Equipping Students with Survival Skills: Han Chiang High School Organises Life Camp to Cultivate Students’ Self-reliance

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi
On January 20, 2024, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC) conducted a life camp at Han Chiang High School to equip participants with essential survival skills. The event aims to cultivate students’ self-reliance, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities.
A total of 40 participants including students from Han Chiang High School, Jit Sin High School and volunteers from PYDC, engaged in activities such as knot tying, outdoor cooking, crafting small tools, map skills, obstacle crossing, and understanding Morse codes. The day-long intensive training program concluded at 5.30 p.m., leaving participants with enjoyable and enriching experiences as they embarked on their journey home.
At eight in the morning, the teachers divided the students into eight teams and gave a quick rundown of the activities they would be participating in. First, they had to tie knots. Specifically, they learned how to make a reef knot, used to bind bandages. Following that, they had a quick break and went for lunch at the canteen. Second, since building campfires and cooking in the backcountry is a crucial survival skill, they were taught how to do so. Over the fire, they grilled chicken and made eggs.
They began eating lunch at the canteen at 12:30 p.m. As the participants share experiences and create new friendships over a substantial lunch, utensil clatter and laughter reverberate throughout the space. The attendees had to learn about compass-bearing after enjoying the warming food. They gained helpful skills by learning how to travel through woodlands. The pupils start building camp gadgets, or buildings created at camp out of sticks and stings, at 2:30 pm. The kids tried a lot before coming up with an impressive camp device, because, as they say, practice makes perfect. Participants learn how to foster teamwork among themselves through this activity. Lastly, participants get to learn how to use walkie-talkies for communication. Walkie-talkie comes in handy when you are in a low-signal area. Therefore, learning this skill is crucial.
The closing ceremony is held around 4.45 pm. Together, the participants cleaned up the mess. Before ending, the camp organisers, Mr Goh and Ms Ong delivered a speech, believing that participants had gained knowledge and wonderful experiences throughout the entire camp. Finally, at 5.30 pm, the Survival Quest Day Camp had come to an end. Participants went home.
Students’ Opinion About the Camp
Yeoh Zi Yu, an active participant from PYDC shared her motivation to acquire new skills through enrollment in the programme. In the course, Zi Yu found the tie knot activity particularly captivating as it provided valuable insights into bandaging techniques for assisting injured individuals. Zi Yu commends the scouts for their willingness to assist without reservation, expressing genuine delight about being part of the camp. She looks forward to acquiring additional skills in future camps and events.
Tan Yen Ying, a spirited student from Han Chiang High School, enthusiastically shared her remarkable experience participating in this program. She described the event as an immersive blend of education and hands-on activities, with the culinary segment emerging as a standout highlight. Yen Ying vividly conveyed the newfound skills and confidence she acquired, illustrating how the camp became a catalyst for her personal growth. Yen Ying also emphasised the camp’s distinctive nature, urging others to consider joining in the future. She highlighted not only the expansion of her knowledge but also the cultivation of lasting memories and connections.
A volunteer from PYDC named Hiew Qi Ying joined this programme to accompany her friend. By doing that, she gained some new knowledge and learned new skills. For example, she was able to make basic knots and gadgets; she even learned how to cook by roasting chicken on a campfire her team prepared. She also faced some troubles as she was worried about letting her team down since she didn’t have any scouting experience. Moreover, she felt she had quite an exciting time at the programme by meeting and interacting with new friends, mastering new techniques and building teamwork. Besides that, she befriended an Indian girl called Asmitha by becoming her translator as she didn’t know Malay or Chinese, making that the most memorable part of the day.
Other than that, Eng E-Jean from Jit Sin High School participated in the programme because of encouragement from her school. She was particularly excited to learn backwoods cooking as she thinks it is an essential skill to know when surviving in the wild. Furthermore, she described the details of making a campfire and ways to handle the fire. However, she felt that communication during the programme was challenging since there were different ethnicities with different spoken languages. Although that was a problem, she solved it by encouraging everyone to speak in English so everyone would understand. She also learned the meaningful value of teamwork and cooperation through discussing and separating members to do tasks when doing group activities. In addition, she was very proud to represent her school to partake in this programme and wishes to teach her newly learnt skills to her friends at school. She highly recommends others to join this kind of programme as it is very beneficial and fun.
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