Article by: Miss Putri Anggraeny & Mr Jay Raj
There are certain things that simply cannot be taught in the classroom. How to overcome great discomfort and to cater for your basic needs such as setting up shelter and cooking for yourself in the great outdoors are things that are learnt through experience. That is one of the main objectives of this year’s Secondary Camp at Loola Bintan. It is an opportunity for our students to gain another kind of experience, learning new things that the students themselves probably have not experienced in life before.
Being out of their comfort zone is already a valuable lesson for our budding young leaders. The various activities planned by the experienced camp instructor provides many avenues for our students to gain new knowledge, develop socially and emotionally as well as reconnecting with nature. Stamford encourages students to try new things outside their usual routine in order to nurture the sense of empathy and make them realise how fortunate they are and why is it important to care for the less fortunate community. Besides, it helps them to grow as a strong independent person. This trip is hoped to expand our students’ horizon, make them experience more of the world, how things work and how to creatively deal with problems that they face.
Stamford as a school has a strong commitment to nurturing future leaders. Every year, we devote time to research and think of suitable camp (outside of Bandung) that will further stimulate students’ passion for learning and enhance their leadership capabilities. The recently concluded Bintan trip was finalised after having several stages of research and discussion. Stamford and the Loola team had several discussions with regard to the activities for our young Stamfordians that are engaging and at the same time help to instil good values such as courage, leadership and the ability to work as a team. We believe that by now, parents have heard from your child on how amazing the trip is, but for the benefit of everyone, we will summarise the whole camping trip over here.
The trip had been smooth from the very beginning with a lot of participants. Starting from day 1 the students had to adjust themselves with the basic accommodation.They were a bit surprised as their expectations were higher, but what makes us happy is that the students were able to overcome their initial apprehension and manage all of it. The trip essentially proved the maturity that our Stamfordians have and the ability as future leaders to accept any kind of challenges.
After having the orientation and settling down, they were given adventurous tasks such as climbing coconut trees and skywalk. It was not easy in the beginning as many of them were afraid of height, but slowly they adjusted to the activities and started enjoying it. Teachers never had to force students to join these activities and most of the team did very well in these challenges. All of these activities were conducted under the professional supervision of the camp instructors. In the evening the boys played a friendly soccer match with the Australian International School students from Singapore. Though we lost the match 2-1, we had an overwhelming support of the whole group for our soccer team. Day one ended with a pleasant smile on our young Stamfordian faces.
Continuing from the satisfaction in the first day, the next day we organised two activities which allow students taste different experiences — wall climbing and flying fox which ended with a splash in a pool. Once again the students enjoyed these activities.
After those activities, we divided them into 2 groups, group A was given the task of staying overnight at Survivor Island while the other team moved to perform a community project with the local orang laut. In order to hone their leadership skills, we let the students be proactive and have a free rein to plan for our dinner and stay on Survivor Island. The resort provided the materials that the students requested and they embark on their journey in kayaks to the uninhabited island. After the tiring kayak trip, they settle down in the rocky Survivor Island, at a clearing, protected from rain and the wind by a large tarpaulin. The students cooked their own food and after having dinner, they enjoyed hearing stories from the guide and teachers. They settled down to sleep, though conditions were far from comfortable and what they are used to back home. The rain at midnight made things more challenging and uncomfortable, but everyone managed to survive and endure the castaway experience. In the morning they were all proud and happy for completing the challenge.
Team B meanwhile moved to set up a wastewater garden project in a nearby village the project is funded by UNESCO and is being implemented with the help of some of the reputable universities in Indonesia. During the wastewater garden project, Stamfordians realise how precious clean water is and how lucky they are to have clean water at home just by turning the tap.
Early morning team B moved to practice for the dragon kayak race, whereas team A came back from the survival island using their own kayaks.
The dragon kayak can carry 7-8 students and their teamwork is essential in getting the kayak move in the same direction. Students learned how to synchronise and work together as one in this activity. Although the kayaks were going in circles initially, they soon learned how to control it by coordinating movements. It really is the embodiment of teamwork — working together to achieve a common goal.
Team A and B swapped activities in the afternoon. Team B went for the Survivor Island challenge whereas Team A went to do community work constructing the wastewater project in the orang laut village.
After the intense and fun dragon kayak race in the morning, Team A & B learned about the various eco-friendly initiatives in Loola, including the low-cost mosquito trap.
In the afternoon, the students were divided into teams and started to design and construct their state-of-the-art rafts using wood and empty oil bins. Once the rafts were completed, they waited for the high tide to have a race. Unfortunately, two teams forgot to tie their raft to the anchor pole, lost their constructed rafts as the high tide came faster than expected and the water current took their rafts away 😭. The rest of the teams boarded their rafts and participated in the race. Although many of the rafts’ construction were not strong enough to survive the race, at least 3 teams successfully completed the race with their solid rafts construction.
The students enjoyed a hill trek and a visit to the orang laut village to learn some traditional cooking and making fish traps. The highlight of the day was the boom net, where students jumped from a height into the water, protected by a large fishing net. As no preparation or planning was required, students enjoyed this activity the most. In the evening students and teachers split into different teams and played volleyball against each other. The day ended with a campfire, music and dancing. Students also gave their reflections during the gathering as it was the last day of a memorable trip.
We do believe that the Stamfordians came back from the trip with new ideas, and are grateful for what they have now. With that gratitude, we expect them to be leaders who know are strong socially, emotionally, able work effectively and efficiently with others as well as possessing empathy and be able to care for others. We also take this opportunity to thank our parents who supported the trip wholeheartedly from the very beginning.
At the end of the day, this is one camping trip that our students will remember fondly for many years to come.