As easy as ABC? Think again - My ANTS experience

06-Sep-2015

Written by Corporal Yap Ming Yang of 12th Kuala Lumpur Company

Photos courtesy of various official NTS photographers

14-16 March 2015

SEKOLAH SRI UCSI, SUBANG JAYA – The participants of Advanced NCO Training School (ANTS) 2015 set the ball rolling when all members checked in and reported to secretariat. We had no time to waste as we were required to put our bags into the dorm. With the maze-like structure of UCSI, it was really time consuming to find our dorms in the labyrinth. Busy as an army of ants, we were all given a set of tasks that should be accomplished before we reported back to our coaches.


Although the tasks given were simple tasks, we always missed out some 'small' details which later resulted in wastage of energy and time. After what seemed forever, we finally finished our registration but we were far behind our timetable. Soon enough, we learned that we would all need to face the music with the Head Coach. Our first activity was to play a game - 'Pass the Bottle'. It was a simple game but it required us to beat our brains out to find the fastest way to transfer all the bottles to the opposite side while at the same time, not breaking any rules set by the Head Coach. Through this simple game, we learned about goal setting and the importance of communication in a team.

After the activity, we had a short debriefing session with our coaches regarding Goal Setting, followed by lunch. We changed into ceremonial attire as we prepared ourselves for the opening ceremony of the camp. ANTS campers were required to do the Guard of Honour. The practice took us a long time because we were not sure of the commands. There were some miscommunications which also dragged our schedule further. I could only describe this as a situation which got from bad to worse as many of us were akin to the blind leading the blind. Having succeeded the customary session, we then had a group photo session.

Next on the itinerary: Drill forum, a name that we had never heard until ANTS itself. It certainly brought interest to all campers present. This element was implemented in all of us when we first set our foot into the BB ministry. Here in ANTS, we were introduced to a whole new world of thinking – a paradigm shift according to the coaches. We had an intense debate on whether drill throughout the country should be made uniform or not. We had different thoughts and opinions regarding the matter above as we were poles apart in nearly all our views. Before ending, we were asked to bring this topic back to our own company to further deliberate and explore. Sparks of ideas were formed in our minds as we had never thought about the purpose and execution of drill in our lives, as all came to our senses I recalled our coaches were echoing “Taking drill out of the parade (drill) ground.”

 

We then refreshed ourselves by filling our grumbling stomach with dinner. We moved on to a corporate session with Mr. Andrew Tan (Lieutenant) about Problem Solving before we proceeded to own group discussion with our respective coaches. Later on, the ANTS campers were asked to lead Praise and Worship session together with some bonding games that we play for fellowship. We set our goal to finish 10 lots before calling it a night. However, we did not manage to finish even 3 lots on the first night. With our bodies worn out after a long day of activities, we decided to retreat to our sleep when too much energy was draining from us.

We did physical training to have a head start for our second day in ANTS. After breakfast, our Sunday Service was led by Chaplain, Ps. Mark Tan. He first started by asking every group to promote our bottle to be the best in the room. It was a fun activity because we laughed our heads off when some groups promoted their features humorously yet at the same time very educating.

  

After ANTS, I strongly disagreed with the simile that goes ‘as easy as ABC’. Perhaps you are wondering why? Our second day was based on a series of activities carried out by the coaches. ABC here is the acronym Activity Based Challenges. We were given with three tasks that required different skills each round. As I mentioned, it was challenging to finish the tasks on time, what was worse was that we need to meet up to our coaches’ extraordinary high standards.

We were first given a marketing challenge to promote BB within an allocated time. Due to our lack of experience and also taking too long to make decisions, none of the groups managed to finish the task. We had no choice but to trade more time with extra lots. At the end of the activity, we had to assemble in a ‘hall’ where we were told about our mistakes and rooms for improvement. Also, we were asked to eliminate a few members who performed poorly in the first round. With a heavy heart, two of our members were sent to the quarantine room.

Our next activity was related to our lunch. In this challenge, we were supposed to pack our own lunch boxes. To excel in this round, we needed to ensure that all our lunch boxes are identical and neat. After the first round of “fire”, we learnt a great deal from our mistakes and improved ourselves. Our performance improved greatly as compared to first round. It really boosted us to achieve more together as a team in the next round.

Unfortunately, lady luck was not on our side when the third challenge was thrown to us. Only by using pictures sent by Head Coach through WhatsApp messages, we were to find the location of places around UCSI and to take a similar picture with all group members inside. We took a wrong turn which resulted in wastage of a lot of time. At the end, we had no choice but to give up as we might exceed the time limit if we do not return to the base on time.  

All in all, we took ABC was a great learning experience where we applied the skills that we learnt for the past two days. We were then given time to freshen up, and we gathered back at the common hall for debriefing and short discussions on what events took place during ABC. Our squad coaches then facilitated us to relate back to our next two modules of learning. We were surprised to know that we were already practising the lessons without realising.

At night, the NTS Campers Fellowship was handled by the BNTS campers this time. A few games were played to raise the spirit of all campers. When the rest went to their beds, it was time to finish what was unfinished – the lots that we owed the coaches. We had approximately 80 lots to finish at the end of second day. However, after our negotiations with the coaches, we managed to bring it down to 40 lots. As it was getting too late or maybe too early to the next morning, we had to negotiate with the Head Coach and other coaches on how to reduce our punishments.

We thanked our lucky stars because we have gotten extra time in bed from the coaches because to rest is to walk further. Everyone was lethargic because most of us fell face flat when we reached our dorms and slept soundly until the next morning. After breakfast, we were given a corporate lecture by Ps. Mark Tan on Christian Leadership. The last group discussion was held after the session as we shared our thoughts and opinions with each other. The closing ceremony was held with all the participants of NTS. We were above the skies when we finally got the certificate indicating that we survived this.

I gained many experiences and useful skills after going through this camp. Although it was only a 3 day 2 night camp, it certainly brought impact to my life. I am certain that I am now a better leader and ready to carry out anything that will bring the company to the next level. Now I really understand why I was asked to do what I need to do by my Captain and officers. Yes, I would say ANTS was really an eye opener to me.


Page Created: 6th September 2015
Last Updated: 6th September 2015