Interactors learn invaluable lessons at camp

The Star, StarMetro Central, June 9, 2003

DISCIPLINE, understanding, teamwork and service were instilled into 132 Interactors at the four-day Super Camp held in the jungle setting of the Trolak Country Resort last week.

The outdoor learning experience, amid beautiful lush greenery, cascading streams, rubber trees and oil-palms, was a refreshing change to the fourth and fifth form students from seven secondary schools in Petaling Jaya.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the town, the students, aged 14 to 18, participated in gruelling, challenging and team-building activities, building trust, team spirit and a caring attitude – inculcating in them the concept of service before self.

The camp was attended by about equal numbers of Interactors from each of the seven schools – SMK Assunta, SMK Bukit Bintang, SMK Katholik, SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, SMK La Salle, SMK Sri Aman and SMK Taman Petaling.

Petaling Jaya Rotary Club Youth Services director Kevin Yong said the main aim of the camp was to inculcate leadership and fellowship among the Interactors.

”For this reason, all the activities centred on human values, to allow the participants to better understand each other.

”The Interactors were also encouraged to talk about their experiences, activity by activity. More importantly, they had to respect the opinions of others.”

The activities also reflected the Rotarian spirit of ”Love all, serve all and help ever, hurt never”.

Camp organising chairman, Rotarian Dr Eric Wong, said the camp was aimed at shaping a generation of Interactors who would grow up to be the nation’s elite leaders.

The ice-breaker soon after the youths’ arrival at Trolak, was the Treasure Hunt in the oil-palm plantation, where students were asked to spot the tallest tree, river bends and the purest water.

The creativity of the Interactors came to the fore when they named their four groups ”Busted”, ”Nebuchadnezzar”, ”The Blue Goats” and ”Samba”.

The Treasure Hunt proved to be both fun and challenging to the Interactors, who had to walk around and survey the surroundings, in search of clues.

SMK Assunta Interactor Maria Rita Talla said the treasure hunt was challenging because the clues could be interpreted in different ways.

However, it also tested their physical endurance.

”We had to walk more than three kilometres to look for the clues.”

The Samba group responded to the challenge brilliantly to emerge as winners.

Other activities included obstacle courses, abseiling, flying fox, rope walking and rafting.

This obstacle course comprised the electric fence, spider web, Tarzan swing and monkey rack.

”The high-rope activities could have put off a lot of Interactors but it didn’t. We had to walk on two narrow ropes at least six metres apart and 4.5 metres from the ground.

”It was indeed a test of balance and mental control. Then the low-rope activities provided the Interactors with the experience in abseiling,” Talla said.

”The four days passed so quickly. On the last day, we had a discussion to summarise what the camp was all about, and the Interactors gave their opinions about the camp.

”The Trolak Super Camp was a wonderful experience for all the participants. The experiences and knowledge that we acquired would be invaluable to us throughout our lifetime,” she added.

SMK Katholik Interactor Rajiv Perumal said the camp was a truly memorable one and the friends and experience gained during the four days would not be forgotten.

”The teenagers learned to co-exist, work together and develop a greater sense of responsibility in a diverse, multi-racial environment.

”Initially, every one thought the obstacle event was impossible but eventually, as each team overcame the obstacles successfully, it became clear that if we did not think of failing, we simply would not,” he said.

SMK Taman Petaling Interactor Vanessa Chan said the camp was filled with thrills and spills. ”But it’s not everyone’s idea of fun to go to war with giant white spiders or get whacked in the eye with bamboo shoots and sport the newest trend – an incredibly swollen black eye!” she laughed.

Another Interactor from SM Assunta was impressed with the Felda trainers, who were referred to as ”Frogman” (Felda Recreational Outdoor Group Management). ”The Frogmen showed us how to improve our skills in the activities.

Rotarian Yong and his wife Penny, who were involved in the logistics of the Super Camp, said: ”The Rotarians were able to bridge the generation gap through the activities. The candid and frank discussion further helped us understand the youths better.”

Pix: An Interactor crawling along a rope during an endurance challenge.

Pix: Rotarians and Interactors at a discussion session.

Pix: Interactors participating in the electric fence obstacle race.

Pix: Rafting along Sungai Sungkai.

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