As part of its June holiday program for children, the City Harvest Children’s Church organized a two-day-one-night stay at the Underwater World Singapore in Sentosa.
By Bettina Tan
The tranquil blue waters of Underwater World Singapore, with its vibrant, bright-colored fishes and marine life, received a special visit from 59 very excited children from City Harvest Church on Jun. 9.
“Oohs” and “ahhs” filled the place as the children took a private Underwater World Discovery Tour, where professional marine life educators helped introduce and demystify the many wonderful mysteries of the deep sea to the young ones. “My daughter went around with her camera phone going snap, snap, snap, taking pictures of all the different sea creatures” shared Mrs Goh, mother of one of the participants.
According to program organizer Fang Xinwei, it was the first time they had organized such an educational camp. “We want the children to experience holistic learning—not just in terms of spirituality but one that is educational, interesting and different for everyone.”
The children were also given an opportunity to interact with the sea creatures. Camp facilitator Mr Zulkarnail explained that one of the most memorable segments was when the children got a chance to touch some of the sea creatures such as stingrays and fur seals, as well meet the dolphins.
The camp games and activities were designed according to the theme of “creation” in mind. “This is a very enriching experience for the kids. They don’t just get to intellectually know more, but see up-close God’s marvelous creations and have a deeper appreciation for it,” shared City Harvest Children’s Church pastor, Eileen Toh. To help the children understand how God created the world with His words, a game that required the children to help blindfolded teammates assemble a jigsaw puzzle was played. Using only words, the children instructed their friends on how to construct the puzzle, effectively demonstrating the power of words. As Anson Ang, CCH Zone Supervisor, aptly puts, “The program is not just something fresh and interesting, but it was also about incorporating the word of God.”
Other team bonding games, such as building a sturdy house with newspaper and tape, were also played to help the children learn about creation and teamwork in a fun, interactive way. According to Alexandria Goh, 11, these games were one of the highlights of the camp, as she felt she really managed to make friends and know others better. For her, it was heartening to see everyone encouraging one another, as teams that had completed their tasks would continue to support the slower teams, cheering them on.
There was also a quiz, the answers to which were masterfully hidden all around the site, requiring the children to go around looking for them. “It was like the Amazing Race!” exclaimed Alicia Tan, 12.
The highlight of the event was without a doubt, the sleepover in the Underwater Tunnel. Everyone agreed that one of the most unique experiences of this program was the chance to sleep in the tunnel surrounded by all the different sea creatures swimming above and around them. Before bedtime, Isaac Lim, 11, expressed, “I don’t think I will be able to sleep, I’ll be looking at all the scenery.” But this event was not just an eye-opener for the children. For some of the CCH teachers and volunteers, it was their first time visiting the Underwater World. “It was like I was a kid, enjoying every single moment,” shared volunteer Trustin Neo, 26, adding that it was a great opportunity for the teachers to spend more time interacting with and understanding the children.
All in all, the program was a resounding success. Not only did the children leave happy and excited, they gained a deeper knowledge of the ocean as well as a greater appreciation of God’s oceanic handiwork. Needless to say, when asked if they would come back for the exact same camp again, the children responded with a resounding, “Yesssssss!!!!”