By Raffles ODAC ’17
Brought together by a thirst for adventure. Bound together as a family. ODAC may not particularly develop better sportsmen, musicians, or artists; instead, it nurtures individuals to better respect themselves, others and the environment. Alongside the development of qualities like responsibility and personal ownership, ODAC provides one the avenue to discover oneself – one’s strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and the understanding that such limitations can be overcome. Most of all, ODAC gives you a home – a family bonded by a common love for adventure and challenge, a reprieve from the high-stress environment of social and academic commitments, and peaceful tranquility in the great outdoors.
Every Monday is reserved for a wide range of activities. This can include physical training to build up fitness, skills training such as first aid, backwoodsman cooking and tent pitching to prepare us for survival outdoors, as well as to build environmental responsibility.
Wednesdays are reserved for 3-4 hour treks out of school, to explore the many wild places Singapore has to offer. More often than not, we tend to neglect the reservoirs and nature parks around us. Treks with ODAC will allow you to appreciate and marvel at the beauty of nature — its myriad of intricacies, yet beauty in its simplicity. In preparation for one of the key milestones in our journey, we trek with backpacks weighing 15kg or more.
It sure sounds daunting but our training isn’t for naught! Each batch goes on two major overseas expeditions a year. A short June expedition where members take time to explore their strengths and learn to work as a team, followed by the December expedition. Here, members get to experience preparing themselves for an expedition of a lifetime. Before the trip, members will personally research on the terrain and weather conditions of the country they will be going to, create their own food plan for the trip, and not to mention, training themselves physically and mentally for a tough but fun and meaningful journey ahead.
ODAC isn’t all about trekking either. Each batch can choose to participate in a wide range of outdoor-related activities based on their interest. These activities include rock climbing, kayaking, slacklining and many more. ODAC gives you an opportunity to go for these certification courses as a batch, sparking that interest so that you could explore these activities by yourself in the future. Also, we organise and conduct events such as Gear Up (an overnight cycling event), Basic Training Camp and ODACIA (homecoming event for senior ODACians). Skills learnt and applied while planning these events will sure come in handy in the future.
Most of our major milestones occur during school holidays and thus interested students should not be committing themselves to programmes with overseas trips such as ISLE, GCEP, BLP and LBA. Moreover, interested students should not be applying for Council, as they tend to clash with our trainings. Joining ODAC might also involve substantial cost, as students have to pay for course fees and expenses required for the expeditions.
Phew, this might seem like a lot to digest but fret not! Most of us came in to ODAC still burning spaghetti and dreading 2.4km runs. In the end, ODAC will always be a process of self-discovery and improvement, of learning and stepping out of your comfort zone, and of the relationships you form with your batch and with nature. If you have a thirst for adventure and an open mind, please do not hesitate to come down for our trials!
See you soon!