I like the way I am. I’m comfortable not standing out, without fighting for attention. A camp experience though, especially with such a provocative theme “Do You Have It?” is bound to reveal what’s important, crucial even, in getting ahead.
The question foremost on my mind at the start of the Asia Leadership Camp (ALC) was, “Do I really have what it takes to achieve as much as I can?” The answer came just as swiftly to me: “Participate and remain open not just to the ideas and strategies but to the experience.”
The best praise I have for ALY Camp is that the delegates were treated like adults. There were more dos than don’ts, and handphones weren’t confiscated, giving us a feeling of responsibility and self-discipline. Daily schedules were the same for the entire five days, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., including time for homework.
The impact of people
On reflection, the camp was not about academic tools, building life skills, or making close buddies. It was an opportunity to think deeply about both the present and the future. This is, of course, thanks to truly revolutionary ideas shared by earnest, brilliant people who came from across the globe to be with us. Slowly, it became clear that the ultimate goal of the camp was bringing high concepts to us, so we could apply them personally. When we learned about Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), for example, it wasn’t just deconstructing ‘me’ and reconstructing it back again. The challenge for me was applying it to ‘something real’ and personal to me in a way that had impact.
In the end, it was the people who left a deep impression on me, who made me believe that I could possibly have “it” to succeed. Mr. Samuel Kim is foremost on my list. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out a person upfront. But how he shared intimate parts of his life and kicked off each morning with his energy definitely lent the camp a different vibe. His moving words, belief in the individual, and compassion for local communities had an impact on all of us.
How I started believing in my own success
The plenary session “Creating Value Through Design Thinking” by Karishma Mhapadi was an eye-opener, but I wish we could’ve prototyped on our own, so we could reflect more on our personal realities. Group work and presentation, however, were only to be expected. The workshops were really interactive, and my favorite fellow is Haley Burns. She definitely taught us a good “pitch,” and passing that on is easier “said” than done.
I really enjoyed meeting all the fellows, including Sarah Osborne and Stefano Zordan. Getting their autographs and hearing their final messages of encouragement on our graduation day was a touching highlight of the entire experience, and I was really glad to have had that moment. At the end of the camp, I realized it was being in the presence of amazing individuals that made me believe in my own “it” for success. Surely, one day when I am writing or telling my own story, all the gems of learning I have knowingly and unknowingly gained from the camp will definitely be part of what I ultimately share to others and contribute to the common good.
Tyler Choy Kok Weng is a Sunway International School Grade 10 student originally from Melaka, Malaysia. He’s “willing to go where life takes him” and at the same time values traditional things like friendships, family, and loyalty. Even as a teen, he sees the importance of building a network that will help him live out his passions well into the future.