#LetterByLetter: L

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From Left to Right

Top Row: Me,Wyman, Jason, Deswanto, Rozana & Benjamin.

Bottom Row: Jamie, Lauren, Viena, LeJing, YuXue, Htet & Tiffany.

#LetterByLetter is something that me and my classmates who blog are doing during the holidays. We will go down the alphabet, one for each post and write what each letter means to us. It can be something symbolic or just a word that starts with that letter. The objective is to be active on our blogs and also to see who can finish all the letters first. This is the twelfth post in the series.

For this letter, I’ll be talking about my experience during the LEAP camp. It was definitely an interesting journey which helped us become better leaders. I came up with tons of reality TV references throughout the camp. Just ask Jamie. Here’s my summary of each day.

Day 1: CHECKING IN & CHALLENGES. I must say it wasn’t the best day. I was nervous as always. And carrying a sleeping bag, day pack and luggage bag only made me feel more tense. The only thing that comforted me was knowing that I had three people I already knew quite well in my camp team. And I was just planning on sticking with them throughout the duration of the camp. On the bus, it felt like we were on Top Model. You know, the finalists making their way to the Top Model house and settling into their rooms. Just that in this situation it was a campsite and we settled into our tents.

Now let me mention the activities. We had the general team-bonding activities. Started off with team name and ground rules. Our team name was, OMEGA. Then we had this, ‘arrange the cards on the floor while blindfolded’ activity which my team lost. After that was a three-way Tug of War. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to play one of these. But the odds were just not in my team’s favour. The other teams had big guys while mine had average-sized guys just like me. However, the purpose of the challenge was to show that we needed commitment and that it wasn’t about the strength or strategy. We came in second in that challenge, somehow. The third activity was some desert survival role-playing game which we lost in as well. Oh well, isn’t that a rough first day?

Day 2: RANKINGS & KAYAKING. One of the first few activities for the day was us ranking the top and bottom three leaders on our respective teams. Now, you can’t possibly tell me that’s such a reality TV thing that producers would do to create drama, right? It was really hard because none of us wanted to hurt each others’ feelings. But it was only for us to help each other by being honest. So, when we revealed our choices, there were some tears. Oh well, we were given a chance to bond after by cwriting notes for everyone in our team and sticking it onto each of our individual posters(which just had our name on it). We were only given some time for this, so we could only write about two to three notes. We were asked to write the rest during our free time.

The next interesting activity was kayaking. I was excited and nervous. I can’t swim and I didn’t trust the life jacket too much. You know that activity they do where they ask you to hold hands and form a circle. And then the circle will slowly move down into the water and raise both feet so that we float? Yeah… That one! I was prepared to be asked to do that. And we were. The last time this happened, I only dared to raise one foot. This time though, I managed to raise both and float and yes, it might be a small thing but I was really proud of myself . After that we got into our kayaks and practiced for the challenge.

The challenge was tough. You had the informers who would have to study a image and give information, the messengers who would receive and pass on the information and the architects who would receive the information from the messengers and draw the figure accordingly. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, the messengers were those in the kayaks and the other two would be on two different sides of the lake. Yup. I was lucky to be informer and not a messenger because I wouldn’t have been able to decipher what the informers were trying to tell me. Regardless, this was the FIRST challenge that my team won! YAY! It really helped boost our confidence. Anyway, it was just like a Survivor challenge too! I loved it.

Day 3: TREKKING & CAMPFIRE. I was excited for trekking as soon as I saw it on the camp schedule. Now, I’ve never been trekking but it seemed like a fun team-bonding activity. I pictured my team singing, laughing and talking as we made our way through the jungle or forest or whatever you call it. And I was half correct. We managed to stay enthusiastic by singing and cheering whenever possible but the trek was more tiring than I expected. From climbing over large tree logs to looking out for leeches and thorns, it was exhausting. We even got into the cold and muddy water which was thigh deep at times. Regardless, I’m not even complaining about it being tiring because it totally reminded me of Survivor. However, I will complain that it was really warm, that when we ended the trek, I poured my leftover water over my head. I tried getting my teammates to join me but they didn’t. Oh well.

For the campfire, each team had to come up with a performance because the entertainment was up to the campers and not the facilitators. So, representatives from each team planned the campfire activities together. As for my team, we rehearsed our performance which was a mash-up of a couple of songs that represented our journey throughout the camp. I was pretty excited! When it was time for the campfire I just let loose and had fun. Shouting out randomly, cheering and even jumping and skipping around closer to the end. After the campfire, it was free and easy but everyone decided to spend the time with their respective teams which was totally understandable. This led to one of the most emotional heart-to-heart sessions ever. Everyone opened up and so did I. I kept my tears in but I couldn’t hold them in closer to the end. So, I started to tear but I don’t think anyone noticed. It really made me respect everyone around me because we all had our own issues. And everyone was brave enough to open up.

Day 4: FINAL REFLECTION & HOME SWEET HOME. We had yet another emotional heart-to-heart session. And of course there were tears. This time, I tried to keep the morale up and was all positive with what I had to say. Don’t get me wrong, I was still very sincere and honest with what I said. After that it was lunch and we got our phones back. So, everyone started taking photos. Okay not everyone, but I and a few other team mates started taking selfies with everyone on the team. On the bus ride home, it was another karaoke session just without the screen and lyrics but rather just the lyrics based off our memory. And when we finally returned to school, we were all glad it’s over.

I’m so glad I didn’t pull out of the camp. I hate camps. So, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy myself. But I sure did. Mostly because of the team. Omega was always the first when it comes to eating, showering and sleeping. I knew I could trust them when it was time to open up and they were also ready to have compete during challenges. Other times, we would just talk and laugh and have fun. I’m so glad I met these people. I can’t see myself in any of the other two teams. Yes, our team might have been the smallest. And yes, we might have started off  on the wrong foot. But we managed to bring out the best versions of ourselves and each other closer to the end of the camp and I’ll forever be thankful for this experience. Thanks Omega!

I know it’s been a long post. So until next time,

PEACE OUT.

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