Volunteering with the YMCA

After about ½ a year since I registered to be a YMCA volunteer & attended the mandatory orientation, I finally took part in my first Y-Outing event.  Well… why did I take so long?  Let’s just say that the volunteer portal isn’t exactly working and that emails sent to the volunteer coordinator took quite some time to get a response.  It was only after repeated emails that I was put on their ‘mailing list’ and notified of the events that are being organised.  Clearly something the YMCA should look into & handle better, cos am pretty sure people do get turned off by inefficiency.   But hey, the intention of this post is NOT to bash, so am gonna leave it as this =)

The event was some “Amazing Race” thingy held around the City Hall MRT area.  Volunteers are paired up with children ranging from 6 to 14, from various beneficiaries.  Everyone was divided up into 9 teams, under the charge of a group leader who was armed with the clues & whatnots for the event.  Basically what happened was, teams were given an initial clue to a location.  They will then have to solve it, head to the location (all the locations were within walking distance of each other) where they will perform an activity for the next clue… etc.  Yep, like I mentioned, it was an “Amazing Race” thingy!

tbh, prior to signing up for the event, I didn’t know what to expect.  Gotta admit that I don’t even like children (no idea why, I just don’t) to begin with!  Besides I probably belong to the ‘socially awkward’ category so I was wary about going alone.  Arrgghh kk, I admit… I wouldn’t even have volunteered if 111 hrs of community service wasn’t part of the cost for a YMCA Lifetime membership… and I got the membership for discounts to the Y-Treks & Y-Adventures that they organize.  But anyway, it was then or never, so I bit the bullet and I went for it.

Self-Defense: I am not a horrible person, or at least, I don’t think I am… just cos human-related volunteer work isn’t my thing.  I am quite the misanthrope, and would largely prefer to volunteer with the SPCA (which I did when I was younger) or any other animal welfare society instead =)

Nonetheless, I was glad that I went 😀

I had a pretty good time though my group pretty much ended up last.  The only disappointment was that I didn’t manage to bond with my charge – he was a 14 year old teen who looked as if he didn’t wanna be there in the first place (though I must say he did seem to enjoy himself towards the end of it).  LOL I don’t blame him actually.  If I were 14, I honestly wouldn’t wanna be there either!  But yes, despite that, I think I had a nice time.  The other kids in my group were lovely and the games, though silly, were thoughtful and engaging.

My favorite task was to take photographs with 5 tourists from different countries.  Our spot was outside St Andrew’s Cathedral, at the junction leading towards Raffles City, which had pretty good tourist traffic!  First “victim” was a nice senior lady from England =)  Then we had this backpacker from Chicago (who is pretty cute!), followed by 3 youngsters from Thailand, 2 ladies from Korea and finally 2 guys from Finland.  Was pretty surprised that everyone approached were just so accommodating and friendly!  I wonder if Singaporeans are this sociable when overseas LOL.  Then again, it was kids… everyone is just all smiles when approached by them.

Unfortunately, am not allowed to upload any pictures taken with the kids, due to some “media clearance” thingy – the photographs were taken by an ‘official photographer’ anyway – so guess the only pic I have to commemorate the day is…


LOL  One thing for sure though… am certainly looking forward to taking part in future Y-Outing events!


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