Sunday, 30 September 2007

1-Star Kayak Course

On 22 - 23 September 2007, 4 Scouts, a Venture Scout and a Leader attended the 1-Star Kayaking Course at Kallang Basin. It was conducted by Leaders from Southern Waves Sea Scouts who were certified coaches with the Singapore Canoe Federation. The aim of the course was to introduce beginners to the sport of kayaking in a safe and enjoyable way.

At the end of the course, we would be trained and certified for kayaking in Flat Waters (not in the open sea). We learnt the theory and techniques of basic kayaking using the single seat closed cockpit kayaks. The key emphasis was on safety measures to take when kayaking. The rationale is that kayaking can only be enjoyed when all are safe.

This are the things we learnt:
  • Basic equipment, including features of a kayak
  • Basic safety issues
  • Lifting and carrying
  • Launching and coming ashore
  • Disembarking and embarking
  • Forward paddle a circuit of 100m with directional control
  • Reverse paddle a circuit of 25m with directional control
  • Stopping
  • Forward and reverse sweep strokes
There were other skills which I personally thought were the highlights of our course:

CAPSIZE DRILL
The purpose of this was to increase our confidence in the water during a capsize and how to get help.

360-DEGREE TURN
This skill helps us control our kayak and turn it 360-degrees on the same spot, using sweep strokes.

CLASSIC- & J-DRAW
The most hated skill, but it enables us to move our kayak sideways without having to paddle in a circle to raft. If this is not used carefully, it may cause one to capsize.

EMPTYING OF WATER (ALONE)
This is especially important when there are no other people around. This is done on the shore.

RAFTED 'T-X' RESCUE
The most important skill of all, how to rescue someone who had capsized with the assistance of another rescuer. Some of us even tried the One-man 'T-X' rescue!

Before we headed back to shore, we did an introduction to 2-Star skills of using the Stern Rudder (going in a straight line) and Low Recovery.

Overall, I think all of us had fun. Although it was quite tiring. Our reward: We all PASSED and are now Officially 1-Star Certified!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Akela Award 2007

Yippee! The day has come, all the hard work that we had put it has finally paid off and not down the drain.

Today was the day that Calvin, Snow, Matt, Dom, Shark and I received the Akela Award (with honours) out of the 12 cubs in Singapore who did! Jem (and KZJ who was absent - how could he?! He was the only one absent among 72 people!) received the Akela Award (with merit) out of 22 in Singapore; Zab and Kenny were among the 38 others who received the Akela Award. All of us were very pleased with ourselves. See the nice summary below:
Although we did not arrive on time (not a good thing) the day ended on a good note. The moment we entered the hall, we immediately joined in the rehearsal. Although it was only the rehearsal, I was rather nervous. Over there, a leader and a venture told us the areas we could improve in.

After the briefing a Singing Cricket, a leader from Poi Ching Falcons went through the Scout Hymn and lead us in some songs accompanied with his guitar while waiting for the guests to arrive. He played the guitar really well.

When the time for the actual Award presentation came, my heart was beating really fast. I was so worried that I might screw up by shaking with the wrong hand or worse still, burp in front of the GOH's face. When my name was called, my mum took some photos of me. I was so tensed. I shouted out "Sir!" and started marching towards the stage.

That was over, but now I was even more worried. The time to give my speech was near. I met Mr Hoe backstage and he told me to relax and stay calm. "Good Afternoon... blah blah blah" I delivered it rather quickly though and then made yet another quick exit through the backstage and quickly joined my fellow cubs to sing the Scout Hymn.
After the ceremony had ended Mrs Mano congratulated us and took a group photo. We had to make it quick. She had to rush off for a meeting. We then had some light refreshments and went down to the conference room. We were then dismissed. I went to look for my parents snapped some photos and went home.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Over To You, Sixers!

The 3rd Sixer's Council is now officially fully functioning. They took over the "Over To You" segment of the Scout Meeting today with a familiar repertoire of songs and yells. This is indeed a great start.

The Scouts who are mentoring them observed from behind and were rather impressed.

In Council, this week's Leadership Lesson by GSL is on Communication, one of the 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader. The Sixers learnt that Communication becomes faulty for 5 reasons, namely:
  • Leaving out / Ignoring details in the message to be communicated
  • Allowing others to influence more than the communicator (leader) resulting in change in the message
  • Failing to hold oneself accountable for communication
  • Forgetting what was said about the consequence of disobedience
  • Not taking responsibility for the results of faulty communication

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Intergenerational Bonding Camp

We were sure it was going to be quite an exciting day. When we arrived at the Sarimbun campsite, things were already under control by InnoTrek. After a short administrative briefing and ice-breakers, each of the 10 groups were paired with their "Seniors in Scouting" before we headed with growling stomachs to lunch at the main dining hall.

I was attached to Group 2 and helped them in the various challenges and difficulties they encountered and taught them that perseverance through it and enjoying the activities were more important then winning.

