Towards the end of September, I had the opportunity to venture to Singapore to join the Inaugural National Outdoor Education Conference and conduct a presentation about Operation Accreditation. What I knew was going to be a quick three-day trip ended up making such an everlasting impression. My personal history has included work within the United States as a pay-to-play zip line guide. I have traveled heavily between the states, but this was my first opportunity to travel farther than Hawaii or internationally to Toronto.Towards the end of September, I had the opportunity to venture to Singapore to join the Inaugural National Outdoor Education Conference and conduct a presentation about Operation Accreditation. What I knew was going to be a quick three-day trip ended up making such an everlasting impression. My personal history has included work within the United States as a pay-to-play zip line guide. I have traveled heavily between the states, but this was my first opportunity to travel farther than Hawaii or internationally to Toronto.
Not giving myself any chance to let the jet lag set in after a full day of travel and being in the air for at least 21 hours, I was up and at ‘em bright and early for a tour of the Outward Bound Singapore facilities. Getting my bearings riding on the opposite side of a vehicle, we drove to a ferry, where we rode over to Camp 1 and Camp 2. The wind through my hair, the humidity rolling down my neck, and the palm trees everywhere were welcomed changes from the rain and chill in Colorado.
When we arrived, Jason Ong, a member of the ACCT Board of Directors, and I were met by the Directors of Outward Bound Singapore, a wild hog, and a marvelous ship constructed to be a challenge course replica of the Indiana, the ship that the British came over to Singapore upon.
To help readers understand what has been going on in Singapore, the adventure course industry in Singapore that caters to youth education has been shut down for the past two years to review and revise its attempt to provide safer regulations for the safety and well-being of the students. Our tour consisted of seeing all the different course opportunities that students are offered at this location and the East Coast course. The hope and positivity radiated from everyone we had the chance to converse with.
On day two, we arrived at the conference early enough to ensure that multiple cups of coffee could be consumed (by me) and to start meeting and networking with others who were in attendance. This was the first conference the Ministry of Education, Outward Bound Singapore, Outdoor Learning Adventure Education, and the Republic Polytechnic worked together to represent the unity of Singapore's four outdoor education sectors. From ACCT, besides myself and Jason, representatives from Adventure Systems, Exponent Challenge Technology Asia, Outdoor Specialist, and Pivotal Learning, all our Singapore-based Professional Vendor Members, were in attendance.
Individuals representing Physical Education teachers all the way to zoo program employees, were also in attendance. During the opening presentations, the honored guest and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Mr. Edwin TONG, privileged us all with an affirmation of solid support and encouragement for the direction and unification these sectors are heading. During one of the coffee breaks, I had the tremendous opportunity to speak with the Minister about how in awe I was with how Singapore puts the education of its youth at the forefront of importance, and ACCT would continue to support this endeavor through our programs and education opportunities.
My Operation Accreditation presentation was very well attended. The chipmunk-sounding video (speaker issues) was also enjoyable. Each attendee received a copy of the Professional Inspection Cover Sheet and five copies of the Trainer Affidavit and Checklist to ensure an understanding of the different forms operations are required for their application. After the presentation was done, I had many conversations about clarification, the Operation Reviewer Training, and some exciting discussions about ACCT in general.
During my final day, I had the opportunity to sit and experience being just an attendee. I didn't have to rush to present or proctor a test; I just sat and was engaged and learned a few new things. The professionalism and abundance of knowledge was not only incredible but inspiring.
Throughout my trip, I did not let any phenomenal food go to waste. Well, except for some Herbal Jelly that I didn’t particularly enjoy. And no, I did not try Durian, if you are wondering. I participated in many positive and thought-provoking conversations with many industry professionals. I made a few new friends, and I finally got to meet people face to face that I have been talking to through email since the pandemic hit. But my biggest takeaway was seeing the needs of others in the industry. All the perspectives and ideas have resulted in many ideas for educational possibilities ACCT can provide our industry.
I still have many places to travel, but Singapore has by far represented every hopeful and inspirational piece of our Adventure Course Industry with the care and precision they incorporate into their youth education.
…and I am ready to plan my trip back to Singapore.