Giving wings to Youth Corps fledglings

This story first appeared in The Straits Times' IN on July 7, 2014

They are young, they want to volunteer their time and skills and they cannot wait to start. But first, they need direction.

The solution? An induction programme to guide Youth Corps Singapore aspirants, explained Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of State for National Development.

Last month, 90 Youth Corps aspirants descended on Pulau Ubin for a five-day outdoor experiential learning programme, organised by the National Youth Council and Outward Bound Singapore. First-year participants are called aspirants; they will become full-fledged members, then alumni with each term of service.

Mr Lee, who is also the chairman of the Youth Corps advisory committee, said: “By giving them this opportunity to climb ropes and obstacles, they conquer themselves personally, and through the challenges, they find a common purpose with the team.”

Here are some snippets of their five-day experience.

Following their commitment ceremony at the end of the five-day induction programme, some Youth Corps aspirants took a wefie with Mr Lawrence Wong, who is Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and chairman of the National Youth Council.

A Youth Corps aspirant disembarks from a ferry on the first day of the induction programme.

Youth Corps aspirants on their way to a multi-purpose hall are greeted by a famous quote from Andre Gide, a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. The quote encourages Outward Bound Singapore participants to leave their comfort zone in order to discover new things about life.

The aspirants share stories about themselves to get to know one another better.

A two-day expedition, in which aspirants had to travel over land and sea, helped them learn how to work together. The expedition involved an outdoor challenge course, boat rowing (right) and an overnight camp.

Tackling the challenge of a high-ropes obstacle taught the aspirants the power of teamwork.