Cosmos Chan, Wah Yan College, Kowloon
At the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday, all 19 leaders gathered together at the Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre. I’d been counting down the days, longing to associate with and know about all of you.
There were games and tasks which seemed to be quite challenging. We worked in groups and competed with the others. After a few false starts, we reached an unspoken consensus, cooperated well and got things done. I soon realized that effective communication was crucial to the completion of every task and our ability to eliminate clutter from complexity was something that made a difference. Most importantly, to be creative be ready to deviate from the ordinary and the traditional.
As the evening wore on, we delved deep into controversial topics and questions which definitely had no clear-cut answers. I was really impressed by the endless supply of smart ideas. I was inspired. Many of us had incisive, analytical minds as well as cognitive skills like big-picture thinking and long term vision. For me, there were things that I had to learn – the way you guys saw things beyond the routine, never afraid of challenging the status quo or exploring anything new…
The next day was equally gainful. We got the chance to practise our presentation skills. The difficult thing was to dig out the essence of the photos or phrases then elaborate, where I noticed that useful ideas might come from unexpected sources. It turned out that there were hints and sign posts in every topic given.
During the project presentation, everyone exuded confidence and all groups came up with something new, distinctive and special. I was grateful to hear solid suggestions from other leaders. Our group will do our best to vault over current limitations, pursue our ideas to completion even when the odds are stacked up against us.
In these two days, everybody contributed to their group and vied for points. A bond of friendship was forged between us. Never did I enjoy so much working with you guys, as a team. I did have a smashing time, to learn and to make progress.
Sally Chan, Heep Yunn School
This year, we are so lucky to have been the ThinkSeries' first-ever training camp.
In the 2-day camp, I have had a wonderful moment with all the other leaders. We played and we learned from the games. We were spilt into several groups and a fierce and intense competition began. Through the challenging games, I realized that communication and cooperation were the keys to win the game. A good communication skill can help the team operate smoothly and more efficiently while active cooperation and support by every team member can facilitate the teamwork and get closer to the goal.
Besides teamwork skill, I have also learned how to think outside the box. For the past few years, the young generation is always being criticized for lack of innovative and multi-perspective thinking. And now I have found out the reason why. It's because Hong Kong students never challenge people. We simply receive what the teachers have taught us and we have this deeply rooted belief that teachers are always right. During the camp, we were encouraged to ask questions and challenge each other. We even sat together and had a heated debate on some controversial topics, In fact, I enjoyed the moment when every one of us sat round the table discussing all kinds of issues, as it had inspired me to think more and beyond our borders.
It seemed like a camp for two days was a bit short, as time flies and happy moments always flow the fastest. Yet, I have grown a lot. Thanks everyone for giving me such a wonderful memory!
Brian Cheng, St Joseph’s College
It has been years since the last time I went camping and I was really excited to pack my little backpack and embark on this entrancing journey ahead of me. Having searched for the site for quite a while, my group mates and I finally arrived at the campsite, where we were then instantly welcomed by the fellow leaders with a bit of ice-breaking games. We soon started to mingle, having no trouble at all in getting along. We continued with rounds and rounds of games and tasks until we finally worn ourselves out. It was clear that we all enjoyed the games and had a lot of fun.
‘Ring, ring, ring…’ A myriad of sporadic ‘ringing’ sounds filled the room – Rise and shine, fellows. Punctuality is a key factor in being a good leader, and here at the camp, we would be penalized if we failed to reach certain places at the times specified. On the next day, we got ourselves ready for our long anticipated presentation. We applied our newly acquired presentation skills and delivered our presentation swiftly and successfully.
It is always a hard time to say goodbye, but the camp has finally come to an end. In spite of the fact that we were so eager to stay and play a little longer, we had to leave the site and go back to the city. Without a doubt, the Thinkseries training camp 2012 was a life-changing experience for me. Not only did I meet a lot of new friends, I also had loads of fun there. The camp has also been a great opportunity for me to learn and polish my communication and presentation skills. To wrap things up, I have really learnt a lot from this joyful and fruitful camp. I liked the camp a lot and I am really looking forward to the other forthcoming events in the future.
