Parents get first-hand taste of OBS experience

Parents celebrate after completing a task in which everyone has to pass a ball to the next person at the same time without dropping any of the balls. Engineer Derick Choo, 46, and other parents work together, using planks and blocks to move from one
Madam Lay Wai Pui, 43, a homemaker, and other parents taking part in an activity in which teams use two planks to move from one point to another, as part of the 200 second challenge – a series of three tasks to be completed within 200 seconds at the Open House at OBS Ubin on Oct 21.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Parents celebrate after completing a task in which everyone has to pass a ball to the next person at the same time without dropping any of the balls. Engineer Derick Choo, 46, and other parents work together, using planks and blocks to move from one
Engineer Derick Choo, 46, and other parents work together, using planks and blocks to move from one point to another. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Mr Neo Gim Huah (left), 52, who is self-employed, and other parents taking part in the raft escape activity, using planks and blocks to move as a team.
From left: Freelance photographer Lee Chin Chuen, 48, homemaker Madam Kavitha, 42, and accountant Jannath Birdhouse, 40, pass a hula hoop with hands linked.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Parents celebrate after completing a task in which everyone has to pass a ball to the next person at the same time without dropping any of the balls. Engineer Derick Choo, 46, and other parents work together, using planks and blocks to move from one
Parents celebrate after completing a task in which everyone has to pass a ball to the next person at the same time without dropping any of the balls.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Parents celebrate after completing a task in which everyone has to pass a ball to the next person at the same time without dropping any of the balls. Engineer Derick Choo, 46, and other parents work together, using planks and blocks to move from one
Mr Neo Gim Huah (left), 52, who is self-employed, and other parents taking part in the raft escape activity, using planks and blocks to move as a team.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Open House helps parents understand programme, gets them to actively support their children in attending camp

If their children can climb, row and dive, so too can the parents.

On Oct 21, Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) had parents try out activities usually undertaken by 15-year-old students at OBS camps.

The Open House at OBS Ubin was organised with the Ministry of Education (MOE) as part of OBS' 50th anniversary celebrations.

More than 150 parents participated in climbing, jetty jumping and rowing, as well as team-based challenges such as the team maze. These activities are included in the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 Programme.

The event was organised to help parents understand the MOE-OBS programme better, and to get parents to actively support their children in attending OBS camps.

That Saturday, the parents were also taken on a tour of the compound and saw facilities such as team tents, where their children would sleep, and outdoor cooking areas.

Mr Alex Tan, a father of one, said that while his 14-year-old girl has not attended OBS camps yet, being involved in the event solidified his conviction that such programmes are essential to a child's education.

MAKING FRIENDS AT CAMP

He used to be very quiet and did not have many friends, but since he's been through OBS, he stays in close contact with his OBS friends and is more open and sociable now.

MADAM NUREJAH RABIN, on her son, 15, who attended an MOE-OBS programme.

The 49-year-old said he has fond memories of his own time attending a corporate OBS programme when he was working with Singapore Airlines.

"The activities were very tiring and challenging, and it is only because we helped each other out and supported each other that we were able to complete the challenges," he said.

Madam Nurejah Rabin, 39, a mother of three children, said her eldest child, 15, went through a five-day MOE-OBS programme recently.

She said her son, who is a member of his school's drama club, "used to be very quiet and did not have many friends, but he stays in close contact with friends he made at the OBS camps and is more open and sociable now".

MOE said it will start a new five-day OBS expedition-based camp from 2020 onwards as part of a National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan. OBS' Coney Island campus is expected to be ready by then, in addition to the present campus on Pulau Ubin.

Secondary 3 students are expected to undergo the camp which is to provide students here with more opportunities to benefit from outdoor education, the ministry announced last year.

Under the masterplan, students will get to participate in three cohort camps during their school years.

Students currently participate in at least two MOE camps - one in upper primary and another in secondary school. At these camps, they learn to prepare simple meals, set up shelters and assess risks in the outdoors.

Madam Nurejah said programmes like the OBS camps teach children to be resilient and courageous, and also force children to look beyond their digital devices.

She said her son used to spend all his time indoors but now heads outdoors to play with his friends.

"Now, he wants to go out and do adventurous activities, not just play games alone at home."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2017, with the headline 'Parents get first-hand taste of OBS experience'. Print Edition | Subscribe