Ryan Leong remembers his experience at the SPARK Camp in 2015 like it was yesterday. He recounted the day when he was asked to represent his team in a presentation during the camp. As a shy and introverted 16-year old, taking a leadership role was the last thing on his mind.
With encouragement from the camp facilitators, however, he decided to step out of his comfort zone. That decision has changed him forever.
“From that day, I started pushing myself,” he said. “It has been a never-ending push to be the better version of myself, the version that I thought I could never be.”
Today, Ryan is pursuing mechanical engineering degree in a private college. In his spare time, he promotes the Ultimate Frisbee sport in selected schools. He hopes to use this sport as a tool to empower young people.
In December 2019, Ryan returned to SPARK Camp as a volunteer facilitator for the second time (his first was in 2017) as a way of giving back. “I always thought that when I have something great, I need to share it with my loved ones, my friends and those who are in need,” he said.
Ryan’s experience is echoed by many who had attended this camp sponsored by ECM Libra Foundation.
“I started to be confident and brave to speak during class presentation, especially in English class,” said Sarawakian Wendy Shane Weltor. “I discovered my strength during this camp, to never give up,” said 13-year old Deddit Radaffen, who hails from Perak.
ECM Libra Foundation is delighted that youths such as Ryan, Wendy and Deddit discover their better selves during the Camp. As a privately-funded foundation that seeks to empower the nation’s youths through education, we believe that skills such as self-confidence and resilience are the cornerstones to learning.
Since its formation in October 2014, the foundation has collaborated with leadership training firm Leaderonomics Youth, EPSOM College in Malaysia and AirAsia to provide some 500 youths aged between 13 and 16 years old the opportunity to participate in the camp.
The seven-day leadership camp is held at EPSOM College in Nilai during the year-end school holidays. Each year, about 80 teenagers are immersed in a slew of experiential activities such as games, workshops, simulations, and community projects, with the aim of unlocking their leadership potential.
The teens, mostly from under-served communities, are handpicked from all the 13 states of Malaysia. During the live-in week, campers from very different backgrounds are encouraged to build a deeper understanding between cultures and a sense of appreciation for the diverse society in the country.
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