Apr 30, 2018

I brought the Kids on our FIRST Family Thematic Outdoor Camp & it was a Blast! (More Camps happening this June Holidays)

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I have always wanted to bring the monkies to experience camping in the great outdoors.

But the reality of camping with kids is far from just finding a spot by the beach to pitch a tent, start a campfire and cook over it, and telling campfire stories as the sun sets. That, and the thought of sleeping in a tent with only a thin piece of material separating me from the elements did not immediately appeal.

It's the different story though when someone else takes over the logistics of planning because what that means I get to focus solely on bonding with my monkies.

Which was what we did last weekend at the inaugural Family Science 2D1N Camp organised by People's Association (PA) Water-Venture.

Held at the new 7,000 sq m campsite at Jalan Mempurong in Sembawang (beside the PA's Sembawang Water-Venture facility), the camp aims to promote family bonding and getting parents and their children to go outdoors.

The campsite can accommodate about 200 campers and comes with ample facilities like separate sheltered areas for meals and activities.

Toilet and shower facilities are also onsite - and in keeping with the spirit of outdoor camping, there is no water heater. But other than that, everything is new and clean.

The great thing about joining such a camp is all of the activities AND food is taken care of, including the tent which was to be our home for 1 night.

All families will be provided with an 8-men tent though I think it will actually be quite a squeeze for 8 persons. Realistically, the tent will be able to sleep 6 persons comfortably.

Again, the advantage of joining a mass camping activity is facilitators will be with us throughout the 2 days to guide us and teaching the monkies how to pitch our tent was the first activity of the day.

Unlike the tents I used to pitch during my school days, tents nowadays are so much simpler and pretty idiot-proof. Definitely no worries about our tent collapsing in the middle of the night!

We then kicked off our camp officially with some ice-breaker games so as to get to know other campers better.

And that is the marvel of joining a family-oriented camp. Every family has a kid or kids, which makes mingling with each other less serious and more fun.

Besides activities, four meals are also included in the camp - lunch, dinner and supper on the first day, and breakfast on the second day. Full board leh, not bad right???

We had a delay in kick-starting our camp activities proper due to the thunderstorm (no tents flew away, phew). But once the skies cleared up, all of us zoomed towards the coastline.

We had the opportunity to try our hands at Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddling.

Usually, stand-up paddle involves a paddle board for one person. But thanks to the camp, we had to chance to experience paddling on a board that can accommodate up to 10 persons!

Great for beginners as it is more stable out on the sea.

Feeling more confident, Ash and Yee (of SengkangBabies) decided to graduate to the single paddle board.

At least they did not fall into the sea. LOL.

After a quick wash up, it was time for dinner. Simple fare but it tasted pretty decent - probably because we were all famished!

The bulk of the camp activities actually kicked in after dinner where we first began by cooking our own dessert, Muah Chee, using the traditional method... on a pan over solid fuel!

Definitely a refreshing experience for the monkies, while a mind-blowing one for me. Why? Because I never knew it was THAT easy to cook my own muah chee!

With full tummies, we went on a Forest Walk which was essentially a short trek through the jungle around our campsite.

We did not see or hear much actually - only a toad and crickets - but I guess it is a good first time experience for kids to be walking through vegetation in the dark while holding onto a torch.

Our final activity of the night was more interesting though, where we learnt more about Astronomy through a star-gazing session.

This really got the monkies all excited because it was the first time they had ever seen the craters on the moon up close. We were even lucky to be able to view Jupiter through the telescope!

We then ended our packed day with supper. I don't know about your kids but the sight of cup noodles made their faces light up brighter than any of the stars that we had seen that night.

With warm fuzzy tummies, it was time for bed.

We had pitched our tent on the grass patch so it was pretty comfortable. We did bring along a few sleeping bags and cushions just in case.

Oh, and surprisingly we were not bitten by mosquitoes. And thanks to the rain in the afternoon, the night was extremely cooling. In fact, it got even colder as the night wore on!

Next morning and after our breakfast, we went for our final activity.

An intertidal walk along Sembawang Beach, where we got to spot marine creatures.

It is a pity that the Sembawang coastline is filled with lots of refuse but still, we managed to spot the occasional crabs.

And there were plenty of hermit crabs too!

It was time to break camp after that, followed by home sweet home.

We thoroughly enjoyed the 2D1N camp, primarily because there were so many activities included which really kept the monkies engaged and interested. What is there not to love about camping; the great outdoors, the tranquility, and the memories for the kids.

On top of it all, the campsite is in a secured area with fencing all around which makes it an ideal safe camp experience for first-timers!

If you are interested to experience camping with the kids, PA is organising another THREE different Family Thematic outdoors camps during the June School Holidays:

*Registration begins on 1 May 2018

2D1N Family Pets Camp
Dates: 2 & 3 June 2018

The camp aims to get participants to:
• Learn about the responsibilities of a pet owner
• Experience being a pet owner through pet handling workshops
• Encourage adoption of pets

There will also be a wide range of activities like: Pets Interactions, Nature Walk, Outdoor
Cooking, Arts & Crafts.

2D1N Family Science Camp
Dates: 9 & 10 June 2018

The camp aims to educate participants about:
• Astronomy through star gazing
• Marine Creature through Intertidal Walk
• Flora and Fauna through Forest Walk

There will also be water activities like kayaking and stand-up paddling.

2D1N Family Eco Camp
Dates: 16 & 17 June 2018

The camp aims to get participants to:
• Understand the importance to take ownership in conserving the environment
• Learn to upcycle through hands-on workshops
• Experience coastal clean-up (for below 12 yrs old)
• Kayak ‘N’ Klean (for above 12 yrs old)

There will be other activities available like ECO Games and Star Gazing.

Camp fess are priced at $80 per adult and $60 per child (below 12). OR if you are a PAssion Card member, you pay $60 per adult and $40 per child (below 12).

If you are signing up, here are a few handy tips too:

- Camps begin at 10am on the first day and end at 11.30am on the second day.
- Camp fees include: Tents, 3 Meals (Lunch, Dinner & Breakfast), Shuttle Services & indicated Activities.
- The minimum signup is 2 persons and a maximum of 6 persons.
- No age requirement for the camps but parents are expected to supervise their children throughout the camp.
- You can bring your own tent if you wish.
- For Water Activities, there is a minimum age of 10 years old.
- Covered shoes are compulsory for ALL water activities.
- Upon confirmation of registration, you will receive an info kit which include a packing list.
- Bring your own utensils (fork and spoon) and a mug/cup.
- Extremely limited parking space at campsite.
- Shuttle services from Sembawang MRT station at 9.45am will be provided. Please wait at Taxi Stand 10mins before the bus arrival. Shuttle service will also be provided on Day 2 after the camp.
- There is a tze char restaurant on Level 2 of PA Water-Venture @ Sembawang. You can bring along cash to buy additional food and/or ice cream.

Most importantly, bring along your sense of adventure!

For more updates and information, visit PA Water-Venture's Facebook page

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