were definitely encouraged.
It was a surprise to them that our campers were the same age as they are. They realise that they can be a leaders too, and that leadership is not restricted by youth.
At the end of the event, after the children had returned home, we gathered together for a final debrief. Among some of the comments I heard was that it was an amazing opportunity, an eye-opening experience, especially to be approached by the children and asked to spend a little bit more time and energy to play with them.
Each of us who worked so hard to make the camp an enjoyable and enriching experience for everyone, brought back something more than what they came to give. I believe this is one way we can instill love for the community in the youth of this generation.