Ashley Cheung, Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College
On 13th January, 2012, us Leaders attended a training camp at Sai Kung. It was not all fun and games – we all had to put in a lot of effort in the activities.
After settling down, we had a warm-up game requiring us to group ourselves without talking. All we did was doing some kind of patterns and weird gestures towards others. Sometimes, I didn’t know what the person in front of me was doing and I giggled out loud!
Later, we played a game which required great eye-hand coordination, body language and teamwork. All of us were divided into groups of four and we had to use our hands only to communicate with our teammates. It was hard but funny, as we wiggled our fingers like a maniac. So, we ended up laughing hard.
After dinner, we were told to blindfold ourselves, as we had to search for our groupmates in a dark room. I was so terrified when someone collided with me, hitting my shoulders! I had to feel the wall and walk around the room, bumping into chairs and a whiteboard to get to my group and our Mentor!
After the thrilling game, we gathered around to talk. First, we introduced ourselves thoroughly so others could know us better. Next, each of us expressed our viewpoints about current hot topics, such as the banning of fast food. It was interesting to hear what others thought.
That night, my roomies and I played various card games. Since we had to slap the table in one of the games, we shrieked and my hands were red from being under others’. After that, we took funky and goofy group photos, just the eight of us, in weird hairstyles and facial expressions!
The next day, we listened to a beautiful song – the THiNKSeries Theme Song. It was so lovely and the lyrics were very inspiring to me. Then, we were all taught the techniques of doing a presentation. We had short practices on talking for a minute in front of everyone without a lot of time to plan the speech.
Then, each group had to present their project ideas. Mine was about Yang Memorial. We presented our aims, activities to be held and details for the promotional video. Of course, we received positive feedbacks from other Leaders and our Mentor. What a relief!
After lunch, each of us received a red packet with two seeds. Personally, I think it is to symbolize the growth and maturity of our minds and our future blossoming! Well, I was quite gloomy when we had to leave. I really enjoyed myself throughout the camp and have definitely gotten to know other Leaders better. I hope there will be another camp soon, so we can have fun and learn to think outside the box at the same time!
Joyce Cheung, St. Paul’s Secondary School
Playing games, chatting with each others, learning to work as a team, all these can be found in one of my remarkable journeys ---- The 2-day leadership training camp.
I remembered that I was late on the first day of the camp and we were punished to do 30 push-ups in front of everybody. I was embarrassed and abashed. Though 19 of us were worked as a team of 2012 ThinkSeries leaders, actually I only knew well with my group mates and the others had been unknown to me. My face turned red and seemed to be exploded at that moment.
After the punishment, we went back to our own team and started to play different mini games. I really enjoyed those games especially the one we needed to blindfold our eyes and each of us were given a number, we needed to search for our own group mates and at last, arranged ourselves from the smallest number to the biggest number. The most difficult part was that we were not allowed to make any noise and communicate with each other. After this game, I realized that an effective communication is very important. In the game, each group had to come up with some special ways to communicate with each other and make sure all our teammates knew perfectly what they were doing. Sometimes when we are communicating with external organizations or parties, effective communication is vital to us and we should make everything clear and distinct and prevent misunderstanding and confusion.
What’s more is that through this camp, I understood each of our brilliant leaders more. As I have said, I felt embarrassed at first but after 2 days, my embarrassment disappeared completely. We chatted with each other while having dinner, breakfast and lunch. We talked and laughed. At night, I even chatted with my group mates till 2am, isn’t it strange? Be true, I found it queer that each of us became acquaintance after 2 days only. Just maybe we are born to be each other’s best friend and that’s why we made friends easily without any obstacles and knew others well.
I felt like I was in a marvelous dream that all the things seemed to be so perfect and good. I was glad to have 18 best friends in just 2 days and indeed, time flies. The training camp was really like a dream that it ended so quickly. However, these memories were branded in my heart and I am sure after this camp, we can work with each other better and more united.
