(This article was written by Zhi Hui, our intern at Kingmaker! Her StrengthsFinder® talent themes (Empathy | Developer | Restorative | Individualization | Relator) makes her an Authentic People Centric Empowerer who sees the value of Diversity and Potential in Humankind. She is passionate in Social Sciences, in particular areas pertaining to people management, personal development, and leadership.)
I always had camps as a student, be it Secondary School adventure camps or Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) ones. However, I never did think about what goes behind the planning and execution of such activities, much less be part of a team which specialises in creating such a great learning experience for the students.
Ever since my internship in Kingmaker, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the planning, preparation and execution of the 4-days Bartley Secondary School Camp, which uses the StrengthsFinder profiling tool to guide graduating students in their post-secondary school journey. The “peak period” was what they called it, and I am fortunate to have been in such a great team which made this camp possible. Here’s how it went.
Planning a Strengths-based Camp
In our company, the quality of our products is our priority. We constantly seek to update our curriculum and improve the design of our experiential games to ensure that our students take away insights from our programmes, and take active steps to achieve their goals. I was involved in the constant refinement of content:
- Is this content worth learning and meets the learning objectives of the programme?
- Are there engaging ways (ie. Games) for the students to learn and for us to get our point across?
- Most important of all, will the students have learn and fun?
These are the questions which we constantly ask ourselves throughout the course of our planning process.
Preparing a Strengths-based Camp
I always took the collaterals I received during my camps for granted. From the worksheets to the game logistics, we had to prepare them by hand and make sure all students got what they needed during the camp. From the filing to the stapling, folding and packing, all these were done by a small yet dynamic team which sped up this preparation process tremendously. To make things more complicated, every set of collaterals received by the students are customised specific to their signature talent themes.
That being said, it was extremely rewarding to see how the students on the receiving end found these resources useful for their learning.
Executing a Strengths-based Camp
During the camp, I was involved as an operation consultant to ensure the smooth flow of the station movement. From ensuring the timing of the camp was on track to the logistic preparation that was needed for each segment of the day, I had to ensure that all procedures were adhered to. A seemingly simple activity required tons of preparation work and checks to ensure everything was all set and ready for the students.
Besides lending a hand in the background operational work, I had the opportunity to coach students who are not so much younger than I am, on making post-secondary choices using their strengths. Initially, I got really worried when this task was being assigned to me. Nevertheless, I seized this opportunity to recall my past experiences as a coachee, in allowing the students to gain clarity regarding the choices they make in the future.
The coaching sessions were more difficult than I thought they would be. The beautiful thing about coaching is that the students learn from you, but you get to learn even more, from both the students and this whole experience. Some of the students I coached were more certain of what they wanted compared to others, but what they had in common was the desire to make use of this coaching session to gain insight regarding their choices.
Throughout the coaching experience, the sense of fulfilment comes from the spark of revelation the students experienced, and the fact that the students start to open up and get really comfortable with you.
Coaching aside, being part of the mass games as game facilitators was an integral part of my experience at Bartley Camp. It seems like the “people in orange” work in isolation, but the truth behind it is that it takes a whole lot of effort to ensure that everyone in the team is clear of what is expected for the execution to be flawless. Looking at how actively the students participated in the games made me really proud of being part of something so much greater than myself.
All in all, my experience in Bartley Camp was one that was filled with self-discovery – for myself and that of others. As exhausting as this experience can get for the team, I am more than grateful to have had colleagues who supported me, taught me and led me on this learning journey.