Survivor RYLA

12 10 2005

What? Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 05/06
Where? Outward Bound School, Lumut
When? 22 – 25 Sept 2005
Who? Ganesh, Kavita, Lauren, Lai Peng, Michael, Xin Ni & Lucy
Report by Michael Seah & Kavita Sukanandan

The RACKL contingent for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards 2005/06 is back after a grueling 100 hours. After avoiding the indoor-based RYLAs for the past few years, the outdoor one finally materialised and we were not disappointed. Special thanks to our wonderful Rotary Club of KL Diraja who were generous enough to extend their sponsorship to cover all of us – Ganesh, Kavita, Michael, Lai Peng, Lauren, Steven, Xin Ni and special guest Lucy who came all the way from Sydney.

Reaching Lumut, everyone was quickly divided off into different teams and to our horror, all our little necessities like handphones, entertainment, snacks and wallets were seized including someone’s iron (why would they bring an iron to an outdoor camp?). The different teams were also given daily-rotated duties at the mess hall like cleaning tables, washing dishes and washing the toilets. After some icebreaking within the team, we were allowed to return to our lodging which saw some gender inequality as the 40 girls had to share an old wooden dormitory far away and the guys got nice bank sponsored 2 person rooms!!!

The first night we were taken on a blind man’s trek where without the use of torchlights we had to find our way up with the guidance of our instructor. To our surprise once we reached the top, he purposely “disappeared” and we had to find our own way back with only one torchlight to guide us! It was a test of teamwork and trust as we had to totally trust our appointed team leaders to find the way. Reaching back we were tired enough to head back to our beds early.

Day two saw us facing a 6am wakeup call for an exercise session which turned out to be really fun as we learnt how to dance the poko-poko. The opening ceremony was next on the agenda as DG Ken was there to officiate the RYLA. Steven and Kavita got the chance to be flag bearers (Ed: yeah, and I got stuck with the name Puteri Indera Kayangan :P).

RYLADG

After that, it was time for the educational talks which surprisingly were really interesting with topics ranging from career advancement to a hilarious class on social etiquette! After a quick tea, it was time for some crazy games like Clock Tower, a very violent Dragon’s Tail and Captain’s ship. Nightfall saw us getting a briefing on our jungle expedition to Teluk Penyalang.

The 6 am exercise of day three saw us gasping for air and dangling imaginary nasi lemak in front of us as we were taken for a jog. It was amazing to see inter-team motivation as even strangers were there to support and motivate each other. Barely crawling back to base, we were immediately put to the task of rope climbing. While many looked like spiderman crawling easily up the rope wall, I got stuck hanging halfway. But with encouragement, cheers and advice from my team Gading, I managed to reach the top and hit that beam!

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Embarking on our unforgettable jungle expedition next with heavy backpacks filled with camping equipment, none of us would have imagined the crisis we went through by getting lost in the jungle and enduring an 8 hour trek well into the night. While team Gading managed to reach the camp by midnight, team Trus Madi had to put up with sleeping in cramped confines on a slope in the jungle with roots poking their backs (Rumour has it that none of them will forget the taunt “I’ll see you when you get there, if you ever get there” from Gading).

Waking up later at 7am on day four, we realized one big problem at the camp… how do you go do your morning erm routine in a bush barely 5 metres from the campsite? After a scrumptious breakfast of kaya bread and canned chicken curry, it was time to head back to camp. Thankfully there was actually a much shorter and easier route available which only took us an hour to reach back. And while the beds beckoned temptingly, it was not to be as we still had to go sea kayaking. Not that we’re complaining because the kayaking was not only fun but invigorating and rejuvenating, especially in the cool sea breeze as we tried to play “bumper” kayak and ram into other people… hehe!!

The last day BBQ and performance is a tradition at OBS. With very little time, we still managed to prepare interesting performances with a medley of songs, drama, comedy and rapping! Also there to celebrate our success at completing the program were the Rotarians from various sponsoring clubs and PDG Arasu. As we sang Auld Lang Syne and The OB Spirit song, we couldn’t help but feel sad as although our nice comforts in KL were awaiting us, it meant we had to part with our newly formed friends.

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