SMU Caretalyst Camp 2010 was as much about having fun as it was about making a difference in the lives of others.
Contributed By Jeremy Chua
|PHOTO COURTESY OF SMU CARETALYST|
Camps often bring to mind images of being close to nature, having a riot of a time, and campfires at night, not to mention insect bites. Not so for a camp held right in the heart of town.
The Singapore Management University Caretalyst Camp 2010 was held from July 22 to 24 on campus grounds. The campers, comprising students from SMU, learned the value of philanthropy besides making new friends and having fun.
One of the highlights of the camp was the game, I’ve Got A Dream, where each team was given a paper clip and was required to barter trade their way up. Amazingly, even in pragmatic Singapore, the winning team managed to swap their clip for a vintage camera. The following day, campers also had the opportunity to set foot on the sparkling new premises of *SCAPE, a youth mall which officially opened in June.
Caretalyst campers were not there merely to have fun, they were learning how to make a difference in the lives of others. Cindy Leong, president of the SMU Caretalyst Club, and part of the organizing committee for the camp, shared, “This camp aims to educate and encourage our freshmen in adapting to student life at SMU, as well as to empower them to emerge as Caretalysts in the society.”
Camp agenda included talks by Elim Chew, philanthropist and founder of 77th Street, and Victor Lim, director of non-profit organization CityCare. Charismatic and engaging, they inspired the campers with their wealth of experience and insights in helping society’s less privileged.
A workshop on how to navigate the school’s academic bidding system was conducted to give campers a head start in administrative know-how during their university life. The campers found the tips given by Glen Chiang, a second year student at SMU, useful and practical.
But what made the camp truly meaningful was the opportunity for campers to put what they had learned into practice, as they reached out to the elderly at Fei Yue Elderly Home with lively karaoke sessions, took part in a sandwich-making competition with students from Charis Student Care and even put up a drama for the patients at the Institute of Mental Health.
Lim Xiao Ting, a fourth year student at SMU, said of the experience, “The camp was well managed with no major glitches. The talk and workshop were both very insightful. All in all, the entire camp has impacted my life by changing my perspective toward community service.”
After every camp, campers take something away with them, whether it is the experience of surpassing one’s limits, forging friendships and camaraderie, or the faint remnants of insect bites, scrapes and bruises. For the participants of SMU Caretalyst Camp 2010, they left not just with fond memories of an enjoyable time and new friendships made, but also the knowledge that they had impacted lives. “I am so glad that we made a significant difference in the lives of the campers. We started off as strangers, but now we feel like family,” Leong stated. Last but not least, there was nary a complaint of insect bites, making it a camp with a difference.