“I heard it’s like the eighteen levels of hell.”
The Outdoor Activities Club (ODAC) is a self-directed CCA with a vision to nurture proficient outdoor leaders of character. Every year, the club toils endlessly for months to design a selection camp to sieve out the next batch of worthy instructors. Instructors should exemplify traits like resilience, integrity and most importantly, passion for the outdoors, just to name a few. Traditionally, the camp aims to force trainees out of their comfort zones and challenge their limits to unleash their potential for growth. This year was no exception. In the next few months, we will be seeing the 32nd Batch of ODAC Instructors rise to the challenge of taking the mantle of leadership from the J2s and continuing the proud tradition VJC ODAC is known for. However, being selected to be part of the prestigious Club is no easy feat and many people have found that blood, sweat and tears are characteristics that define the ODAC Selection Camp.
The ODAC Selection Process is a long and arduous journey that has many pitfalls in each of the individual stages. However, none of the stages pose more of a challenge than the ODAC Selection Camp, held during the March Holidays. It is planned, executed and partaken by the J2 ODAC Instructors as well as J1 participants, with little intervention from the teachers. The following few paragraphs will illustrate the different perspectives and experiences the J2s and J1s gained from the Camp.
After countless meetings and proposals, the 31st ODAC batch was ready. Looking back, the past year was definitely a memorable one spent with ODAC. First off was their own OLC selection camp, punctuated with the funniest mishaps and toughest mental and physical battles. Fond memories of the experience never fail to surface every time we undertake an equally strenuous or enjoyable task. But the initial struggle was definitely worth it; there was lots of fun to be had after joining ODAC. We acquired new skills like belaying and kayaking, organised cycling expeditions and took part in adventure races together. We climbed mountains, both figuratively and literally. But of course, the best times were those spent simply relishing in one anothers’ company, be it studying in the ODAC room late into the night or queuing up for Free Cone Day together.
It was finally time to handpick the 32nd batch to receive their own ODAC experience. Owing to the limited places in the camp, all applicants had to answer a pre-selection questionnaire. Sifting through the trainees’ applications, the 31st were hopeful for a promising batch to keep the ODAC flame burning bright. One year into our journey, it was finally time to put on our fiercest Group Instructor (GI) faces.
When J1s are trying to make up their minds on which CCA to join, many are attracted to ODAC due to two factors: the appeal of the activities as well as the feeling that ODAC will be a tight-knit community that focuses a lot on interaction between members. The J1s will soon realize why ODAC is a family. Nothing bonds people together more than experiencing hardship, pain and suffering. The Camp was 4 days and 3 nights; yet to many of the participants, it felt like 4 long years. The participants underwent activities that pushed each and every one of them to the limits of both their physical and mental capacity. After treks, expeditions, raft building and pioneering, many of them retire at the end of each day with their entire body aching with exhaustion.
However, the activities that the Seniors had planned, allowed for many positive traits to be cultivated. Among them are values such as resilience, respect and endurance. One of the J1s who chose to remain anonymous, commented on how the Camp has changed her: “At the end of the day, all the Trainees had forgotten that the Outdoor Leadership Camp was essentially a selection camp because throughout the 4 days, what we have gotten in return were friends you know you can count on for life and confidence that would give you a different outlook on life altogether. We regret none of our choices. OLC’s tagline ‘Our pain today is our strength tomorrow’ is something that will resonate with me for a long time to come, and I am grateful for the experience.” The positive effects of the Camp, no matter how tough it was, seem to have equipped the participants with the ability to approach life with more confidence. This may be the key secret to the Club’s success of building such a strong culture and identity among its members.
Tradition, Family and Confidence. This are but a few words that come to mind whenever someone in VJC mentions ODAC. However, we do also see that the process of building up such honor and respect is something that has involved all the ODAC Instructors and many years of careful planning and precise execution. The results of the Selection have been released and it will be time for another batch of ODAC Instructors to be trained and tasked to continue the efforts and good work that has been going strong for the last 32 years. The only message for the 32nd batch: Work hard and play harder 🙂
Photo Source: Wallace Ng (15A11)