Don't let one incident spoil school camps

Students participating in outdoor adventure activities at Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre.
Students participating in outdoor adventure activities at Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

Some schools say going to camp is compulsory but, in reality, parents have the last word on whether their child will attend the camp (Don't make school expedition camps compulsory, Feb 5).

Expeditions and camps offer youth the opportunity to work with people of all ages, thus building inter-generational relationships and forging lasting friendships.

Overnight campers learn to take care of themselves, trust adults other than their parents and carers, and forge new friendships.

Many campers enjoy this new-found independence and recognise the need to look after themselves, one another and their environment.

A good camp facilitator is equipped to engage students in a variety of settings, while developing and building upon their personal competencies.

These competencies, such as communication skills, team-building skills, conflict management, leadership skills, the ability to overcome limitations and personal growth, will help shape our children's futures.

At camps, young people are also exposed to a range of activities that they might not have tried before.

Often, when children are not under the supervision of their parents or carers, they will display a more adventurous spirit.

Teacher involvement is vital to every successful camp.

Our students have the opportunity to form relationships through first-hand experiences with trained, caring adults and experience a sense of achievement in a supervised, safe and positive environment.

While there may be instances of some adult supervisors exhibiting negative behaviours, we should not eliminate overnight camping altogether.

We must explore and introduce new measures to ensure that only good and qualified adult supervisors are appointed.

We should not allow one incident to create a blanket ban on camps that are useful for the development of the child.

Delane Lim

Secretary-General,

Outdoor Learning & Adventure Education Association

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2019, with the headline 'Don't let one incident spoil school camps'. Print Edition | Subscribe