IMPACT 0085: MY CLASSROOM, THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Darwisy Abdul Rahman is an undergraduate student at the University of Buffalo (SIM) in the Bachelors of Arts Communications Program. He enjoys working with youth, especially in the area of outdoor learning. He frequently hosts and participates in workshops and events for students and seeks to transform the lives of those he meets through conversation and education. He writes a letter to the youth of Singapore, about why he does what he does!
My name is Darwisy Abdul Rahman, but my friends know me as Weezy. I’m easy-going, outgoing and I believe I am fun to be around, my friends always call me the ‘funny one’ of the group. I do my best to create a comfortable atmosphere for anyone and everyone around me.
I have worked with many organisations, but the bulk of my time is spent at the Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group (AKLTG) and their outdoor programmes, or what we call “camps”.
Four years ago, I entered AKLTG as a new facilitator. I knew very little about the outdoor learning industry, and just took it as a chance to try something new. Being a participant is very different from being a facilitator. As a participant, you’re a consumer. As a facilitator, you’re here to serve and give your best to each participant.
Looking back, I have grown so much from being a young participant to the facilitator I am now, more than I could have ever imagined. I used to be a shy boy but when I finished national service, I grew to be more outgoing and confident in public speaking. As a result, I now know how to carry myself and entertain crowds of various ages. As much as I have grown in my individual values, I sincerely hope to lead the students during camps to grow into better versions of themselves through our interactions.
One of the most important things I have inculcated in my students is responsibility. That requires being accountable and having ownership of their belongings, learning, fun and the people around them. To constantly be aware that decisions made will have consequences. This is the same for the way we live our lives – we are responsible for the journey we take – wherever we go, we are at the helm, the captain and the navigator.
I teach my students that if we are doing something that we do not like and feel forced to do, we will definitely not enjoy it. We do not force any student to participate in an activity they do not like, but instead challenge them to join in. In our outdoor classroom, it is not “whatever I say goes” or “whatever I say you do”. They always have a choice, and when they are the ones who make it for themselves, chances are they’ll enjoy the journey a lot more.
For older participants, my focus tends to shift towards their life goals. Where do they see themselves in 10 to 15 years? What do they want to achieve at the end of their secondary or tertiary education? I emphasise no matter how supportive people around them are, they need to believe in themselves. No matter what cards are dealt to us in any season of our lives, there is always hope in the next round. We cannot give up and we must keep doing our best with what we have.
Most importantly, I lead my participants in a way that helps them discover their style of leadership. We cannot put leaders into a cookie cutter mold of what we think is best – we have to support their discovery. The type of leader they become in the end is their version of leadership. I am proud of participants who have discovered more about who they are through our camps. They will continue to grow exponentially if they pursue who they want to be, not who people expect them to be.
I admit, this industry gets tiring – the occasional hiccups during camps like lapses in planning and miscommunication and constantly meeting new participants almost every week adds to the tiredness. But the passion to see lives transformed fuels me to continue giving my all. Being a facilitator is more than just imparting knowledge or skills. To me, a facilitator is there to support students to find their hidden potential, tap on it and make it even better.
“People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care” is a quote with so much truth. We can be the most knowledgeable teachers in the world, but if we do not actually care for the job or the participants, who is going to listen and follow us? And in my own words: “People will forget our face, people will forget our names, but people will never forget the memories we created together.”
I hope that the people I have created memories with through my work will inspire the many others they will meet in their lives. Together, we will create a society where we learn, grow and excel together.
This article was published on Aug 11, 2021