For Physical Recreation, I will be writing about kayaking, preparation and the 4days 3nights kayaking journey to Kukup Island.
For physical recreation, I will be writing the training phase that I undergo for the preparation for my 4 days 3 nights Kayaking Trip from Singapore to Kukup Island. I was a part of the team of 20 instructors from CAMP CHALLENGE.
I have been kayaking months before the actual kayaking trip. Training period was though yet exciting and fun as I got to bond and get to know my teammates more. With every training, we had, we overcome many different obstacles like tiredness and also strengthen our strength and weakness to compromise to each other differences. We did a lot of things like how to capsize and how to properly use the paddles so that we could glide through the water. Also, learnt how to turn our kayak properly while paddling and just being stationary. We even had dragon boating as one of our training session as to try out on our teamwork.
Nearer to the date for the Kukup trip, I was super-duper excited as this is my first time going on a trip this long with a bunch of friends (instructors). We kayak a total of near 86km or more! It was an achievement unlocked to me! It was a very long journey.With all my colleagues in CAMP CHALLENGE, we started this long, tiring but fun trip. I still remember how tiring it was as there were strong currents and we had to paddle hard and fight against the currents. I even got the chance to kayak through a storm that lasted for about 3-4 hours?! That was the main excitement of the trip. There were many kayaks that capsized due to strong wind and current, but my partner and I have very strong determination that we will never capsize. Never. And we did it! We were even the top 3 teams to reach to the ending point. And I say, it was a very long and tiring journey. I am glad to have my kayaking buddy with me as he really cheered me on all the way. He told me not to give up and while paddling, we talked about life and everything under the sun to keep ourselves distracted. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I can make it all the way to Kukup. But other than my buddy, the rest of the team also contributed a lot of fun and laughter throughout the trip. I even got to know more friends and their dirty secrets! This is definitely the best experience thus far.
- 4 days & 3 nights kayaking expedition.
- Per day, 8 hours of kayaking, not including meal time.
For Residential Project, I will be writing about planning and designing a 3-hour kayaking program for individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for RAINBOW Centre.
For my residential project, our objective is to plan and design a 3 hour kayaking program for individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for Rainbow Centre. Inclusive program is where individuals with disability can still participate in activities that abled people participates in.
Our team did a site visit to Rainbow Centre and did a case study to get to know our potential clients. Thus we know their current capabilities and factors to look out for while amending the programme to include them. The student that I have look out for, his name is JunKang. He is an autistic kid. Age of 8. His modes of communication are verbal receptive (2 to 3 step instruction level) and expressive (commanding, commenting, questioning, requesting) and visual aids (instructions supported with pictures).
The profile of our participants are students of Rainbow Centre who are autistic. Each child is unique in their own ways ranging from low to moderate cognitive skills, low to moderate functionality skills. We had 15 students but only 14 who participated in our programme that we had come out with, 3 hours of kayaking. To participate in the programme, a selection phase was conducted by teachers from Rainbow Centre by understanding their profile, their need and want and their severity of their condition. The age ranges from 7 years old to 15 years old. The profile then given to us are based on their likes and dislikes so as to take note on their special needs. As well as their mode of communication that is verbal or pictures and photos to aid explanations for majority. And there are profiles with self-regulation given, to what I notice, these profiles are the ones which need more attention.