Christine Chiu, St. Paul’s Secondary School
20th January, is one of the remarkable date in my calendar. How remarkable was it? It was the day of my ThinkSeries leadership training camp. Also, it was my first time to go camping.
At 6:00 pm, my group mates and I stepped into the camp site- Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre. We were amazed by picturesque scenery in the site. The air was so fresh and clean.
Then we went to our room to gather with other leaders. Once I stepped in the room, I was really embarrassed. Why? Because we were late and other leaders were waiting for us. Then, we were castigated to do 30 push up in front of others. Luckily, our group leader were willing to do push up with us. Thus, we just needed to do 15 push-up. At that time, I feel that we were acting as a group , but not an individual. Although it was embarrassed to receive punishment, it was an unforgettable experience.
After that, we played some thrilling and exciting games. My favorite game was “Searching in the dark”. All of us were blindfolded and were given a number. We are required to find our group mates and arranged us in ascending order. The fastest group would win the game. At first, we were perplexed since we didn’t know how to find our group mates in shortest time. Suddenly, we just flashed on it. We found out if we folded up our clothes, we could easily detect one another. Finally, we won the game! In fact, victory was not the most important. The most essential thing was how to interact with other group mates. In our daily life, conflicts are inevitable. The most important is to conduct a peaceful and rational communication. This can enable both parties to clearly understand the opinions of others. Through this game, we comprehended how to communicate in a peaceful and respectful manner. This skill will be necessary when we enter the job market because it can help us to establish a harmonious relationship with others.
The most impressive was the discussion after having dinner. We were asked to debate a topic and gave own opinion on it. This task seemed simple and manifest. However, once we started the discussion, we discovered we were completely wrong. It was because we were required to think critically and in multiple perspectives. “ Do sharks bite?” It was asked by one of our mentors. This question still left in my mind. Before attending this camp, I have never thought about this question. Sharks bite is a fact.
Why? Why do we believe sharks bite? You may say because textbooks said so. But why do we need to believe the textbook? Nowadays, students didn’t have an innovative mind. They just concentrate on their studies and memorize all the things that their teachers teach them. Students lap up information without digesting it. Thus they don’t really comprehend the knowledge. Is this really the aim of study? Study without understanding? Study without developing an innovative mind? Through this discussion, I realized that study is not the most important factor. In fact, think with an innovative mind is the only key to success.
Time flew like an arrow, and the 2-day camp finally came to an end. Though this 2-day-camp was a short journey, it was an unforgettable memory. After this camp, I have met more friends and learnt more skills. Hope in the future, 19 of us will be more united together and become close friends in the future.
Brian Chui, Sing Yin Secondary School
Think out of the box---This is the most impressive thing I have learnt from the camp.
The training session held in the camp evoked my doubt of the correctness of what I think and believe. Sometimes my perception is correct, but sometimes it isn’t. Then how can I know if my perception over a thing is correct? The training session reminded me that the prerequisite is to find out the answers myself. Do not only believe what I believe is correct, but to prove what I believe is correct. It seems to be easy and direct. Nevertheless, I acknowledge I have forgotten it already. As we are teens, we only have a tunnel vision therefore we need to find out the answers of different interesting things in the world to broaden our horizons!
Do all of you remember the discussion we had? ‘’Do ghosts exist?’’ ‘’ Are pressures a fundamental factor of being successful?’’ ‘’Is law fair in Hong Kong?’’ I really enjoyed the discussion with you all. During the discussion, we challenged our thinking and viewed a topic in different angles. I don’t know how you all think about that discussion, but to me, I had a big stride towards equipping with global perspectives and innovative thinking—think out of the box!
In the camp, I don’t dare say I have built up a deep friendship with you all, but at least, I have known more about you. All of you are nice and cordial especially my teammates. I love collaborating with you all. Although we are divided into different groups, I hope that we can continue building up a deep and sincere friendship with you all!
I think my English has had a big progress in the camp as I start speaking more in English since the end of the camp. I used to be afraid of speaking English because I was scared to be mocked. I will horn my English diligently as you all gave me inspiration. I pledge that I will not be jittery anymore, ha ha!
