By Seah Zhang Qi and Law Jia Jun
On the 2nd - 3rd November, the Scouts attended the first part of a two part Scout Leadership Course camp. This was the Hike component, aimed at training the leadership of scouts through the grilling endurance test of a 17km hike with their rucksacks and full equipment load.
For many of us, this was a new and challenging experience as many of us had never been on a hike of this length with so much equipment to carry. This forced us to adapt to tough times, nurturing our courage in the face of great difficulty.
Before the hike, we learnt how to be good leadership comes from the simplest of things, such as learning how to pack our rucksakcs as compactly as possible. This is because packing our rucksacks first taught us organisation, to plan and prepare our equipment in the best possible way, foreseeing potential issues that may arise. This form of foresight was one of the most important skills of a leaders as he not only has to think of his men, but also think for their future.
Packing our rucksacks was also the simplest way a leader cares for his men as the standard he demands directly reflects how much he wants his men to succeed. A good PL will have a very high inspection standard to make sure only essential equipment is brought, all equipment is packed tigtly and all his men have a good rucksack as this will directly affect how well they can perform and live during camp.
Packing a simple rucksack was also about knowing your men as how much each person carries depends on how capable a PL perceives his men. If he does not allocate the loads appropriately, his patrol would end up moving slower as they had to wait for one overloaded person when someone would have been more suited for the job.
During the hike, we were forced to push our limits physically and mentally. Many of us were struggling at first, but we continued to encourage and push each other on to leave no man behind. Through this entire hike, I learnt more about myself and my limits, as well as the importance of having people to support and encourage you in times of great adversity.
First, we planned our route and marked our checkpoints on a topographic map and planned the route we were taking from Catholic High School to West Coast Park. This was a crucial part of leadership as we had to exercise foresight as mentioned earlier.
Next up, we started on our hike and left in groups of 2 patrols. We had 2 rotational hike leaders, which would be standing in front and leading us to the next checkpoint. When we reached each checkpoint, we would take a group picture and change the hike leaders so that everyone has a chance to be one. At the last checkpoint, we did a map sketch before heading to West Coast Park.
When we finally arrived at our destination, although we were extremely exhausted, we still had to muster the energy to build our bashas and cook our dinner. The hike actually has many purposes, which some of us may not know of. Most of our scouts will only think that the hike was to hone our orienteering skills and teach us on application on scouting values such as the fifth scout law," A scout has courage in all difficulties".
Although this is one of the purposes, there were many more, such as improving our self-awareness and showing us that as long as our mindset is correct and positive, we can overcome any challenges.
The next day, 2 Nov, we woke up at 4am to strike our campsite and started hiking to Kent Ridge Park. We wanted to catch the sunrise over there and have a view of the picturesque scenery. Afterwards, we rested for a while, and we continued to press on our hike to Haw Par Villa for our long-awaited games, where we deepened our understanding on Haw Par Villa. We had a whale of a time and time passed in a blink of an eye.
Mind over body, is how we would best describe this hike. We realised how much potential we had through this hike, learning the importance of perserverance and knowing yourself. It was not whether we could do it, but whether we wanted to do it.
This camp opened our eyes to tough challenge and made us more adapatble to unfamiliar situations. All in all, this SLC helped us to get to know ourselves and our limits, as well as the limits of each other, which is the first step to leadership.