What better way to make Malaysia Day more memorable than to give back, make a difference and doing good for the community? That could be anything from volunteering at a soup kitchen or selling goodies at a fundraising event.
This is what 53 volunteers from Kuching Toastmasters Club, corporate partners, friends and family did! They volunteered as facilitators to mentor 175 students from 23 schools in Kuching, Bau and Kota Samarahan at the 7th Kuching Toastmasters Youth Communication Camp held at Kem Juara, Serian.
These students, aged between 15-18 years old, boarded the buses provided for them at the Civic Centre, Kuching and travelled 57km to reach the Camp in Serian while other students from the nearby schools, like Siburan and Bau were transported directly to the Camp. They were greeted by the facilitators before being divided into 10 groups with 5 facilitators overseeing each group.
Communication is an important tool in our daily life. Thus, the presentation on how to communicate with the audience during public speaking, as well as the composition and delivery of speeches included visual and vocal display. The students were taught to keep a good ‘5-second’ eye contact with the audience in every corner of the room, maintain good posture and avoid unnecessary gestures.
They practised and rehearsed their presentations among their group and impressively by the end of the day, many of them showed much improved delivery of their speeches. Some students excelled remarkably in delivering impromptu speeches while a few struggled with the topics given. For many of us, public speaking is not our forte. We come from a diverse multi-cultural background where English is not our first language. Thus, the fear of failure or using the wrong word or grammar is often an issue. Many times, we just do not know where to start. We fumble with the topic given to us. But as the Principal Facilitator, Mr Mike Lim said, “If you are not nervous, then you are not human.” With proper guidance, good mentoring and practice, everyone can excel in public speaking. It is important to stay calm, understand the topic, gather your thoughts – whether you agree or disagree with the topic or remain neutral, and speak clearly.
The second day was a colourful one. Wearing white t-shirts, the students were splattered with coloured powder before going to the obstacle course where they learned to work as a team and helped one another to overcome every challenge on the course. The highlight of the day was a chance to try out the flying fox and glide down the hill to the land below. It was a fun experience as they cheered and gave encouragement to their teammates.
In the evening, everyone was excited for Oscar Night! They had been buzzing about it throughout the day. The students were tasked to showcase their talents and creativity. It was a night for everyone to shine! Each group performed dances, singing and acting out the scenes filled with fun and laughter. It was clearly a memorable moment for everyone.
On the third day of playing, learning and practicing, 24 students went on stage to share with the audience the knowledge they gained from joining the Camp and competed in the Impromptu Speech and Prepared Speech Contests. The 2 students from SMK Greed Road – Alyssa Yap won the Impromptu Speech while Joshua Jong with the controversial topic ‘Is It Ethical to Eat Meat’ won the Prepared Speech Contest. They were admirably eloquent and their speeches were inspirational! It was amazing to witness their progress within just a couple of days. Indeed, with proper mentoring, anyone can be a good speaker. The students gained valuable experience and made new friends from the Camp from all the various activities they participated in.
The 3-day programme, pioneered by the Organising Chairman of the Kuching Toastmasters Youth Communication Camp, Mr Stanley Ngu 7 years ago, took months of preparation work with the help of its committee members and volunteers. CMS has been a supporter of this programme since 2012 and have sponsored RM89,500 so far. Since 2017, CMS has sent its employees to volunteer as facilitators and this year, we thank our 6 employees who volunteered – Denise, Sri Bala, Sahil, Jani, Jacquelyn and Esther!
As we learnt from the Camp, 1 candle lit and shared to light other candles, does not dim its light but makes the whole place brighter. If we could all come together for the greater good of things, the world will be a better and brighter place for all of us to live in. So, please volunteer your time, donate, sponsor or send students to learn the essential tool of communication at the Camp.