Written by Stephanie De Souza, Programme Head (Games)
Camp Seven: Survivor was the first camp I ever had a hand in planning and I had no clue what the resulting camp would actually be like. Would it be exciting, packed with 4 days of exploding fun and reflective spiritual? During the few months prior to camp, that was pretty much the only thing on my mind while planning.
We will fast forward to the last day of camp. Everyone in the bus is either sleeping, trying to recover a bit of leftover energy, or have started chatting, trying to dissolve the copious amounts of leftover energy. Camp Seven: Survivor is finally over. A camp filled with the brim with both highs and lows, both extreme fun and poignant reflection. As I reach into my ‘Affirmation Envelope’, I pull out a single slip of undecorated, white plain paper with my name messily scrawled on the front. The inside reads a simple message: ‘Camp was unbelievable.’ My thoughts wander almost immediately to the unforgettable memories of these past four days and three nights. The wonder that had been Camp Seven was undeniably the most fun I had had in the year as yet.
Each of the four days had a particularly specific theme. On the first day, the
theme was to ‘recognize your weaknesses’. Groups were made to play a game regarding the seven deadly sins. These games would give them a ‘taste’ of what each sin was like using various games and methods. Use the sin of gluttony as an example. Teams were to play ‘Meal or no meal’, a variation from the original game of ‘Deal or no Deal’ to see how far they would go to get the meal of their choice. The sins portrayed what all of us go through daily, the pride and greed of which everyone is guilty of. The spiritual session saw campers being given a more reflective take on what the seven deadly sins were. Instead of looking at them from a ‘fun’ side, campers were now told to go deeper and relate these sins to their lives and how these sins may prevent one from being closer to God. To end off the night, tribal council was held in the evening and each group voted on their most helpful member, presented reasons why they were chosen, and affirmed them.
The second day had more fun but no less reflection. Campers piled ontowaiting buses which brought them to Bukit Batok Nature Reserve. The theme for the day was to ‘know your strengths, using them for everyone’s advantage’. Games were played to teach campers about teamwork and how each player was crucial in determining the outcome of the game. ‘Your team is only as strong as your weakest member.’ This quote best described how everyone played the game. Each camper put in their best effort for each station, working together to produce as best a result as they could. The night saw their efforts being rewarded as they got to experience a campfire, complete with crazy games, hilarious performances and campfire songs. Singing and dancing and just plain having a great time bonding with each other, the campfire was a hit with all. Afterward, each group spent some time sharing and listening to each other, as we are all called to do as community.
Dragonboating had to be the highlight of the third day. Today’s theme was to be ‘sent out into the world’ and to see the world in a different light than they were used to. The dragonboating activity was a reminder that it would not be easy to be ‘sent out’ alone and that having others support you would be a significant help. Split into smaller groups, campers were told that they now had to view the world from a different perspective. The activity was simple: Walk around Orchard Road and tell me what you see. Without an actual purpose to be in town, campers could see how much people have distorted certain images to fit their own needs. Without the distractions of shopping or watching movies, campers could open their eyes to the extent of which Christmas was being commercialized. This activity had an aim of making sure campers understood that they were ‘in this world’ but that they were not ‘of this world’. Simply put, they had to understand that they did not have to succumb to the advertisements that scream, ‘This will make your Christmas more meaningful!’ Groups came back from orchard with plenty of tales to tell. They saw how slimming ads twisted the image of what a ‘perfect’ woman should be like, and they saw how people stayed away from the donation cans in an effort to get to their desired location quickly. The third night was a praise and worship session which brought everyone on a spiritual high. In my opinion, it was a first session that I had in a long time that had a lot of meaning in it. I’m sure many others felt the same as well. As the band played songs of both old and new, the whole camp joined in and sung with one voice, adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the atmosphere. When all was quiet during reconciliation, many took the opportunity to reflect. That night was a perfect chance for all to look back on the ending year and cogitate on the life they had ahead of them.
The fourth and final day was a wrap-up of the whole camp. This included mass and a final Praise and Worship session. Campers left camp on a high, hugs were exchanged and people were smiling as they got to take their own affirmation envelopes home.
Once again, we are brought back to that scene on the bus. Some are fast snoring, having been overcome with fatigue. Some are still talking among themselves, doing their own private wrap-ups of camp. As I get ready to succumb to sleep as well, I finger the piece of affirmation in my hand and smile. Being in any organization means you have to be part of a team and maybe do things that you have never done before. You come out of the organization learning many things beyond what you already know, or thought you knew. Planning this year’s camp had been the epitome of that whole paragraph.
This will not be the last time I will volunteer my services for God’s work. My only wish is that more people would want to participate in this community that serves solely for Him.
More photos up soon!