Process of developing a prototype
After having a basic understanding about what autistic is all about, our team paid a visit to Rainbow Centre to mingle with the special need students as well as the teacher in charge to understand about the profile of the students that we will be taking charge for our kayaking programme. During the visit, we came out with questions for the teacher as well as the participants to understand how they work and behave in the outdoors and what to take note if there are any outbreaks. Other than speaking with the teachers there, we get to interact and bond with the participant too. At the same time we got to join them in their class and observe how they engaged in class. From what I observe, my student is very active and lively to everything he’s doing. With all the information gathered, our team sat down and discuss our findings and observation from the various students that we were attached with and discuss the possible ways to conduct a programme that is catered to these group of special needs students. As our project is to come out with a 3-hour kayaking program that suits their needs and necessity. By consolidating fun into it, and at the same time for us to deliver our objective for kayaking to them. Which is to allow the participants to engage in the outdoors like how the abled children are able to. We throw out ideas such as boat racing, bum boat game, collecting of colour ball challenge. With every activities we come out with there will be some deficiency to it as to suit the profile of the participants. Our team agreed on the delivery of our message to the students to use simplified words, short and easy as our team noted that these students learn and communicate well through one word to short sentence. We get to understand with the teachers help that they engage the best with visual aids such as pictures and one words. With much discussion, our team decided to use the collection of coloured balls as our main activity for our program, simple and easy for them to understand the objective too. First stage will be introducing of the kayaks, paddle and the PFD. Then, get them comfortable on the kayak in the water. Afterwards, we release the coloured balls for them to collect. Lastly, we’ll do a debrief for the programme. The students are autistic and they can get overwhelm or excited due to the new environment which may cause them to be rowdy or hyper-active. Deployment of manpower to assist us in the programme, we ask the other two team that are also involve in the programme to help out.
With the arrival of the participants, check their medical condition; are they feeling okay. Then we’ll proceed to the safety briefing for participants, warm up. Put on their PFDs. Before the start of the main activity, introduce them with the kayaks and paddle. Lastly, the main activity and finish off with debrief.
I will be using FAMME (Functional Approach for Modifying Movement Experiences), Kasser and Lytle (2005), model to aim at the inclusive of all abilities in our activity which is a 3-hour kayaking session for the autistic children.
There are 4 steps procedure in the FAMME model.
Step 1: Determine underlying of skills
The skills that are needed in our kayaking activity are eye-hand coordination, strength, balance and posture. The purpose of kayaking is to move the boat forward in the water. To move the boat forward, the upper arm should straighten as the paddle enters the water and as soon as the paddle blade is completely buried, the low shoulder should pull back to power the stroke. When paddling, having eye-hand coordination is needed to make sure that the boat move. Strength on the other hand is to help in line together with eye-hand coordination. For balance and posture, sitting up straight, stretching forward and not slouching on the seat back are crucial for boat control, good body rotation and strong paddling.
However, where an autistic individual has difficulty in their coordination, modification is to be made. To make the activity simple and fun to understand the children just have to row the boat forward.
Step 2 : Determine current capabilities of the individual
In this section, I’ll be only focusing on one individual. The current capabilities of the individuals have less strength, balanced and coordination. Our team was given a brief review and understanding of our children. Then we got a chance to notice and observe on the day when we visited Rainbow Centre of the children. ‘Max’ is an 8 year old boy who have a moderate level of understanding. He is very loud and tend to get excited easily to things that are new to him. Max doesn’t like it when things doesn’t goes as plan, he’ll then start to hype up and start to lose control. So the teacher in-charge told us that there is a way to calm him down. Which is to ask him to do the ‘Turtle Control’ that will calm him down. He has an injury on his right arm where it resulted him to not able to straighten his arm. He’s mode of communications are verbal receptive (2 to 3 step instruction level) and expressive (commanding, commenting, questioning, requesting) and visual aids (instructions supported with pictures). We were also able to interact with Max to understand how he will roughly react on the day of the program.
Through the understanding of the participant (Max), we made some modification in generalized.
Step 3 : Match modification efforts to capabilities
We collect all the data we know from various children and came out with a final and generalized modified kayaking program. The kayaks that we use are inflatable floating kayaks to let them have a similar experience while as on a real kayak. The inflatable floating kayaks have lesser chance of capsizing. The paddle we used are a smaller and lighter paddles that suited the participants profile as they do not have much strength. The PFD (personal flotation device) are smaller and inflatable too to suit their physical size and needs. These are the modification made for the equipment.
As for the program, due to their level of understand, we use visual aids to assist us in communicating with the participants. Every visual aids consist of big coloured and simple picture with short words.Then we include coloured balls (primary colours like red, blue, and green, yellow) in our activity to let them have fun and at the same time help them in their cognitive thinking of recognizing colours and matching them with the rest of the balls and collecting them. During the briefing of introducing the kayaks and the equipment, we use lots of action and minimize and simplified the words we use to convey our instructions to the participants. To even capture their attention we used big inflatable beach ball.
