Students can now resume overnight stays at Outward Bound Singapore camps

Students participating in the OBS programme at Pulau Ubin on July 28, 2022. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Secondary 3 students who sign up for Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) programmes can now stay the night at camps for the first time in two years.

The move to restart residential camps comes amid an ongoing relaxation of Covid-19 linked rules.

OBS conducted day camps and suspended overnight stays in 2021 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, residential camps will be part of the two-day programme at any of the four OBS camps - two are in Pulau Ubin, one in East Coast Park and another in Changi.

The full five-day programme will resume next year.

About 20,000 Secondary 3 students from 80 schools are expected to participate in the programme, which runs from May to November.

Speaking on Thursday (July 28) to reporters at the end of a two-day camp for 171 Sembawang Secondary School students at Pulau Ubin, Mr B. Elamaaran, OBS director of programmes and partnerships, said students gain much from staying the night with their peers.

For instance, they learn to pitch tents, cook dinner together, prepare for the next day's activities and bond together, he said.

“Some students don’t want to come back after the first day for non-residential camps. Some may say they are sick. The philosophy of the camp gets lost in that,” Mr Elamaaran added.

“For residential camps, they know that they have to work together for two days, regardless of whether they like it or not. They learn to cooperate and the experience may even deepen their friendships.”

On the first day of their camp, Sembawang Secondary School students had to undertake a four-hour-long trek into the island's dense jungle, starting from OBS Pulau Ubin campsite and navigating rough jungle terrain with the use of a compass and a map, which they had to learn to use.

On the second day, they embarked on a rowing expedition to the second OBS campsite on the island, about a kilometre away.

The students said they enjoyed the activities, with some wanting to try more outdoor sports after participating in the camp.

One of them, Sheryl Airina David, 15, said: "My family doesn't really do activities like these, so I got the chance to try out a lot of things I've never done before."

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