Pulau Ubin is Singapore’s remaining hinterland, her last real kampong (‘village’ in Malay) and Singaporeans should rush to see it before it is pushed into oblivion by progress and development.
That’s what a total of 24 fathers did with their children over two weekends in July. They had signed up for Centre For Fathering’s newest programme called Campout With Dad (CWD). As the name implies, they did not just visit Pulau Ubin, they spent a night there in two-men tents.
Pitching tents was the first bonding activity of the day after landing on the island. The campers also experienced outdoor cooking, a rarity for urbanites, twice as they had to prepare meals using food items provided to them. There was also time to explore scenic parts of the island, like Chek Jawa and others, on foot. The kids were able to ease into the natural environment and enjoy catching grasshoppers. They didn’t mind the dirt. Acceptance of such experience build resilience and contribute to the character development of a child. Back at the camp site, the campers wound down in front of the ‘bond’ fire and took part in more bonding activities.
During the course of the camp, the children were able to form new friendships as they mingled and played together. The fathers also bonded through the Dad’s Pow-wow session, a time of facilitated sharing and discussion on some commonly experienced fathering issues. In the end, “both father and child learned a lot,” as one father put it.
There were high praises for Better Trails, whom Centre for Fathering partnered to run this programme. Their expertise and experience in conducting outdoor activities was apparent to all. Every father unanimously agreed that “every aspect of the camp was well thought out and [they] look forward to more of such activities.” And so do we.
We will be exploring different camping destinations. To be honest, the venue is not the most important thing. It’s the MEMORIES of the time spent together that matters.