They will be able to experience kayaking at the same time have fun. These modification also let them work on their physical motor skill and as well cognitively.
Step 4 : Evaluate modification effectiveness
After the execution, I concluded that the modification of the equipment are a success to our program. This is being said with the looks and feedback from the participants, parents, teacher and our instructors. The modified kayak used was able to include more than 2 people in and that makes an instructor abled to follow a participant on the kayak into the water. The paddle used for the participants are just right in size. The participants were able to paddle and move the kayak forward.
Next, the effectiveness of the program was a success too. At the end of the day, there were smiles from the participants and feedbacks from the parents were great. “My son enjoyed rowing of the boat. And from the action he gave, I can see that he enjoyed a lot.”- One of the participant’s dad. (Post-Execution Fieldnote) The participants are able to identify and recognize what colour ball they have and are able to collect them all.
In conclusion, it is a success that our modification works. If there are more opportunity in the future, we can share our program.
- Gather group member during August.
- 3 Months prior of weekly meetings to distribute roles and updates. 1-2 hours of meeting each time every Thursday.
- During the month October, visit Rainbow Centre to understand more about the participants profile.
- During November, design and plan with data and logistics.
- December, Execution and evaluation.
For Skills, I will be writing about the experience I had and things I have learnt during my poly life and internship with CAMP CHALLENGE.
For Skills segment, I will be writing the skills I had achieved throughout my years in Republic Polytechnic (RP), CAMP CHALLENGE (CC). I took Diploma of Outdoor Adventures Learning in RP and have gain skills which I had never thought I would engage myself with. During Year 1, I obtain certificate of Climbing Level 1 during my curriculum. Year 2, was Water based, Kayaking Star 1 and 2, Abseiling Level 1. The skills that I took happened every once or twice a week. Obtaining the skills with my peers was the greatest time of my life as I am bless to have peers that never gives up on each other and we persevere together as a team. Every year we had 2 semester and with every semester we changed classes. Thus the people that gone through each and every skills with me was different and yet interesting to work with. I am glad we had each other’s back. The tough time for me was when I was getting my Kayaking certificate as I can’t swim and being in the water actually scares me a lot. Friends will actually stayed back with me to practice kayaking with me and boost my confidence up in kayaking confidently. That touched me as I know they have my back.
During my last year with RP, I had internship with CC. There were only 5 students (including me) that got deployed in CC for out internship. CAMP CHALLENGE is a company that facilitate character development though their programmes (camps). Skills that I had obtained was being used during the camps that I was deployed. That put into good use and it was a stranger to me as I am proficiency to do so.I learned more skills with CC, like Communication skills and also Trekking/Hiking through the programmes and camps I did. Throughout the camp, we did a lot of prepping with logistics and also check-in before the camp happened which is the next day. The reason why we check-in before the day before the camp was so we are mentally and physically ready and into the 3days 2night camp the next day. Having the responsibly to lead a group of kids for their first camp (mostly), to let them experience on how to survive and to look out in the outdoors.
- Sports Climb Certification level 1 – During climbing module with DOAL
- High Element sessions spread over 18 months – Per session duration is 2.5 hours to 4 hours.
- Twice per week for high element session for youth programmes.
- Kayaking Certification – 1&2 Star (During Water Module with DOAL)
For Adventurous Journey, I will be writing about my 5 days 4 nights’trek to Mount Stong.
I wish I can rewind the time and experience this again. After the Kayaking trip to Kukup Island, CAMP CHALLENGE organised another Adventurous Journey and this time it is to trek to Mount Stong! I thought of climbing mountain before this trip and I’ve never thought it will happen so soon and the fact that I will be able to reach the summit.
The scale of the team became smaller and there were roughly 10-12 of us that signed up. There were 3 phases for the trek, Preparation, Trekking and Post-Trekking phase. Tons of training was put into preparation for the trek to Mount Stong. As this time the main physical part of our body that was activated (or I should say more emphasised) are on our legs.
