Sunday, November 22, 2009

Veloci-T 2009- The PULSE of Victoria

At the end of every year, VS runs a leadership camp aimed at training Sec 2 students that have the potential to take up leadership appointmentsin Sec 3. Over the years, seperate programs like the CIC (Camp Instructors Course focusing on Outdoor Adventure Skills) and LTC (Leadership Training Course focusing on Leadership Experience) have merged into what the current Veloci-T camp (Victorian Enhanced Leadership Outdoor Camp Instructor Training)
This year, we have evolved yet again to welcome the Peer Support Leaders as part of our training framework. This year we have also revised our training methodology to incorporate the Kouzes and Pousner's framework for effective leadership.

Our camp began with in-house sessions in VS conducted by TRYBE.
The boys began their modules on 'Modelling the Way' and on effetive public speaking.
Here we seem them role playing how to deliver effective team-building instructions to future camp participants:

Our leaders were given topics for public speaker in which to engage their audience- such as 'marketing' a different CCA from their own:

You can see that it is a challenge for boys to speak confidently about areas outside their immediate experience. However, it is necessary to overcome this to become an effective leader. And we see how Matthew and Christopher attempt to convince the audience to join Concert Band and to overturn some common misconceptions about it.

Our boys also worked through the values that they felt were essential to be effective role models and to discover for themselves what they were their core personal beliefs and value system:

Handling young teens and maintaining their attention is always a challenge, so our trainers from TRYBE shared with our prospective junior leaders some tips to manage large group dynamics:

In the afternoon, we headed over to Changi Coast Adventure Campsite. Despite the down pour that started upon arrival, we still managed to proceed with out pre-liminary briefing and belay school. Here we see our instructor Mark emphasising the correct wearing of safety harnesses- and the consequence of not doing so :P

After that the boys practiced both their climbing and their belaying skills (supporting the climber via safey rope and belay system)

With proper belaying skills even smaller boys can belay bigger ones- like David and Songyu here

(But David you must remember to keep both hands on the belay rope at all times! Good reminder to all our leaders as you gain competence- always keep going back to your fundamentals.)

In the evening, the boys explored another K&P competency "Encourage the Heart" under Mr Chen Zhongyi. Mr Chen is our new inductee into the Veloci-T planning committee and made a great impact with his facilitation of this module.
The boys were given a series of obstacles to cross while blindfolded. They relied on the instructions given to them by teachers and seniors. Teachers and seniors 2 different approaches to facilitate their progress- affirmative encouragement versus critical commands.

The students got a chance to experience the powerful reinforcement of language and tone of voice and during the post-activity reflection, many stated the realisation of how much better it felt to have simple words of encouragement in order to overcome a daunting task. Whereas sharp, critical and bossy commands only kept tensions high.

The next day, we carried on with our various High Ropes Activities- rock climbing, abseiling and CRC

And who can forget, the one and only Sanjeev

One of the more challenging obstacles that our leaders got to try was the Wild Woozy, which require 2 participants to cross the obstacle supporting each other.

After 2 days in Changi Coast, we all head off to Mawai Eco-Camp in Malaysia for the second leg of our training. There we went jungle trekking, climbed Mount Arong, played volleyball in the mud paddies. The camp is a back to basics nature environment, so there was no electricity, thus I only have 2 videos to show from there- here our boys are attempting the Asli Water Obstacle course

It was a tiring but rewarding experience (it always is...)
I asked our students what it is that makes education in Victoria School unique, what qualifies our existence in the face of a fast changing educational landscape.
Well, I guess the following clip says it all- the all-pervading desire in Victoria School to be something more. I first encountered Mustaqim in Sec 1 during the Orientation Camp and I was concerned whether he would be able to participate in all the activities. When I mentioned my concern to him, he gave me a puzzled look because to him, he say himself no differently from any other Victorian. Over the years, we the teachers and his peers have indeed seen it to be so. Mustaqim is as mischievous, cheeky and rowdy as any other Sec 2 boy and he is as indomitable as any true blue Victorian.

(During the climb, instructors and student leaders were always on hand to provide additional support for him and maintain safety)
Just look at the amount of cheering, support and spotting given by all his peers and seniors during his climb!

Well done Mustaqim, your actions have allowed many of your friends and peers to re-evaluate the god-given gifts they have in life and not to take things for granted.

I asked you all during Veloci-t what makes Victoria School unique.
This is what makes VS unique.
While life and circumstances may handicap us; they will never disable us and stop us from being something more.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New boarders and our volunteer hosts families

We've just welcomed our new batch of ASEAN and A*star scholars for 2010.
Me and Mr Su are getting to know them gradually. This year we are really fortunate to have another group of volunteer families to assist them in integrating in Singapore.

The volunteer host families aim to help our boarders get a glimpse of daily life in the average family in Singapore as well as to provide them with additional support and company.

One such volunteer family is the Koh family who took our Indonesian scholars: Gregory, Eric and Steven out to visit various sites and especially try out local cuisine!

Nothing breaks barriers down quite like steam-boat!
Welcome to Singapore scholars!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Veloci-T 2009 Schedule

velocit schedule 2009