Feature Blog [DAY 10] – Priceless: A Personal Perspective on the Shilong Service Project

By: Vivian Chan

Months of preparation flashed by to this moment – but little did it prepare us for the overwhelming passion and welcome from our new-found friends in Shilong of Dong Guan City in Guang Dong province, China. Let us back track for just a bit here. For months, we toiled over preparing environmental stewardship materials from Canada to share with the Shilong Youth Wellness Association (YWA) in China—an audience with largely unknown demographics to us at the time. The best pictures we could paint of them were similar to the default profile pictures seen on social network websites with non-descript, solid coloured silhouettes. Several phases of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of materials later, we finally arrived at something relatively conservative. We were adamant in emphasizing our presentation as a way to engage in sharing and cultural exchange, and boy, what a tremendous experience of sharing we got – an indescribable feeling, much like Aladdin and Jasmine’s magic carpet ride.

It is often difficult to establish friendships in workshop environments between facilitators and participants. This time, we were further challenged to establish these relationships with participants who knew little about our background, complicated with a language barrier for most members of our contingent; it was another seemingly impossible feat. In true 180th Rover Scout Crew fashion, we took on this challenge, and passed with flying colours as with all other problems we’re faced with (if I may toot our own horn for a little bit here). Jokes aside, building these relationships felt effortless. It felt like old friends meeting again over a casual cup of coffee. The Shilong Youth Wellness Association truly understands, embraces and embodies the graces of being a welcoming host. Though worried at first by the silent reactions of the crowd towards the science and background of climate change mini-lecture, we were quickly comforted by the enthusiasm and excitement of participants in subsequent activities and games.

The day only got better from there. I daresay I have never experienced such exhilaration, pride and inspiration as a facilitator and presenter for any material; the response from the audience was unmatched and unrivaled by any other I’ve worked with. With all our efforts, we strived to provide the best-possible cultural exchange experience for the Shilong YWA. What we did not expect, however, was the equally awe-inspiring feedback, innovation and discussion interwoven throughout the session. As much as we strived to provide an enhanced and unique experience for leaders of the Shilong YWA, the Rover Crew, instead, gained even more experience through further pushing our ever-expanding boundaries, capacities and abilities. This pressure to outdo our historical performance always exists with all International Projects pursued by the 180th Rover Crew, and this one is no exception either.

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Please click this link to visit our gallery with many more Shilong Service Project pictures..

 

StephanieChan

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