We were told that we are supposed to do all the preparation from scratch. There were many things that needs to be taken into hands, the administration, food rational, logistics, safety evacuation plan and more. Everyone is given a role on what is to done for the trek. And I got the role of being the Administration IC, together with a friend (someone that have experienced) we handled all the administrative stuff on booking tickets, writing down the minutes for every meeting we had etc. My role was manageable as I have someone experience guiding me along. We did a lot of training in prep for the actual trek. Each and every one of us did our job diligently and we helped for one another. We got our food rations ready, logistics ready with helps from RP on the bag packs.
As the day arrived, we were ready to depart from Singapore with a chartered bus to Mount Stong. When we got to the base of the mountain, I was super excited and at the same time nervous for what’s coming for me for the entire journey. Our aim is to reach our base on the mountain before the sun set. We trekked for 3 hours till we reached a waterfall, and it was the most beautiful water I had seen up closed. Just when we wanted to take a group picture, I had a slip and fell into the water. That was the most hilarious part of the journey! I was half wet and my shoes were worn off. I thought “Good luck to me for the rest of the Trekking. Just don’t fall again, please!” I was originally afraid that I would pull down the team as I need to be cautious with every steps that I take, because I don’t want to fall again. Surprisingly everything was fine to the base of the mountain. There wasn’t and hiccups throughout the day. The moment we reached the base, we were all exhausted. But our leader said that we still have things to do, which is to set up the tents and prepare our dinner. It was actually a fun procedure as we all have a role and everyone was helping each other. Got things done fast and in a blink of an eye, its dinner! Day 2, we were told that we don’t have to bring our backpacks, just a day pack to put our essentials and off we trek to the peak of Mount Stong. Everything when smoothly till the sun set. There was a heavy rain pour! Worst time to rain, We got to shift all our bags into the tent and keep everything dry. Sadly, 2 of our tents got wet and we were to sleep in only one tent with 10 people. Crazy! Take note that we are all adults, but we manage and brave through the cold and squeezes. Our last day, We trek down with our backpacks and I was dead tired but I am glad my friends got my back and we cheer each other up. Finally with all the whines that I had, we reached to the bottom of the base!
I am glad I finished the expedition, with my dear friends! I am surprised that I did it. The most beautiful sight that I had seen was the smile on everyone faces when we reached the summit.
After another ride, back to Singapore, we started to unpack all the logistics and separate the dirtied stuff that needs to be washed. When everything is done, we all had a fruitful MacBreakfast to end the day! We check-out on the next day with our experiences and I am glad I have this bunch of friends to complete the trek with me.
- 2 Months prior of weekly meetings to distribute roles and updates. 1-2 hours of meeting each time.
- Every Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays are physical training sessions for 2 hours.
- Once a month, to purchase logistics needed for trek. Takes up about half a day.
- 19th September – 23rd September
- 3 Days 2 Nights trek up Mount Stong.
- 2 Days of travelling 10 hours bus ride back and fro.
- First day trek up to base camp took 4 hours.
- Second day trek up to summit took 8 hours back and forth in total.
- Third day trek was descending Mount Stong, taking up 4 hours.
- Cleaning, washing and packing up of logistics took about 2 hours.
- Debrief and conclusion took 1 hour.
For Service, I will be writing about volunteering in Charity Event, Pro-Bono programmes.
I have volunteered in many Pro-bono camp with CAMP CHALLENGE and some events. I remember that the most memorable event was for a charity carnival for a neighbourhood, and with the money we collected, we bought essentials home used equipment for family with financial difficulties.
We had some try out on the activities that we will be doing on the days of the event. The try outs were held at the site of CAMP CHALLENGE. I was in charge of getting people from the park or anyone to come join our try outs to explain to them, what we are doing is for charity. Many preparations was needed to be done as we start out from scratched.
On top of volunteering for Charity Event, I have also volunteered for programmes with Boys Home, Deaf Community etc. The experience was awesome! I felt satisfied to see all the participants enjoying themselves while doing the activities we conducted. They are so simple and I learnt a lot from them.
- Pro-bono programmes done are usually high elements or low elements, 1 day session.
- Per session is one full day. From 10AM-5PM. 7 hours.
- Volunteered for Youth at risk, Deaf association, Special needs, Boys town, Children’s aid society, Melrose Home, Student care services, Minds & many more.