Wednesday, 29th May 2024

Wednesday, 29th May 2024

Bringing Dad and Mum Outdoors

07 Mar 2017

Ever wonder what your kids do when they go for an outdoor school camp? Eleven parents strapped on helmets to find out for themselves.

Some were there because they were curious. Others went because their children asked them to. All of eleven adults finished the morning at Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre sweatier, happier, and a little closer to their kids.

The facility, one of four around Singapore, is normally only used by primary and secondary schools to run adventure camps for their students. Like the other centres at Labrador, Jalan Bahtera and Changi Coast, it is equipped for activities such as rock climbing, abseiling and zip-lining.

Here’s how 12 November 2016 went for the parents:


All ears: Kristina Florensia, 38, listening to a briefing with her daughters Keiko, 11, and Kyoko, 9. Keiko participated in her Primary 5 camp at Dairy Farm earlier in the year, and begged her mum to come to this open house.


Safety first: The first activity is a 12m-high canopy walk, complete with obstacles. It requires everyone to put on safety harnesses and helmets.


Ground school: Before tackling the course, Kristina (at the centre of the group) and her daughters gather with the other families to learn how to use the belay system. It could save their lives in the event of a slip from the high challenge course.


On the ropes: Keiko leads her younger sister, Kyoko, breezily across the challenge course. Kristina, who had brought the younger girl to boost her confidence, found herself losing her footing and falling behind as they crossed.


Passing it on: Zaharudin Bin Haron, 36, often shares stories of his days in the National Cadet Corps with his son Muhd Taufiq Anis, 11. He also had fond memories of camps at the Outward Bound School.


No sweat: Taufiq, a scout at Endeavour Primary School, navigates the course with ease. He’d had previous experiences with low level rope courses, but the one at Dairy Farm was higher than any he’d tried before.


All together now: Serene Ng 46, with her children Png Si Ying, 10, and Png Wei Teng, 12. Serene and her husband Chin Hong (not in picture) didn’t know they would have to participate. Serene had to overcome her fears on the canopy walk. “[I] cannot turn back. My kids are already in front, how can I go back?” 


Up the wall: After the canopy walk, the families try their hands (and feet) at the rock wall. It was recently upgraded with an auto-belay system, which does away with the need for a partner to hold the climber’s rope to control their descent. 


Rest assured: Thomas Yeh celebrates finishing both the canopy walk and the rock wall with his daughter Ning Hui, 14, and son Ning Er, 11. He was impressed at how well prepared the instructors were, and how the safety considerations had been “thought through step by step”, laying his concerns about the camps to rest.


Like father, like daughter: Chong Chin Tong, 42, and Chong Kar Ying, 11 did not manage to complete the canopy walk or rock wall, but they were still all smiles, bonding over the scent of leaves at Dairy Farm’s Edible Garden.


Going green: Nature appreciation has been a recent addition to the syllabus in all camps. Here, Outdoor Adventure Educator Ms Surami binte Subari introduces the parents and kids to the Edible Garden, where students plant seeds for the next batch of campers to harvest.


What’s in the water? The families round up their morning fishing in the longkang (“drain” in Malay), trapping fish with devices made from recycled materials before releasing their catch back into the water.