Last but not least, I hope that in the next two months we will have great fun and success!
Dorothy Ho, Yew Chung International School
On Friday, 24th of January, we set off to the first camp that the ThinkSeries leadership programme has ever held. Since the camp was starting at 5:00pm and ended at 1:00pm on the next day, I was wondering what we could do in such a short period of time. To be honest, I was a bit worried that it would just be some boring camp where we have to plan what we want to do by ourselves. However, I was wrong. This camp was not like any other camps that I have been to.
Starting from the first second when we have arrived in the campsite, our activities were already fully planned ahead of us. That evening, we took part in numerous activities and had plenty of fun. Through those activities, we can develop our teamwork, leadership and presentation skills and also assist us to think out of the box.
In addition to skills and knowledge, I have also built up something very precious, and it is friendship. Although two days and one night seem so short, the time is enough for us to build a very close friendship among all leaders. Since I am one of the youngest leaders in the group, I was worried that I might not be able to fit in as other leaders are more matured than I am. Nevertheless, age is not a problem. Everybody is very passionate and unreserved. In no time, all of us were chatting and having fun with each other as if we have known each other for a lifetime.
During the days that I have spent in the camp, I realized that learning does not only apply to sitting in a classroom and listen to the teacher. We can learn in many different ways. I think one of the best ways to learn is to take part and get involved just like what we did in the camp. This way, we can understand fully of the message that the teachers want to deliver.
This camp is a brand new experience for me and I did enjoy it. The camp was fun, entertaining but also useful. Without this camp taking place, I would not be able to learn and understand so much handy skills. Furthermore, without this camp, all of us might still treat each other as complete strangers. This camp is what brought us all together and learn more from each other.
Rosemarie Ho, Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School
Under different circumstances, the ThinkSeries overnight camp would have been just another two days of trumpeting the importance of leadership and being told to lead, lead, lead their team to glory. But what exactly is leadership? Anyone could say that any leader who presents their ideas and thus expects people to follow them is not a good one. Any camp counsellor could extol the virtues of being a patient leader (because pleasantries can always help you herd teammates to your goals). Any teacher could canonise public speaking skills, rhetoric, confidence – but are leaders made of all the qualities/skills I mentioned above?
If the camp has taught me anything, it is this: a leader who possesses the traits above is almost certainly a good one, but never a great one. Good leaders lead; great leaders question.
We had memorable discussions on whether pressure is a fundamental factor for success, if ghosts are real, and whether the Hong Kong judiciary system is unfair. Celebrities often offer their opinions on these topics; are they always right? Who dares to question authority, and ask for its underlying reasoning?
It’s believing in what you believe in, while searching for proof and reason.
It’s not just simply thinking out of the box; it’s questioning why the box is even there in the first place. It’s burrowing through cold, sleepless nights for that speck of light at the end of the tunnel, for an answer.
And that’s how the camp left an indelible mark on me.
Kelly Kong, Christian Alliance S. C. Chan Memorial College
This training camp is rather short and less physically-demanding comparing to my other camping experiences, but all of us understand that the lessons of the activities taught is what it’s worth attending. The obvious significance of the camp is the construction of our team spirit and the unvoiced pact between teammates in our cooperation, as all the activities we did were in teams.
The activities in the camp were actually all highlights from which we had learnt something. We have learnt to use our instinct to communicate with each other. This can enhance our communication skills. Moreover, communications actually require us to represent our message in a way that others can understand. We can’t expect others to know our instinctive language but we need to use a common language as well.
What’s more, when we were given a task or an impromptu presentation topic, like in the real society, few instructions and time would be provided. The thing here was, we always needed to plan and think out of the box. There were much more unexpected details which we needed to consider. This is not a necessary truth, but the more details and perspectives you could think of, the more likely you would succeed. That’s why we found that observing others and matters in daily life and learning from them is frankly very important to help us build our multi-perspective view and attentiveness up. This could also speed up our rate of coming up with ideas as we could base on what we have observed and create rather than starting from zero.
