Author: Jodie Wong
“OBS – The Outdoor Classroom” is a series of stories on our participants who have previously attended Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) programmes. These youth stepped forward to share their fondest memories and takeaways from attending the OBS programmes.
Featuring Reshiivarma (better known as Reshii) for the third part of this series, he shares that outdoor cooking during his OBS 5-day MOE-OBS Challenge (MOC) Programme in 2015 sparked his interest in culinary arts!
“Outdoor cooking was one of my most memorable moments in OBS. It was a very fun experience. After attending OBS, I actually developed a passion for cooking and wanted to become a chef,” shared the Nitec in Asian Culinary Arts graduate from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), who is now working part-time in the F&B industry.
Reshii is an active OBS Alumni, who has participated in Project IsLand-A-Hand (PIAH) from 2016 to 2019. PIAH is OBS’s annual signature event, which is driven by OBS Alumni to encourage people to play a part in conserving and protecting the environment. Before that, he attended two OBS programmes – the 5-day MOC Programme and the 5-day National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Youth Leadership Development Programme in 2017.
Many individuals would agree that the OBS experience is a stepping stone in their lives that helped them overcome their fears and challenge their limits. For Reshii, he was privileged to have encountered several stepping stones during both OBS programmes.
“I was so nervous about meeting new people at OBS, and because of the nervousness, I actually fell ill a few days before the programme,” exclaimed Reshii, when recalling the difficulties he faced during OBS.
He elaborated: “I was a shy guy who did not speak much, so communicating with people was something that I was really afraid of. I had doubts about my leadership skills when it was my turn to lead my watch (the term referring to a group or team in OBS) on the expedition. I had a huge fear of heights, so I was afraid of climbing the height elements course which was an OBS highlight.”
The power of self-communication and encouragement from peers was what it took for Reshii to step out of his comfort zone. He successfully led his watch on both land and sea expeditions and completed the height elements course during the programme.
He said: “It was a lot of calming my nerves and telling myself to change my mindset before the start of the programme. Indeed, it took me a while to trust my watchmates and myself, as I personally face difficulty in finding trust in the current society. However, after going through the icebreakers and several reflections with my watchmates, I realised that I could really trust and share my feelings with them.”
Reshii’s watchmates played a major role in shaping him as a person. He mentioned that he missed “his watchmates and instructors” the most from his OBS programmes. “I really missed the encouragement everyone gave me. It marked the beginning of new friendships and ‘family members’. I could really rely on them, as they helped me to believe that I’m not just a follower but a leader too,” explained Reshii.
OBS aims to empower all youth to rise above themselves and grow as an individual, and this was definitely something that Reshii could relate to. The OBS Vision, “Inspired Individuals, Transformed Communities” was shown through his character development. Reshii, who once doubted his leadership skills became inspired to make a difference after his OBS experience, by taking on multiple leadership roles in his post-secondary education days.
When he was studying in ITE, Reshii was elected as Vice President for two Co-curricular Activities (CCAs) – ITE College West’s OWN-IT Club and ACE Club. The OWN-IT Club is a CCA that focused on making meaningful contributions through community service projects in several neighbourhoods. As for the ACE Club, it is an additional platform for ITE students with a GPA of 3.5 and above to showcase their projects and talents through community engagement experiences.
“Taking on two leadership roles was stressful back then, and I struggled a lot with time management due to a busy curriculum schedule. However, I constantly reminded myself to remain strong as I’m making a difference to the community. That’s how I managed to persevere,” shared Reshii, as he highlighted leadership as a major skill he learnt from his OBS programmes.
Finding A Career Through Outdoor Education
Like the title of the article suggests, OBS programmes were one of the turning points in Reshii’s life. Besides helping him to develop an interest in culinary, he also shared that he is considering a career as an OBS Instructor!
Reshii said: “I love nature and outdoor activities, so OBS also sparked my interest in becoming an OBS Instructor. As to why OBS in particular, it is because OBS gave me a sense of belonging, and was the place that changed me. Hence, I want to impact the youth coming for OBS programmes as to how OBS impacted me. I also want to be someone who can connect with youth as I want to empower them to make a difference.”
In addition, he mentioned that he went on to enrol himself in “professional kayaking courses” as he felt motivated after going through the different “safety drills of sea activities” during the OBS programmes. Till date, he has attained up to the Kayaking Proficiency Personal Skill Three Star Award.
When asked about which career path he wanted to pursue, Reshii pondered and answered: “Let me decide again after 2 years. Let’s see how things goes after completing my National Service.”
To The Future Generation
With the resumption of the MOC programmes earlier in February, Reshii was exhilarated by the news.
On his words of encouragement to future OBS participants, Reshii said: “I really want to encourage everyone to go for an OBS programme! Have confidence in yourself, there is really nothing to be afraid of! Take this opportunity to learn more about yourself and you will slowly realise your value during and after the programme.”
In addition, he gave a gentle reminder to “just pack according to the packing list”, as he recalled overpacking clothes, shoes, and mesh tins.
As the OBS Mission goes, OBS aims to develop mentally and physically rugged youth to be active citizens inspired to serve the community. It was heartening to hear that Reshii is now an advocate of youth empowerment, and OBS strongly believes that he will make a huge impact on them through the values he embodies and inculcates.
The pandemic may have posed a number of challenges, but OBS will always be operationally-ready to welcome all Secondary 3 students back to its campuses! Get ready to find yourself a new-found passion and a stronger version of yourself. Discover more about the MOE-OBS Challenge Programme here.