The 01 – Kirin Crest Scouts Partnership

Unbeknownst to many, a small group of RI 01 Scouts has been going down to support the Kirin Crest Scouts in what is known as the ‘Kirin Crest – 01 Scouts Partnership’. 

This year’s session involved seven Advisory Council members, Mohit Ahuja (17S03A), Bryan Tho (17S03A), Darren Wong (17S03A), Ryan Tan (17A01D), Kenneth Hong (17S06Q), Zheng Jie Xiong (17S06O) as well as Teo Hao Yu (17S03G). Of the seven, Ryan, Mohit and Darren shared about their experiences, guiding the Kirin Crest Scouts.



It began when former Crest Secondary School Principal Mr Frederick Yeo approached
Senior Deputy Principal/ Student Development Mr Magendiran for help to set up a
Scouts Troop, in part to provide an avenue to pick up useful life skills and discipline for the students. The first batch of Y5 Scouts, or Senior Leaders, began conducting
their sessions in 2012 every Monday, as part of their Presidents Scout Award Project. The programme saw them impart knowledge of basic scouting activities, such as compass reading, navigation as well as pioneering structures.


This later evolved to RI sending our Y6 scouts, who form the Advisory Council, to conduct the sessions instead, spanning from January till CCA steps down in late May. The Crest Secondary scout teachers in charge set a rough guideline on the skills to learn throughout the six-month period that they are there, but the 01 Scouts are granted autonomy on the ways and lessons they want to conduct.


A typical Monday session has a pair of them reach Crest Secondary around 3.45pm, when the Kirin Scouts will conduct their Scout formalities such as the recitation of the
Scout Promise and the Scouts Law. Thereafter, the teachers-in-charge would leave them to conduct their lessons, which typically opened with a discussion, followed by a
demonstration of the activity.



As Darren shared, however, it wasn’t that long before they got their first shock. ‘In RI we let the Year 3 leaders have some time to discuss and think with their groups about the activities. We tried that at Crest and it fell apart pretty quickly.’ The learning point for the group was the importance of understanding the differences between the two troops.
While RI had a much clearer distinction in terms of experience for the Y3s, their Kirin Crest counterparts did not, which made it difficult for a more constructive discussion session.


On reflection, Ryan also shared that ‘actually in RI, the Y3 leaders also use it to discuss and get to know their troop members as well, so perhaps it really is just an age thing,
like at 15 we’re mostly just not mature enough yet.’ Adapting to this difference, the Y6s went in with a clearer schedule and plan for the day’s activities and lessons.


Another change in the way they operated was their style of teaching. For example, in RI, a typical navigation lesson would be conducted in a fashion similar to a lecture, the scouts would sit in a classroom and capture the technical terms such as bearings in theory, before moving towards the practical side of things. With the Kirin Crest Scouts, they jump started the process by jumping into the practical portion, bringing a map
and a compass to visually show the scouts how it was done, and what they had to look out for. Similarly, the concept of oxygen being crucial to fire was taught by covering flame with a bottle.



Other situations required more creativity. During a session about square lash knots, four students were unable to grasp the knot. Instead, Darren and Ryan appealed to their competitive nature and offered an incentive: the troop would be split into two groups, and everyone had to tie the knot. The group that managed to get everyone to tie it would win two bottles of 100 Plus. Happily it worked, by the end of the session even the slowest
student managed to tie a square lash knot of an acceptable standard.

Of course, not every session had a heartwarming end. Mohit shared a story about how one of the Y6 scout leaders had to go down alone after his partner had pulled out at the
very last moment. At the end of the day, the scout leader went and ranted about how terrible the session was, being unable to control or conduct lessons properly on his
own, without the presence of a partner to complement him. Nevertheless, there was a silver lining – a roster and schedule popped up later, ensuring that there was a reduced chance of any pair having to go alone due to his partner’s disappearance.


Happily though, these scenarios were rare, shared Ryan, who in turn talked about some of his more satisfying sessions.


‘Definitely my most satisfying session was the last one, not because it was the last session, but because the activities took the longest to plan and its always nice to see your plans come to fruition.’


Darren added that another factor was that during the sessions you would occasionally see students that weren’t really focused and you would not have any idea if they were absorbing the information. Yet on the final activity where they had to navigate to various checkpoints using a map and compass, they still managed to still do really well.



When quizzed on the impact that they might have had on the Kirin Crest Scouts, Mohit admitted that while they did hope that they managed to at least impart some life skills to them, there was little way of them knowing if they actually did. But Ryan had a funny anecdote that led them to believe that despite the occasional indifference, there was something indelible left on the Kirin Crest Scouts left by not just them, but the batches before them as well.

‘When we first went down, they kept calling us Kenneth, and a few other names and we had no idea why they were calling us that. It took us awhile but we soon realised that the names were actually last year’s batch of Y6s that were coming down to conduct
the sessions.’


‘It turns out that last year’s batch didn’t mention that their sessions for the year had ended so to them it looked like they left abruptly and so when we went there they thought that last year’s batch of Y6s had returned to continue the sessions, so that was quite a funny start to our journey with them.’


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