By Ivan Tang (17S03K), Chairperson; Valerie Lim (17A01E), Vice Chairperson; Hannah Tan Jia Hwee (17S03L), EXCO Member; Lee Yee Teng (17A01E), EXCO Member
Have you ever wanted to try adventure activities like waterfall abseiling, white water rafting, or trekking up a steep forest hill to catch a glimpse of the Rafflesia flower? Or wanted to put into practice a range of useful skills such as first aid, knot tying and basha (a simple tent) pitching? Perhaps you find joy in forming friendships with the people you meet, and in guiding juniors through their Secondary school journey. Or maybe you have a heart for community service projects, such as distributing food packages to needy households during the holiday season. If you answered yes to any of these, or you’re willing to explore a CCA experience slightly different from the regular sports or performing arts CCA, then the RIBB’s Primers Programme is for you!
So, what are BB Primers? The Primers Programme is a structured programme for 16-18 year old youths administered by the Boys’ Brigade Singapore (BB). It offers a diverse range of experiences, from adventure expeditions to leadership development to community service. But more importantly, in the Raffles Institution Boys’ Brigade (RIBB), Primers are like the older brothers (and sisters!) of the Y1-4 Boys in RIBB.
The main role of Primers is in planning and carrying out badgework lessons and competition trainings for the RIBB Boys – for instance, teaching the Boys basha pitching, knot tying and map navigation skills for their Adventure badge or imparting First Aid skills for their First Aid Badge. Primers also train Boys for national-level BB competitions like the Drill Competition and the Blaze Competition (a competition with 30km of spartan-race like adventure!).
Furthermore, Primers join the Boys for annual camps. Contrary to popular belief, the RIBB’s camps are not “tekan” camps, but are packed with fun activities – This year, we had an urban amazing race, high element activities, and field cooking, to name a few. All these RIBB activities provide valuable experiences for Primers to bond and learn together with the Boys. And if the technical knowledge seems daunting, fret not, for there are adult officers, many alumni and seniors, and of course, fellow batchmates who are very patient in guiding you along.
But beyond merely planning and executing lessons and activities for these Boys, Primers befriend and mentor them too. Just ask any BB Primer, and he or she will certainly say that it is in BB that we forge some of the strongest friendships with both Boys and batchmates alike!
Indeed, each Primers batch is more family than just CCA. Although half of us joined the CCA only this year, the large amount of time we spend together– be it going overseas for Primers Challenge, having fun at camps, mugging through examination periods, or even just lepaking together after school – make our Primers batch especially close-knit. As our batchmate Tyrone Yeo (17S03G) puts it, “A batch is a place for each of us to return to no matter what happens. Ultimately, it’s a family and I’m very grateful for that.” All of us go through the rigours of JC life knowing that no matter how good or bad the day was, we will always have our batchmates to fall back on.
FAQ1: How busy will I be, if I choose to join BB Primers?
CCA times are 4-6pm on Mondays and Wednesday for Boys. Primers are only required to attend the Company Contact Time (where the Boys, Primers, Teachers and Officers come together) every Monday, as well as Company events like camps. All commitment apart from these is largely flexible, and each of us gets to decide what and how much we want to do — from training Boys for competitions, to teaching badge work and mentoring Boys, to running Company Events. Involvement in events and courses at the national level such as Primers’ Challenge are also not compulsory and sign-ups are based on personal interest.
FAQ2: Can girls and non-RIBB (Y1-4) boys join? What if I wasn’t part of the BB programme in Secondary School?
Yes! In fact, half of the current Y6 batch is made up of female Primers (and not all of them were from RGS GB!) The Primers programmes also caters to youths who did not have the opportunity to join the BB before, and your fellow batchmates will be there to guide and learn alongside you.
FAQ3: How does it count towards the Raffles Diploma and other awards?
The BB’s Primers’ Programme ensures that all of us are definitely able to meet the minimum criteria for the Raffles Diploma. In fact, most Primers will get the BB Anchor Award through our participation in the CCA, earning us minimally a Merit Award. The Primers’ Programme is also aligned with the NYAA Gold requirements, so Primers can work towards that if interested.
FAQ4: How can I find out more about the RIBB Primers Programme?
You can come down to the BB Primers booth during Open House or visit us during the January Induction Programme’s CCA feste. We also have a RIBB Instagram (@our60th) where we post about our CCA activities, and our own batchmates share why you should consider joining RIBB Primers under the hashtag #joinbbprimers.