By Lucas Loh and Ryan Lim
The 3D2N Venturing Challenge Course 2019 represents the pinnacle assessment of a President Scout's abilities in both skills and leadership. In the December of 2019, two of our Ventures, Lucas Loh and Ryan Lim, attended this test work as part of their PSA journey. For the two of them, this was the cumulation of their years of training as a scout, a challenge that encompassed all aspects of Scouting.
In the weeks leading up to VCC, the ventures trained intensively in bushcraft, backwoods, knots, first aid, and many other areas to achieve the highest standard possible. The importance of this was not only to ensure that they would do well as individual candidates, but they would also be a strong testament to the premier training Catholic High Scouting has to offer, bringing glory to the troop.
Preparation for VCC
Every aspect of the preparation was done in the spirit of excellence, each cubic centimeter of volume accounted for, each item selected carefully and packed perfectly.
One example would be about how this Mess Tin was packed. At the bottom laid a Tommy Cooker, with Solid Fuel neatly stacked and wrapped safely on top. to the right, five sheets of exactly 1m by 1m of Aluminium foil were prepared, precut to allow for ease of usage and removing the need for the cardboard core.
Another example is in the extreme lengths gone to compress the clothes we packed - In the black roll, there was a shirt, socks and underwear rolled compactly. Then, it was compressed and squeezed tight with cling wrap and clear tape to waterproof the clothes, something that would prove extremely useful during camp due to the non-stop rain we experienced. The compressed roll was as hard as a block and was completely rigid, facilitating packing.
This standard of packing is a reflection of our preparation in all aspects, especially skills-wise where the Ventures were grilled on knots, practiced backwoodsman multiple times and, in the days leading up to VCC, every waking moment was spent strategizing, thinking of ways to be even more prepared to take the test work.
At the start of the course, there were 14-15 participants. By the end of the course, there were 7. We were, of course, part of this 7, but this was not by chance.
The biggest curveball many of the candidates were not prepared for was the continuous rainy weather, for at least 70% of the 3D2N we spent there. However, for the Catholic High Ventures, we were undaunted by this as it was an environment familiar to us, similar to what we were trained in. We were used to the trickles of water dripping down out face every moment and the pitter-patter sounds on our ponchos as we worked tirelessly as if the rain wasn't there. For the Catholic High Ventures, not only were we trained as Scouts to work in spite of the rain, but we also trained the Scouts as Ventures in the rain with them. We did not let the environment determine us, hence we were prepared mentally and physically for the weather.
Our greatest enemy is ourselves, and this couldn't be better reflected through the experience of VCC. Each day, we were given tasks to complete on our own time and target. Some of the candidates struggled to find the motivation to persevere in the rain and the daunting odds that faced them. Each night, we had little sleep as we froze in our waterlogged bashas, futilely trying to air and dry feet that had been soaked for the whole day. Suddenly, being dry had become a short-lived luxury that lasted at best half an hour. But to the Catholic High Ventures, this was not a challenge for us.
We knew that we could not fail because of the weather. That we not only owed it to ourselves to try our best after such long preparation and investment in VCC but more importantly, we owed it to our troop to succeed. We had to bring glory to the troop, to put it at the top and through this much greater source of motivation, we gave our 200%, for 3D2N until the very end. Failure was not an option.
However, beyond motivation and the daunting weather, the strongest pillar of support for us in these 3D2N of isolation from the outside were our values and principles. Throughout the camp, we lived in accordance with the scout law and promise, protecting our integrity and honor as PSA candidates and scouts. Above all, we put the troop at the top, displaying the true Catholic High Scouting Spirit and Spirit of Excellence in Skills and Character.