Monday, October 22, 2007

AYF International Leadership Camp (Merrowvista) 1999 (US)

Leaving with a heavy heart from my great hosts, I was uncertain of what the awaiting camp holds for me.
I was really timid and nervous when I reached the campsite and registered myself.
Being a scholar (sponsored by Energizer and Ralston Purina Co), I was also provided with a sleeping bag and a welcoming gift of torchlight with batteries and a pouch bag. I can't say I am not glad since I was really unprepared and underpacked when I glanced around at those experience campers.
I was then assigned to my home group; Stockman and was also designated to stay in Lafayette village which I had totally no idea of at that time.
One thing's for sure, the lake sits on a very beautiful location; surrounded by the magnificient natural landscapes such as lakes, forests, and also hills. I know it's natural for campsites to be built within such environment:D
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I made my way to the Barn; yes, that was the main hall to gather everyone who has arrived before being ushered to their respective home groups.
Since it was our first night, we were made to stay in our "house" which was allocated for every group. Mine was located in the Stockman Cottage/Smokehouse which was all the way at the end. I am sure it was one of the best group residences and definitely the warmest compared to the others.
We snuggled into our sleeping bags after a quick round of ice-breaking session that night.
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The next morning, we were awakened by the loud sounds of the bell and were called to gather by the lake. Some of my group members went for a quick dip in the lake before we were instructed on our first group activity. From my vague memory, I remembered it was a teambuilding task to construct 3 small canoes which can actually only fit 3 people with several planks and boards, to hold the entire group of 20. The whole group should then get into the canoes and sail to the midpoint marked by a floating cone in the lake and row back to the shore to be considered as accomplishing the mission.
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We definitely had fun!:D

As we trudged our way back from the lake, we stopped by for a quick pic...5 gals from Stockman
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Gill, Shannon, Mischa and Kara

The whole team, at the little chapel in the woods:)
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Stockman ROCKS!! (the tagline used to cheer the whole group and to believe we were great!! Motivation tricks:)

Back to our homey house, we were given another task again
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Everyone put on their thinking caps to rack their brains out on the task:)

Kara and Shannon posing for a pic:)
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Stockman...all of us first years posing for a group pic as our 2nd year seniors were off for their activities:D
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We were allowed to mingle around with the other camp participants:D
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For the first year campers, we were to work on our presentation on the last day to represent our class. (Class of first years)
I opted to work with the Banner team since I loved design and graphics:)
There was a very nice name for this foyer place....I am trying to recall:p
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After a long day, we proceeded with dinner and also night gathering and ended with hot cocoa and light snacks before lights off at the cafeteria.
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The following day, we had breakfast at the main cafeteria and we had this rule that every day, one group or village will be assigned to clean up after the meal through table nomination.
It will go this way, where after the meal, one of the tables will bang or make some noise with their forks, spoons, cups or pounding their feet on the ground, singing the nominated group's name and then joined in unison by others.
Our group volunteered to clean up..so Stockman did the breakfast clean-up...having so much fun!:D
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My cabin which I shared with Tracy, Nichelle
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Tracy, Kate and Jayne
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The nicest friend..Sara
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2nd Day
We started off with a group hiking up to this hill (not too high up)
It was pretty fun when you go in such a big group:D
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Group pic
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We made it!!
Breathtaking view...and the sense of sweet victory:D
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Time for our quick brunch with granola bars, sandwiches with peanut butter jelly, apple and a diet Coke or Ginger Ale.
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On our way down, we saw a rattle snake and everyone was so hyped that they whipped out their cameras immediately for a quick snapshot!
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And also time for a quick bath with the icy cool spring water!!:D
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My village of girls...all the 4 cabins in the Lafayette village (an area allocated to cabins and designated to different villages in which one senior is appointed to lead the village)
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Kara and James
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Tom and Benjy
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There was one Talent Night show whereby we can volunteer and send in our names to perform. I can tell you that I am truly amazed by the good sport in most of the Americans here!!:D
The 2nd years sang us a song with a short sketch:)
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Swing Dance
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And Blake and Kara made us proud by coupling in a duet singing to Shania Twain's hit, From This Moment
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The banner from the First Years' was finally completed!!:D
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One of the activities included this Flying Fox or Sky Tight Rope walking
It was pretty exciting as one of my very first experience!!:D
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Looking happy and piped up but I can tell you I was actually quite nervous!!:)
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The most memorable would be the campfire night; our last night and also the presentation of our class banner and sharings.
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We even joined hands and sang songs like "That's what Friends are For" by Dionne Warwick and Friends....so emotional:(
Hugs and tears all over!!

One final Stockman Pic (after the presentation) all in white:D
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Shifting and cleaning up Stockman Holm
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The farewell meal at the cafeteria
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Lafayette and another boys' village
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Pics with others
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2nd Year's Graduation
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Outside my little cabin...I am gonna miss you!!! Bye Lafayette!!
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June 1999 marks the footprint in my life story as I have stepped on the soil in the States and brought home along with me the most beautiful memories which I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.
I must say that I am very grateful to Ralston Purina, Energizer and American Youth Foundation for this wonderful opportunity and also God for granting me this precious gift. Thanks to my family for the wondrous support as well!:D

This has been an eye-opener journey and definitely a valuable learning experience as it taught me not just to know myself but also the qualities of a leader and not forgetting, being a good follower as well:)
Lastly, I have also brought home with me the list of new friends whom I will always remember forever:)
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So Long....

**I was interested to go back for the 2nd year camp to graduate but unfortunately, I was sitting for my SPM the following year and thus, there were difficulties in travelling**

2 comments:

  1. Is air-fare and allowances given for this trip ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yes, FULLY sponsored...free for me!!~:)

    ReplyDelete