One main point of the camp I must mention is that through all the activities, practices and discussions we had, friendship has really developed among all of us, especially among teammates. I want to thank for the provision of this camp and thank all my teammates (Pimpen, Emma, Albert and Brian Chui, whereas all of us were actually named “Albert”) for giving me such a precious and unforgettable experience.
Gino Lai, Kwai Chung Methodist College
It was hugely enjoyable to have camp activities with those all elites. What impressed me most is all the people there in the campsite who benefit me many. Through communicating with them, such as Justin and my teammates, we have developed great friendship and know more about each other and what is happening in Hong Kong’s school. Knowing that what the Band 1 students think of Hong Kong’s education system and all of us exchange our views and try to reach a common sense.
After cooperating with my teammates and trying to solve all the questions and problems during the camp, I think we have had a better understanding of each other and we are glad and proud to be in the same group. All of my teammates are willing to express themselves and cooperative. It makes me love this program much=]
There was many team adventure activities during the camp and my group did all successfully. The tutors told us to think out of the box after finishing all the activities, many of us inspire a lot. Don’t just do what teachers ask you to do, try to challenge if they are right! It is significant to learn how to learn!
All in all, I did enjoy the camp very much and I am looking forward for the coming activities.
Albert Leung, Wah Yan College, Kowloon
Through multiple games where teamwork and communication is critical, it bonded us leaders together as there were times we need to interact, discuss and times we were blindfolded and could only use other methods of our creation. Games are an effective way to get to know each other as not only are we communicating, but we are having fun and enjoying the process.
“I show two versions of reality and each make complete sense to the participant who sees it. I think that’s how life works.”— Bill Watterson. During the first night, we had a long deep conversation on different topics like “Do ghosts exist in this world?”, “Is the law fair?” which I might never have touched or questioned myself about. Maybe it’s because I only see and believe what everyone says, the common version. Yet, through this conversation, seeing other leaders sharing their thoughts, it completely blew me away, for their views are informative, but very different. They try to challenge others and we sometimes receive even better responses. Sitting there listening, I want to be as flexible as them, and strive for that.
This training camp definitely challenged me in many different places, making me to willing to step outside my comfort zone, like giving a presentation in front of others. For many times, my mind goes completely switched off when it comes to this, but at least this time a build up the courage to take it on. And will keep on trying to wipe of this fear, as confidence and self-belief is essential to get your message across to the audience and not just simply reciting it off a sheet. There’s no golden rule for a perfect presentation but as we all say “practice makes perfect”, and it works!
Experience is what I was hoping to gain through this training camp; two days cannot change me unless I put what I’ve learnt into use in my daily life. I really enjoyed the time in these two days, and hope that our friendship will build even stronger!
Yidy Ma, Ning Po College
Undoubtedly, this camp is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. I enjoyed the time we walked, talked and played. It’s amazing that I learned how to think out of the box. It’s marvelous that I learned how to challenge the conventional wisdom. It’s tremendous that we have become close friend, and even a Big Family which we would like to cherish forever and it’s a treasure well beyond any measure.
When we shared our group projects, we saw appreciation and heard sincere suggestions. Yes, ThinkSeries, is a magnet for people who are willing to share, willing to listen, willing to cooperate, willing to innovate and willing to build a brighter generation.
Leaders, our remarkable journey has started!
Karensa Shum, Pope Paul VI College
I had a good time with the other leaders and it provides an opportunity for us to gather and have a time to know each other. I like the discussion session which held in the evening. I like the way how we share our own ideas and how we interact with each other in which I can learn from other leaders and enriched my own knowledge. I think this session should be kept for the camp next year. And for my own opinion, I think that we can lengthen the duration of the camp next year which we can have time to enjoy those campsite’s facilities.
Monica Tam, POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School
Through this training camp, I learnt things that don’t teach in the classroom, something extra but essential for a student, a novice of the world like us.
