The 2018 Young Changemakers Camp raises moral and innovative leaders through empowering youths with social leadership. Through the camp, youths not only discover more about themselves, but also about others, which is the first step towards cultivating a peaceful environment and becoming a moral leader. Youths build strong relationships through this camp as they are given a platform to work together, which encourages them to put aside their differences and embrace the uniqueness of each person; this becomes an essential lesson to live harmoniously with each other.
Bearing the theme “Raising Leaders of Tomorrow”, the three-day camp was attended by 38 youths who were ex-students of Yayasan LaSallian Kuching Learning Centres. These youths come from villages on the outskirts of Kuching town.
Building Character Through Self-Discovery and Team Activities
The modules were selected based on our past experiences of character and peace-building programmes carried out in schools around Malaysia. On the first day, we had the Dream Board activity where the youths thought about what they wanted to be when they grew up, where they wanted to go, and how they wanted to make the world a better place. The activity helped them put their dreams into focus and they’re able to visualise and start working towards achieving their dreams.
Night Walk was one of the best received activities during the camp. Each group had three people blindfolded, two people with their hands and feet tied, and one person with their mouth taped shut. They have to figure out how to work together—navigating around each other’s weaknesses and maximising their strengths—to retrieve their team baton and make it back to the starting point.
“I’m naturally outspoken so I took on the leader role for my team. I was shocked when my facilitator taped my mouth and I couldn’t speak! How was I going to tell my team how to find our team baton? I was the only one who knew the location. It was a struggle at first and I felt so frustrated at one point. But then I realised that I could use gestures to communicate with the tied-up pair, and then they could speak to the blinded ones to tell them where to go. We managed to find our team baton at last and I learned that as a leader, sometimes we have to take a step back and help my team lead,” shared one of the youths.
River of Life and Peace Circle were two very impactful activities as it required a deep level of trust among each other to open up and share about their lives. The River of Life starts with drawing a river, each twist and bend represents a turning point in one’s life. It’s up to them to express themselves by drawing in the details; we observed drawings of birds to represent freedom from a dark period in life, a storm to signify a tumultuous event, and a garden to remind oneself about the little things that make one happy.
Each person then shares about their drawing during the Peace Circle. When one person talks, everyone listens—this leads to a deeper understanding of each other and a sense that they are not alone.
As part of the camp’s programme, we brought the youths to Kampung Sion in Tapah for community service. We’ve been working with Sion for close to a year on community development initiatives that started with community engagement and clean water, but has since expanded to sustainable energy. We split into three groups; one group went for house visits to get to know the villagers better, another group conducted activities and games for the kids, and the last group helped a villager in her farm.
“The road going in was very challenging. It was made of gravel and wasn’t even tarred. We felt sympathy for the villagers there and we never thought that there could still be villages without electricity and water like Kampung Sion. I visited Mrs. Mary’s home. She told us about her hardship sending her children to school with motorcycle. Sometimes she doesn’t have transportation and couldn’t send them. She feels disappointed and sad for failing to provide a complete education for her children,” shared Gloria, one of the youths.
Although they only spent a couple of hours in Sion, many of the youths became close to the villagers there, especially the friendly kids. They expressed their wish to visit them in the future or find ways to help with their hardships. As facilitators—and later friends—to these youths, we saw personal growth and positive change in them that’s truly inspiring. Now that the seeds have been sown, we look forward to seeing how these amazing youths will grow and become changemakers.
The 2018 Young Changemakers Camp was held in collaboration with Yayasan LaSallian Kuching and ECM Libra Foundation.
Yong Joy Anne, Storyteller