4 – 5th June marked an exciting milestone for Eden School as we held our very first overnight camp for a group of 17 students. The theme of the camp was "Stepping out", as we envisioned creating an empowering experience for the campers.
Many 'first time' experiences were in store for the students – being away from home and family, looking after themselves, setting up their own tents, spending the night in sleeping bags instead of their own beds, riding a 4-seater bicycle, playing relay games at the beach, having a BBQ dinner and singing songs around a blazing camp fire!
After an opening address by Mrs Lai, the camp started off with a bang (literally) as 3 giant party poppers showered campers with glittery confetti. A whirlwind of activities then ensued, starting off with ice-breaker games which the campers played in their 4 groups – Red, Blue, Yellow & Green. The students got to know one another through the activities "What's your name?", "the Blanket Game & "Pass the bag". Smiling faces and bursts of laughter showed how much fun the campers were having. Adding to the atmosphere, they were all decked in the customised camp T-shirt designed by our very own Art teacher, Kenny Chua.
To make their night's stay in school more interesting, the students were taught how to set up dome tents which each camper shared with a buddy. Each tent was transformed into a cosy 'nest' with their sleeping bags and belongings neatly laid out.
Thereafter we had a fun-filled afternoon during our excursion to East Coast Park. A group of 15 volunteers from Singtel joined us for the outing – befriending the campers and participating in the activities with them. The campers first enjoyed a leisurely picnic by the beach, and then had an exhilarating time playing relay games where they utilized skills learnt during PE lessons in school. Campers also had fun pedalling on 4-seater bicycles and completing games at pit stop stations along the way. In the spirit of cohesiveness and teamwork, each group collected mega puzzle pieces which everyone put together at the final stop to form a huge backdrop featuring our camp theme and school logo. Peals of laughter rang as campers dressed up in funny hats and props at the photo booth set up for them.
A BBQ dinner was lovingly prepared by our café vendor, Mr and Mrs Ho, as well as a team of teacher volunteers who braved the heat and smoke while cooking. Campers enjoyed a sumptuous spread of food and some also tried their hand at roasting marshmallows. The climax of our camp was a blazing campfire which was set-up by uniform group students from Jurongville Secondary School. Much hype and excitement was in the air as they led our campers in learning action songs and playing 'Simon Says'. We also sang our very own camp song, "Stepping out", composed by our very own Eden musically inclined teachers.
As part of our objective to instil a sense of responsibility and independence, campers had to look after themselves by making their own milo for supper, showering and washing up before bedtime on their own, and keeping their belongings properly. They also accomplished a seemingly trivia feat of falling asleep on their own and staying in their tents through the night, despite being in such a different environment. The next morning, the campers made their own breakfast with bread and various spreads. They also helped to dismantle the tents and to keep the sleeping bags.
Morning exercise was a deviation from the norm, as we taught the campers a 'dance-xercise', specially choreographed to theme song from the movie "Madagascar". The campers even got to express their creativity during a 10 minute 'free-dance' segment featuring current hit songs like "Gangnam Style"!
During reflection time, each camper penned down the 1 thing that they really liked about the camp, as well as 1 thing that they learnt. It was encouraging to see what they had written. They shared on the many new experiences which the camp offered, and it is very heart-warming for the teachers to know that they had such a memorable time.
During the closing ceremony, each camper was given a Certificate of Participation and a unique award according to titles such as 'The most helpful', 'The most cooperative', 'The best cyclist' and 'The best dancer'. Just as we started off with a bang, we ended off in a celebratory mood with party poppers, group photos, glowing smiles, stronger friendships and sweet memories.
Next year, the students will be "Stepping Out" on another new adventure and everyone is definitely looking forward to June 2014!