The Starbucks Coffee outlet in Delfi Orchard has been a space for comfort for years now – the go-to abode for time to myself and quiet rejuvenation. I often tell those dear to me who accompany me to this space, that I love this place for the spot along Orchard Road at which it sits. The humble coffee place resides in the heart of town, at the start of the road that is every tourist’s favourite with a panoramic view of the forgotten fraction along the entire stretch of shops and malls. Relatively distant and hence, empty, I am in the company of other individuals sitting in comfortable silence with the whiff of caffeine in the air and an invisible blanket of protection seems to surround us.
This afternoon, over a coffee fix not because I need caffeine for energy nor a sugar rush, but just because I appreciate the taste of coffee. The Spotify playlist that has accompanied myself and other campers through the Dreamcatcher camp experience, playing through my earpieces instead of the loudspeakers in the Dining Hall of Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School (HCIBS). Before me, the cars speed past entering Orchard Road – mindfully enjoying the contrast, time for me comes to a standstill. This piece is dedicated to the recently concluded Dreamcatcher camp experience with Creasionaid, for the Dreamcatcher Champions who have given me immense strength and to the incredible learning taken away from the little Dreamers.
Dreamcatcher is an experience designed for creativity, passion and virtues exploration in children. The 2D1N camp first experimented on Yew Tee Primary School Primary 6 students in the past week saw the students problem solving and problem finding, communicating dreams and exchanging ideas. In the first day, students were lead through a Film Trail (with Dream Stations designed to impart values-based lessons) to accumulate Dream Dollars that could be exchanged for materials to build their personal Dreamcatchers. Truly a physical manifestation of the day’s learning and students’ imagination, the Dreamcatchers were the vehicle for inspiration in the Dreamcatcher experience. In the second day, the Day of Play Cardboard Challenge brought the Space in HCIBS to life with the students’ imagination and creativity. Exactly what Creasionaid stands for, the camp was testament to our belief in the potential of children’s ability to create, inspire and imagine.
If the Dreamcatcher experience was the masterpiece then the Dreamcatcher Champions, the artists. The backstage crew to the show and the unsung heroes to the good work done, I cannot do justice to the incredible amount of dedication and commitment that I have been given strength by from these champions. Just as in every volunteer management experience, the pullouts and lack of ‘trying’ remind me never to take the accountability, patience and effort for granted. Every action, every bit of encouragement and every presence, represents a value that the champions pride themselves by and it is this responsibility and passion that result in their immense strength. From these inspiring individuals, I want to remember the lessons of gratitude and of trust. Time and again in the Dreamcatcher experience, they have reaffirmed my belief that many people with good hearts, together, can do great work.
Those who have braved the hustle of both camps, especially, know the blood, sweat and tears (almost literally) that I have put into the operations and back-end preparation for the Dreamcatcher experience. To these individuals, I only have overwhelming gratitude to express. My favourite poem, Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, composes into a literary piece the reality of isolation. She writes that one by one, we must all file on through the narrow aisles of pain. It is a personal conviction that our spheres of influence can alleviate this reality for those around us. For this arduous camp preparation, it was these individuals who gave me hope.
It is in my deepest hopes that the days to come will see us all internalize what we have learned and gathered from one another and from our little Dreamers; that the shared encounters memorialized by photos and social media will remain reminders of the values that we so admired in the children. May the friendships last and be strengthened, may the conversations continue and deepen. May the authenticity, kindness, compassion and trust that we prized in ourselves and each other during the experience continue to be held at high regard in our everyday lives regardless of where we move onto in our endeavours.
Dear Dreamers, may we forgive ourselves for the flaws that we so embraced in our imperfect little Dreamers and feel worthy just as we wanted our little Dreamers to. They are our mirrors and in their absence, we have to be our own (or one another’s). Thank you for a hell of a ride and an incredible adventure. I wish you all the best, and never doubt that I will still care about you in time.