During free time, the service scouts were allowed to rest in the Commissioners' Lodge. Shaun and I could not find our groups after our break so we missed Kim's Game. My group got 115 points for it! Impressive. Scavenger Hunt was up next, Sampson caught a frog before the game and was forced to free it before we started.

That's alright, we managed to gather all the items and still caught another toad at the end, earning 150 + 10 bonus points. As the sky grew dark, it was time for dinner... and then the highlight of the camp itself: Campfire!

The Campfire was quite ok. The guest of honour, Deputy Chief Commissioner Mr Tan Cheng Kiong opened it with a speech on how difficult it was to get Seniors in Scouting but when we do have them, to cherish them because they have a lot of experience and can show us grandparent-ly love.

We didn't know most of the songs, but like what we learnt from FISH, we chose to have a positive attitude and played through clapping and humming. Turned out we enjoyed the campfire better than everyone else did. We learnt quite a lot through being present at this 1-day Camp too. Before we left the campsite, Vigilant Falcon and I went around the MPH to pick up litter. When Michael saw us, he said we were great Scouts and quoted Lord Baden Powell as saying "A Scout always leaves a place better then the way he found it". We made his day, and he made ours.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Civil Defence Proficiency Badge Course

On 6th September 2007, 4 scouts and 2 ventures from our unit attended the Civil Defence Course at the Civil Defence 3rd division in Yishun. The course was divided in to two main parts: Fire Safety and First Aid.

Fire Safety
Fire safety is everybody's responsibility. There are 3 things needed for fire to burn: Heat, Fuel and Oxygen. Conversely there are 3 ways to extinguish fire: Cooling, Smothering and Starvation. Fires are generally categorised into 4 classes, namely A - Ordinary combustible materials, B - Flammable liquids, C - Fire involving live electrical main and appliances, D - Combustible metals. To fight these fires, we need to use the correct of the 3 types of fire extinguishers available. The main ingredients of each are water, carbon dioxide and dry chemical powder. We also learned the things to take note of when one discovers a fire or when one is trapped in a fire.

We would have completed a practical component to this part of the course, had it not been raining in the morning.

First-Aid
First aid is the first treatment given to a causality to preserve life and to prevent the condition from deteriorating. We learned how to transport causality with a stretcher and how to make a stretcher when there is none readily available. We then learnt to put together a complete first aid kit; about bleeding, fractures and wounds, burns and scalds; and the correct treatment for each scenario.

After the 2 lectures, we watched an episode of PCK on Total Defence. The course was then concluded with a 15-question test. We will have to answer 12 questions right in order to pass the course.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

District Event Badges

Hi all,

We will soon be collating orders for the Yishun District Events Badges. The set of 4 badges (which features a glow-in-the-dark fleur-de-lys when put together) is being sold at S$3.00 per set.

Do consider and let us know your interest at the next Scout meeting after the September vacation.

Istana, The Final Installment

Tonight was the final installment of the series of NDP 07 Appreciation Dinners. It was hosted by Chief Scout President Nathan himself at the Istana, who remembered to shake my left hand. In his short but very sincere speech of appreciation, he outlined how the NDP 2007 was spectacular for him personally and told all of us to convey his appreciation and thanks to everyone else who had worked with us, participated and played a big role in the success of the parade this year.

So to the 6 Scouts and 2 Ventures... the President sends his thanks! He also said he hoped to see us again next year. I have doubts.

Total Defence Course (Bronze Module)

At first, we struggled to complete our Human Sculpture
which was suppposed to depict our idea of Total Defence
On 1st September 2007, 7 scouts from our unit attended the Total Defence Course (Bronze Module) at the Scout Headquarters in Bishan. It was conducted by GSL, Fiery Serpent. The purpose of the course was to create an awareness of, and educate us on the 5 aspects of Total Defence. It helped us understand the importance of each aspects and what important roles we play as individuals to practice Total Defence.

Five Aspects of Total Defence are:

Psychological Defence
We have learnt that this is the most important yet most difficult to promote. The Psychological Defence of Total Defence rests upon the people's pride, patriotism and loyalty to the country, and their commitment to it and its defence in time of crisis.

Social Defence
For Social Defence, Singaporeans are required to practice racial and religous tolorance. And there is also equal opportunities regardless of race language or religeon.

Economic Defence
In the Economic Defence, we help develop emergency plans and also learn to organise ourselves. Singapore should be always prepared and have enough stockpiles of food and water and we must also know how to set up a system to mobilise and share resources when needed.

Civil Defence
In Civil Defence, the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) teaches the people how to do simple things like first-aiding and how to fight fire.

Military Defence
Lastly, the Military Defence. Singapore spends 6% of the Gross Domestic Product for researching, training and equiping the army. The national service in Singapore was introduced in 1967 to draft all young males for military training and a reserve force was built.
Finally we made it! Like Total Defence, it is not easy and will take time to perfect.
Our Human Sculpture shows how Singapore's success as a nation (top guy) is upheld by the five aspects (the base).
Any aspect failing or missing would lead to a collapse, or our doom as a nation.