The first thing is a thinking method which aims to let us think ‘out of the box’. Still remember those games we had in the camp is to let us think in another way, in order to develop a wider perspective. I am sure I can apply this skill in daily life, especially for analyzing situations and the trend of the society.
The second thing is to ask more and more questions. During the training camp, we often have different sorts of discussion such as political views and other social issues. Our mentors encouraged us to ask questions. Now I realized that we always learn from others during this ‘asking and listening’ process. When we ask a question, we can muse more and more deeply which help us to come up with new ideas and solutions. Besides, learn to listen others is a must, we learn from others all the time.
For me, I loved the presentation skills lesson. A mentor from the past ThinkSeries Programme taught us plenty of ‘tips’ for a presentation. That’s really helps me much because I love doing presentation. I believe I can get a big improvement, practice makes perfect!
Ahha… There’s something missing! That’s friendship. In this camp, it got us to know more about each other. We smile together, think together, facing challenges together. That’s right. This is a new caring generation and we are ThinkSeries’ leaders :)
Emma Tsoi, Diocesan Girls’ School
John F. Kennedy once said, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."
Through joining the leadership camp, I have made new friends, learnt more about my own capabilities, and most important of all, I have taken a new perspective in learning and thinking.
The camp consisted of different games and activities, which not only kept our minds and bodies busy, but also trained up our teamwork because each and every member of the group had to contribute in order to be the winning team of the whole camp.
The most unforgettable part of the camp was the game in which we could only use body language as the sole means of communication. All the members in a group were required to stand in a straight line, and they had to complete different tasks in order to score marks.
Although there were a lot of limitations during the transfer of the commands from one group member to another, everyone participated enthusiastically. In the end, no team managed to finish the last task because it required members to "think out of the box". The command turned out to be something ridiculous but doable at the same time!
The ThinkSeries Leaders of 2012 all have the same dream - to become leaders of the future. As difficult as it sounds, believe it or not, we have already taken our first step!
I can't wait to have fun with you guys again!
Pimpen Tu, Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section)
I am delighted to be chosen as one of the leaders this year and to be able to join the training camp. These two days has given me a chance to know more about myself and other leaders. I was able to spend time with amazing students from other schools and to share ideas with them. The experience shared by the past leaders has taught me a lot and has helped me improve my leadership skills. I am certain that I can better myself with all the knowledge I have received. It was a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to be able to join the training camp. I would definitely cherish all the memories and knowledge I have gained. I would like to thank everyone for making it such a successful and memorable one.
Vanessa Wu, Pope Paul VI College
The camping is really a delightful and unforgettable experience. It gathered all 19 leaders and the mentors also. We all got closer and more united. The camp also provided a fabulous chance to share our idea and opinion on some issues. On top of that, I am so glad that we all known each other better after the days and, of course the games. Besides, I learn more from the sections that talking about skill and thinking. I have a brand new views and thinking when I handle or meet with new things. This is what I think the most important and one of the most treasure ideas learn.
Dorothy Yim, St Paul’s Convent School
An overnight training camp is certainly one of the best ideas for us, 19 young leaders from different backgrounds, to begin our joint journey of work and collaboration. Not only had this camp enabled us students to familiarize ourselves through debating, discussions and sharing by past leaders who have become our mentors, it had also helped me realize my inadequacies and potentials to be further developed.
“On my own I can fly high above in the sky”, thus sings the first verse of the THiNKSeries theme song. It’s high time I noted for myself that I simply shouldn’t continue dwelling on hatred or jealously of any sort, irrespective of how others seem to outperform me, but I’ve got to learn to live at ease without depending on any external circumstances or anyone.
On top of that, regardless of the unequal opportunities, unfair circumstances, countless unknowns lying ahead on our paths, it is vital for a youngster to continue to learn and strive for excellence by going beyond our abilities. To think out of the box, to challenge the norms and not to stop there when things seem to go wrong are also what I’ve observed as criteria for exercising victorious leadership. New possibilities might come without any prompting; hence, we should also be prepared to keep a determined mind and a firm soul to make good use of circumstantial factors.