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Our Outward Bound Journey

One after another, group after group, hoards of Crescentians trudged into school with their huge camping bags, some even going to the extent of wheeling in their supplies. On 3 March 2014, the Secondary 3 students were all ready for the long-awaited 5-day Outward Bound camp, away from home on the small island named Pulau Ubin. The majority of us were excited yet apprehensive of the challenges that we were bound to face.

It was only fitting that our various groups be named after famous explorers as we were after all setting off on an ‘adventure’ unlike any other. After bidding farewell to our close friends, we broke off into our own watches. The next 5 days involved working hand-in-hand with people of different backgrounds and personalities to overcome obstacles and successfully complete the course.

The sun shone down mercilessly onto this tiny island when we arrived at our base camp. As we proceeded further into the main area of the campsite, we were introduced to a whole new surrounding which we became familiar with quickly. After a quick bite which mainly consisted of bread, biscuits and cakes, we were more or less set for our journey away from home!

Belaying/High Element
The objective of the activity was to make us learn to trust our friends as well as understand the importance of good communication. In this activity, there were many points to take note of and it was a huge responsibility as one wrong move could cause an accident. We put this skill to good use during the high elements when many of us came face-to-face with our biggest fear -- height. A battle royal waged inside those who were really afraid of heights. Fortunately, with the encouragement of the rest, they decided to conquer their inner turmoil and climb up the element. When they managed to reach the top of the element, they were grinning from ear to ear. Their sense of accomplishment of having made it to the top was beyond description.

Tent Pitching
Having a bed to sleep on every night is a luxury that all of us have. However, during the course of this camp, we had to sleep in tents. To add on, we had to pitch our own tents to sleep in. Pitching a tent was not as easy as we had thought. It required good teamwork. We broke ourselves into smaller teams so that we could pitch our tents before the sun set.
Outdoor Cooking
For many, it was our first time sitting out in the wild cooking our own dinner. Cooking outdoor was not a breeze for us because it took a long time for the food to be cooked. We had to be patient and constantly checked that the solid fuel was still burning and that the food was not burnt. After all the food had been eaten, we still had to wash our utensils and clear the area. To be able to finish these tasks quickly, teamwork was essential. By splitting up the workload, we were able to quickly pack up and start packing for the activity the next day.

Sea Expedition

The shrill cry from the alarm woke us up from our deep slumber as we dragged our bodies out into the cold morning breeze. We fumbled in the dark, preparing ourselves for the Sea Expedition to our external campsite. We had to use our newly learned skill of kayaking that we had learned the day before. Most of us started off well, but maintaining our speed and keeping up with those in front proved to be a challenge. Some of us were going really fast, while others were lagging far behind and had difficulty catching up. However, we had to keep LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND in mind. We had to look out for one another and reach out to those who needed help. Thus, we decided to strategize. We swapped partners and ultimately found ourselves travelling closely together and at a faster speed. Midway, large waves came crashing into our boats, pushing us further back even though we were paddling with all our might. The words “Girls! The waves are strong, but you are stronger!” echoed in our ears. However, exhaustion overcame us quickly. With the sky turning dark, we lost the confidence that we could reach our destination by the designated time. Nevertheless, we knew we could not give up halfway. “Come on guys! A bit more, press on! Mind over body!” As we shouted words of encouragement, we regained our confidence. We finally made it to our campsite after hours of tough fight. We were really proud of our achievement and it was through hard work and perseverance that we could reach that milestone as a team. This kayaking experience has taught us how to push ourselves to the limit and persevere till the end. When our body begins to tire out and falter, the mind has to take over. It was through 'mind over matter' that we were able to convince ourselves that we could make it. Nothing is impossible unless you tell yourself it is.

Land Expedition
“You only have 30 minutes to pack your backpacks and re-gather here otherwise we will just stay here the entire day!” Time and tide waits for no man. We gathered what was needed and split it among our teammates. After everything was given out to everyone, we secured the items to our huge backpacks and hurried over to our instructors. For our land expedition, we had a couple of checkpoints to meet, and we had to reach each one by a certain time, failing which we would have to do a re-route. Time was of paramount importance for this expedition. At the same time, we had to complete this challenge together as a team. The only setback of this expedition was not the distance but the heavy backpacks we had to carry that weighed about 15kg each. Even before we started out on our journey, we felt as though our backs were about to break any moment. Under the blazing sun we trudged, for hours but it was worth the while as we marvel at the beautiful scenery, got to know Pulau Ubin and its residents better, finally understanding and appreciating the place they call home. Although the journey was tough we grew to support each other and share the burden "all for one and one for all" was our motto. We made the most of every moment, lifting one another's spirit by cheering and singing loudly like we own the island. Surprisingly, it was through this tough journey that we learnt about 'strength in unity'.

Our time in Pulau Ubin was running out and the 5 days we had spent together as a team was coming to an end. We started the camp with the reluctance to face the many challenges, but left this island a stronger person, both physically and mentally. The laughter we shared while cooking in the dark will remind us not to take for granted what we already have. The tears we shed out in the open sea will serve as reminder that we are much stronger than what we seem to be. The footprints we left behind during trekking will remind us how, together, we can make what seem tiring, both fun and memorable. All the laughter, tears, and sweat we shared together throughout this course have really taught us many life lessons that cannot be learned just by reading our textbooks. Just like caterpillars shedding off our cocoon that protected us from harm, we fought hard to reach our goals and finally emerged as a beautiful butterfly, a stronger fighter and a better leader. It was through endurance and hard work that we could finally spread our wings and soar up high! Outward Bound Camp has really pushed us to our limits, and allowed us to see the hidden potential possessed within each individual. The memories we have created at different corners of this island will be forever remembered by every Crescentian who conquered the storm and found a rainbow at the end of it. It is certainly not all about the goals. It is about the journey, the skills we have picked up, the friendships we have forged and the memories we have etched in our minds.

Keller HOUSE Publicity Committee 2014