Barely a day after MYEs had ended, we were spurred into action once again to start packing our bags and preparing for CLiC the very next day. CLiC is an acronym for Connecting Leaders In Camp, the annual camp CCA leaders attend to pick up important leadership skills.
Though a little tired from the last minute cramming-of-information into my brain for MYEs, I was excited for CLiC, and what was to happen over the next 3 days. Previous “CLiCers” had shared CLiC was a fun and enjoyable experience, yet I had also heard it was a huge test of our mental and physical strengths. Nevertheless, I kept an open mind.
The day of CLiC 2016 finally arrived, and VJC’s CCA leaders trickled into LT5 at around 1 p.m., amidst flurries of conversations. We sat in our groups, and were told we would be brought to a “special place” to commence our CLiC experience. Before long, the bus arrived and brought us to Eunos MRT Station. What greeted us was a myriad of carnival games, such as the Flying Swing, Bouncy Castle and Bumper Cars! The child in me badly wanted to hop on the flying swing and jab the start button. However, I resisted that urge, and followed my group to the shed where we were briefed for our first activity.
The Writer’s CLiC group, Group 2, with our Black Panther Flag
Our first task was the Wipeout Challenge, where we had to dodge a rotating arm, made famous by its namesake. Boy, did our feet burn. The sweltering hot afternoon sun beamed mercilessly down on us, and it did not help that we were decked in black and had to play this game without shoes. I felt like I was at Thimithi (the Hindu Fire-walking festival)!
Wipeout Machine near Eunos MRT station
After that station, we completed several other challenges such as the “Trash Bag tank”, “Bouncy Castle Quiz” etc, and my group (Group 2) was on a winning streak!
Group 2 Making a human tank out of Trash bags
One of the most absurd yet memorable challenges we encountered was the “Watermelon Challenge”. We had to perform some sort of Tai Chi dance to a fruit seller, who rewarded us with “an important treasure” – the watermelon. Our Facilitators told us to finish the whole watermelon, and since we were only given trash bags and toothpicks, we had to break the watermelon in order to get to its flesh. In order to finish our watermelon in the fastest possible time, our group scrambled to eat the fruit like a hungry lion ate its prey. Our facils even egged us on and gave us “tips” to break the watermelon into smaller pieces to finish it more easily. Little did we know, those tips were the least bit helpful. The real challenge we were given was piecing the darn watermelon back to its original shape, after devouring its flesh. Our hearts sank and dread filled us… How were we supposed to piece the watermelon back when we had broken it up into such tiny pieces? Eventually, we huddled and slowly reconstructed the deformed watermelon using our toothpicks, before being told to take care of our watermelon the entire day.
Piecing the watermelon back together using toothpicks after breaking it into small pieces
It had been a long day, and our famished stomachs rumbled at the sights and smells of the delicious food at the nearby Ramadan Bazaar. At this point, we decided to buy kebabs and drinks for dinner. Upon finishing dinner, we boarded the bus and headed to Prince George’s Park residential hostel at NUS, where we would reside the next 2 nights. We each got our own room with this cool Transponder, which we had to press to unlock our doors. Unfortunately, our rooms had no air-conditioning, but considering this was a leadership camp, it was pretty understandable. Upon ensuring there were no defaults with our rooms, we then reported back at the assembly area.
One moment we were happily chatting and laughing among ourselves, and the next, the whole cohort was told to run and assemble at the fountain, which none of us were sure was located. At the same time, we were shouted at for our lack of urgency and responsibility, which left some of us puzzled and a tad confused. However, we ran as fast as we could to the fountain, which we finally found after some chaos. Once the whole group assembled, the facil then threw a plastic bag containing a watermelon onto the ground, and gravely scolded us. Apparently, someone had not been accountable for their watermelon.
And so, 3 arduous hours of punishment began. We were made to do PT (Physical Training) in the dark night, on the rough cement road. At first, the crunches, push ups and jumping jacks were pretty bearable, but as time passed, each extra rep started to drain the energy out of me. The craggy, uneven road dug into my palms and knees with each push up, leaving them red and blistered. The constant shouting at us to redo each set was not helping, and I imagine we must have looked quite a sight. At the same time PT was conducted, some of us were also dispatched to various stations to solve puzzles and riddles in the dark night. These required us to use our logic and piece information up rationally, working together to complete the given tasks to ensure the efforts of previous groups were not in vain. Simultaneously, those still doing PT were constantly asked to report the attendance of our respective groups every few minutes, and ensure every single person was accounted for. Each time anyone did not know where any group members were, the whole camp “kena tekan-ed”. We were commanded to do even more push-ups and jumping jacks. Honestly, this felt like an NCC camp/ Army Boot Camp. Being previously from NCC, I felt like I was back in my secondary school Unit Camp.
Finally, 3 hours passed and our “torture” ended. Drenched in sweat, all I wanted to do was dash into a nice warm shower. However, there was still a Debrief session for the activity. In my opinion, this was one of the most meaningful debriefs I’ve ever attended, where we learnt about the agendas for each punishment meted, listened to extraordinary stories, and most importantly drilled into our minds the importance of accountability. We finally understood how the tough PT was necessary for us to pick up leadership skills and lifelong lessons that were to be firmly imprinted in our minds forever. AIM TO XCEED was the motto of our camp, and we learnt what each letter stood for, and how to apply them in our daily lives to become better leaders.
What AIM TO XCEED stands for
Just a random “Food for Thought” I suddenly recalled writing down: If your ideas are being shot down, will you still want to try?
After the debrief, we were dismissed at around 12.30a.m. You have no idea how good it felt to finally bathe after one long, tiring, sticky, sweaty day. We then got back to our rooms, and tried to sleep. Funny thing was, I couldn’t sleep at all the whole night. So I spent my entire night awake, writing and reflecting on the day’s events, and luckily I did so, for without that, I would not have been able to write this article.
Victoria Cheung, 16A14