Outward Bound Singapore (Chinese: ), formerly called Outward Bound School of Singapore (OBSS), is part of the network of Outward Bound centres worldwide. While Outward Bound is well established in many other countries, the Outward Bound centre in Singapore has the distinction of having an 'Excellent' rating for expertise, facilities and safety. Established in 1967. Outward Bound Singapore has a campus, located on the island of Pulau Ubin.
Initially named the Outward Bound School of Singapore (OBSS), it was founded by then Minister of the Interior and Defence and Deputy Chairman of the People's Association,Goh Keng Swee in 1967. From 1970, OBSS was under the management of the Ministry of Defence, where it was used as a facility to prepare young men for compulsory national service. After it was returned to the People's Association in 1991, however, the school was renamed to Outward Bound Singapore, hence playing an active role in helping young people in their development. The number of participants has grown since 1991 and it is currently the largest Outward Bound centre worldwide. Secondary school students are strongly encouraged to attend a week's programme at Outward Bound Singapore's Pulau Ubin centre. The programme can be conducted indoor or outdoor, depending on the weather conditions. Over the years, OBS has evolved to play a more active role in community building through its OBS Alumni & the Leadership & Service Award. OBS has also partnered with overseas Outward Bound centres such as Oman & South Africa to provide more global programmes for youths. Recently announced at the Singapore Youth Conference 2014, OBS will be restructured to be part of the new strengthened National Youth Council (NYC) Autonomous Agency. As one of the National Youth Developer, OBS will co-drive the national youth volunteer programme, Youth Corp Singapore with NYC.
The Outward Bound philosophy is best summarised by founder Kurt Hahn saying, "The aim of education is to impel people into value-forming experiences, to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self, and above all, compassion." The development-by-challenge' approach combats the Six Declines of Modern Youth to produce positive psychological and social outcomes. Outward Bound programmes are designed to empower people with self-awareness, responsibility, perseverance, interpersonal skills, confidence, compassion and the ability to create positive impact for the community. Programmes follow the Outward Bound process model:
Youth Corp Singapore
As one of the National Youth Developer, OBS will co-drive the new national youth volunteer programme, Youth Corp Singapore with NYC. Shortlisted applicants will attend a 5-day residential leadership programme at OBS for training and team bonding. The Youth Corps programme will match youth volunteers with critical community needs, and help them make sustained and meaningful contributions to society.
21-Day Leadership & Service Award (LSA)
Started in 2011, this award was created for youths aged 17 - 35 with a passion for community service. Selected individuals are awarded the LSA with a scholarship to attend the 21-day course in Pulau Ubin. Awardees participate in a multi-element leadership and service challenge programme designed to broaden their horizons while being out of their comfort zones, build resilience, and inspire them to undertake bigger endeavours to the community. Besides adventure learning, organising and planning of community service projects are also key components of the LSA programme. LSA graduates become part of the OBS Alumni upon completion of the programme.
Global programmes are conducted with sister Outward Bound centres in various regions and combine both adventure and cultural learning. The 11-day Global Adventure Oman spans the Omani desert, trekking across the Jabel Akhder Mountain in the day and camping under the Arabian stars at night. Another global programme is the 18-day Global Adventure South Africa which includes exploring the sandstone foothills of the spectacular Drakensberg. These programmes are open to youths above 17.
Since its establishment in 2012 with the aim of giving graduates of OBS programme a platform to serve the community, the OBS Alumni has partnered several community stakeholders for various causes ranging from helping under-privileged families to environment conservation.
When Outward Bound first started in 1967, its facilities were spartan. Currently, OBS has one campus at Pulau Ubin.The facilities at the Pulau Ubin campus include a Peak Ascent Tower, tunnelling and caving system, inverse and tripod towers, rock climbing walls, teaching rooms and a 25-metre swimming pool for kayaking. The Pulau Ubin campus is located at two locations, with Campus 1 being larger than Campus 2. Depending on the course, Residential or Mobile, the campers either stay in the dormitories provided on campus or in tents on the centre's ground respectively.
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