By Zheng Tongcheng (23S06P) and Tay Tze Jie Keevan (23S03L)
This verse pretty much sums up the experience of a Primer in the Boys’ Brigade. A loving, nurturing environment, and a close-knit community supporting you throughout the way, are all at the core of what the Primers Programme has to offer.
But wait… what even is the Primers Programme?
The Primers Programme is a structured programme for 16-18 year old youths, which includes both guys and girls (Yes! Girls can join BB too :D ), administered by the Boys’ Brigade Singapore (BB). It offers youths the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of activities, from adventure expeditions to leadership development and community service.
Mentoring forms a core part of the Primers Programme. Primers play an important role in teaching the Y14 Boys, guiding and supporting them in their leadership journeys. As part of our well-structured mentoring system, Primers will get to help the Boys grow in character and achieve excellence. Through this, they get to know more about each of the boys on a personal level, making BB more like a family instead of just a CCA. While mentoring the Boys in their BB journey, our Primers will also be guided by alumni, teachers and our Captain! Should you decide to join us as a Primer, your leadership AND mentoring skills will certainly improve under their careful supervision.
If you love outdoor activities, then the Primers Challenge is definitely something you can look forward to! Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Primers Challenge used to be a 4D3N camp in Malaysia with exciting activities such as waterfall abseiling, white water rafting and caving. Unfortunately, social-distancing measures have forced the CCA to adapt it into a half-day expedition at St John’s Island this year. Nevertheless, it has been and still is a great way to foster camaraderie not only within the batch but also with other Primers across Singapore!
For those who love physical activities, BB has a place for you too! The annual “BB Blaze” competition, organised for the Y14 Boys, is an outdoor adventure race where they run, cycle, and kayak a combined 30km (wow!). Although Primers are unfortunately not allowed to join the competition, they still train with the Boys and play a key role in preparing them for the race. So don’t worry! Blaze will be just as equally exciting for Primers :)
Love serving the community? Apart from serving in the CCA, we also have many opportunities to serve outside our CCA. BB Share-a-Gift, for example, is a nation-wide donation drive where BB officers and members collect grocery items and gifts for distribution to the needy. Primers are involved in the packing and distribution of the hampers, and even get the opportunity to interact with the beneficiaries!
BB is also a place for the musically-inclined to thrive! Owing to our Scottish roots, we have our very own award-winning bagpipe band which regularly participates in competitions organised by HQ. If you love music, the band is surely for you!
Most importantly, in the Primers Programme, we spend a lot of time with one another and become very close friends that support each other through the toughest of times. You can definitely depend on your batchmates if you need any help—be it advice, ‘tuition’, or just someone to listen to your troubles 🙂
FAQ1: How much commitment is required to join BB?
CCA times are on Mondays and Wednesday, 4-6pm. Primers are only required to attend the Company Contact Time (where the Boys, Primers, Teachers and Officers come together) and Company events like camps. All commitment apart from these is flexible, depending on what committees you join, and each of us gets to decide what and how much we want to do—from training Boys for competitions, to teaching mentoring Boys, and even running Company Events. Involvement in events and courses at the national level such as Primers’ Challenge are also not compulsory, and sign-ups are purely based on interest.
FAQ2: I wasn’t from the Boys’ Brigade in secondary school … can I still join the Primers Programme?
Everyone is more than welcome to join, regardless of gender or secondary school CCA :) In fact, girls made up a good portion of many of our previous batches! The Primers Programme is inclusive, and can thus comfortably accommodate people from many different backgrounds. In the past, we have had quite a few Primers that were not from either RIBB or the Girls’ Brigade. So don’t worry if you have no prior Brigade experience, your batchmates and the rest of the CCA will always be there to guide you along the way!
FAQ3: How can I find out more about the RIBB Primers Programme?
Come down to the BB Primers booth during Open House!
The Boys’ Brigade Primers’ CCA Vlog: