NUS Students' Community Service Club - Ethelontêr

Ethelontêr

Introduction

Ethelontêr made its debut in June 2004 and is about to enter its 15th year! The freshman social camp was named Ethelontêr, or "Spirit of Volunteerism" in Greek. As the name suggests, Ethelontêr aims to inspire incoming freshmen, informing them of the volunteering platforms CSC has to offer and to help build an enthusiastic youth volunteering community within NUS. In addition, Ethelontêr also hopes to facilitate the meeting of like-minded youths, and the forging of meaningful, lasting friendships. Over the past 14 years, Ethelontêr has become one of the club's most crucial projects because a substantial number of freshmen, councillors and members of the Organizing Committees go on to serve the community by participating in the club's Regular Volunteering Programmes (RVPs) and Special Projects (SPs).

Ethelontêr XIV is not just a camp of vibrant colors, but a camp with vibrant personalities!

Ethelontêr XIV

Ethelontêr this year took in a capacity of up to 80 freshmen and 70 councillors (including the Organizing Committee). The camp took place over a 4 days 3 nights’ period where everyone immersed themselves in action-packed programmes and thought-provoking experiences!

Planning of Ethelontêr XIV started in January 2017, with the recruitment of the organizing committee, Key Councillors (KCs) and councillors. It is certainly joyous to see many familiar faces from Ethelontêr XIII joining Ethelontêr XIV in various new capacities– serving as testament to the enduring impact and legacy of Ethelontêr! In the months that led up to June, the organizing committee worked tirelessly reviewing and testing their plans to ensure a flawless orientation experience for the freshmen. Key councillors and councillors also spared no efforts in preparation to welcome freshmen, acting almost as an extension of the committee.

The journey with Ethelontêr XIV kicked off on 28th June for all councillors and freshmen with Internal Hunt, where Orientation Groups (OGs) had a campus wide hunt for stations where exciting, competitive games await! Through the exploration of the campus, freshmen were orientated to the Kent Ridge campus, and also got to break the ice with their fellow OG members. On that night, freshmen met their Secret Pals for the very first time, buddies whom they would be spending time with over the course of the next few days to get to know each other better! The freshmen also spent some time practising for a dance with their OGs, where on the final day there will be an opportunity for everyone to dance with their Secret Pal together :)

A display of sportsmanship and an ignition of friendship before a game

The 2nd day brought the freshmen together for Mysterious Journey, an experience that would provoke them to see things in ways they’ve never seen before! Of course, full information is never revealed till the day itself; it wouldn’t be mysterious if it was. ;)

Building up on the excitement, the night of the second day saw our freshmen coming together and pit their wits to the test by solving a thrilling murder mystery of an upcoming actor in a showbiz industry! Brought to them by Oscar-worthy actors from our very own organizing committee, it was definitely a memorable night for everyone!

 
Teasing “Ahma” Sim for her horrible grades when she was younger

The 3rd day started with a full-day line-up of volunteering at 2 partner organizations with different beneficiary profiles for all campers. This is the highlight of Ethelontêr as campers will be able to gain first-hand volunteering experience through the day’s activities interacting with different beneficiaries! It is hoped that not only will the freshmen find joy and purpose in volunteering and be inspired to continue volunteering in the future, but the beneficiaries, too, will have a good time with the company of our campers. In Ethelontêr, we pride ourselves as a camp which is not only about having fun, but also about making positive contributions to society.

Making one of the various gifts for our beneficiaries

Finally, what’s a camp without some fun under the sun? On the 4th and final day, the camp headed for sunny Sentosa for a change of environment to spice things up. Heart pounding races, competitive tasks, and inter OG mass games are just some of the exhilarating lineup of events! Following the fun-filled day outside of campus, OGs head back to have dinner in the comforts of an air-conditioned hall, along with the long awaited revelation of their Secret Pal, whom they probably had talked with the most (outside their OG) over the entire camp. To end off with a bang, we had a Finale Night where OGs took turns to showcase the talents they have prepared, as well as partaking in a Secret Auction where their points earned over the days through the different programmes finally got utilized! Every OG managed to receive prizes, and it was a night of heartwarming moments, where we celebrated the end of 4 unforgettable days of camaraderie.

Even under the hot sun, OG Adventurer is always ready with their signature pose

As Ethelontêr XIV draws to a close for the year 2017, it only marks the beginning of newly embarked journeys of a hundred inspired volunteers in this community of ours. The numbers may be small, but our hearts are big and our passions strong.


Reflections

The journey of being a Key Councillor in E14 has been a fantastic and fruitful one. It allowed me to realise the importance of social service sectors towards the underprivileged and the elderly. The process of the camp and all the good times will be a great memory for all.

- Rong Sheng , Key Councillor of OG Entertainer

I first joined CSC when I joined E13 as a freshman. E13 was a very fun experience for me as it was the only camp that I joined. During Volunteer Extravaganza, I went to a youth beneficiary which was an eye-opener for me as I was never interested in the youth sector. It triggered my empathy for the youth beneficiaries, which led me to volunteer in Cambodia at the end of the year to teach children. However, I didn’t get to follow up on CSC events, until E14 where I joined as Mysterious Journey Head. Even though I got Mysterious Journey Head, but I had no solid volunteering experience, so it got me very worried. Through planning for Mysterious Journey, it opened me up more to the 3 different volunteering sectors. I think the reflections for Mysterious Journey helped to mature my thinking for volunteering. Even though planning does not give me proper real life experience, I realised that when I went for Volunteer Extravaganza this time round, I viewed the beneficiaries very differently. Hoping to join a SP or RVP next! :)

- Jia Xin, Organizing Committee – Mysterious Journey Head