Today, as the selection processes have recently begun for the second batch of Youth Corps aspirants, I’d like to share my Youth Corps Journey thus far with you and, in the capacity of a member in the pioneering batch of Youth Corps Singapore, tell you about why I continue to love every moment shared in this journey.
My Youth Corps journey began way back in May, when I attended my selection interview. Unlike normal interviews with long glass tables and a panel of scary-looking judges sternly trying to peer through your soul in the short 10 minutes, this half-day selection process was done in the form of a half-day camp designed by OBS. In the span of the half-day selection, we were split into teams of about 10 and put to the trials of 3 mind boggling challenges. I say mind boggling because it wasn’t so much about the physical strength (as we’d expect from our memories as Primary 5 students trekking in OBS) but so much more a test of our values, beliefs and the way our mind problem-solves.
I remember leaving the selection process refreshed by the new friendships forged, the challenges conquered and excited by the spirit in which the selection process was conducted– in a true exploration of each individual’s character.
And astoundingly, on hindsight, the selection process was a true reflection of what the Youth Corps Journey is about– ever since our induction camp in June, the aspirants have been put to tasks that challenge our boundaries, placed us beyond our comfort zone and constantly encouraged us to bring our heart for service and people-passion, to a level beyond just ‘hoping to make a difference’. The thing about each and every aspirant that has constantly inspired me is the spirit. Here’s where I’ve truly met like-minded individuals. In the way our hands are raised and opinions are bravely voiced in sharing sessions by speakers invited or in the training sessions we’ve had for 2 days every month since June, I am constantly humbled, learning from all these peers and seniors around me whose desires to learn and serve have been the most powerful source of strength for all of us in the pioneering batch. I am fortunate to be in the company of these inspiring individuals, from whom I can constantly be learning new insights.
In the beginning, my worry was commitment. I was worried by how much I would have to put in in order to takeaway as much as possible from being in this huge 90-membered (plus all our helpful and kind mentors and consultants) family. I was worried by how being a 17 year old would be a hindrance more than a motivation for me to be contributing and standing up for my perspectives in teams of this demographic.
But I guess this experience has been the greatest and most authentic proof, of how age really doesn’t matter and you’ll never have ‘enough time’. In my team, we once in a while get into conversations about age– my teammates will remark about how young I am and how old they feel, and we will laugh. But when it comes to problem solving and learning, and in the experience as a team player, we are all equals. Constantly learning, humbled and inquisitve, equals. These adults around me have their own careers, full-time work days or part-time jobs, they are studying in universities or polytechnics or ITEs, or in the midst of their first internships. We each have a heavy plate of commitments. But here’s where we come in as one another’s pillars of support, and together we hold up each other’s plates and share the load of our service project such that in every step of the way, we all manage to take moments to remind one another of our purpose, and this purpose supplies us the strength we need to make time.
I wouldn’t say this journey has been a breeze and we’ve all been skipping along the way basking in the joys of being the pioneer batch in this prestigious aspirant journey. Instead, I’d like to acknowledge each and every pioneer in this journey for their constant hard work, this journey has been one of determined problem-solving, undying desire to serve and never-ending learning. Every month for two days, we step into a new training venue, stationery before us, thinking caps on and open minds; we learn and we apply. It’s difficult.
But at the same time, it’s the most beautiful part; to see that aspirants want more than anything to be serving the needs of communities who require a helping hand or a platform to be empowered, and to see the aspirants work for it.
I’ve tried long and hard in this post to be describing to the best of my abilities the joys of my newfound family, and to share with you as true a reflection of an aspirant’s journey as I possibly can. And if this sounds like the sort of thing that would make your heart beat slightly faster, your mind work that much harder and it would be something you’d like to say you’ve spent some part of your life investing in, there’s no better time than now, and I’d be happy to tell you more about the selection process!