Reflection on Planning International Service Project 2015

By Anthony Lam, Project Manager – International Service Project

Eight months have gone by in a blink of an eye, and what started off as a dream is about to become reality. In two days a contingent of 29 Rovers and Advisors will be travelling to Malaysia and Singapore for our group’s fifth International Service Project. The million dollar question: what did it take to make this happen? The simple answer: countless hours of seemingly endless meetings, hundreds of hours in phone calls, and thousands of emails with people both in and outside of Canada.

I speak for the planning team when I say that planning for this trip has not been a stress-less feat. An International Service Project contingent has never had to travel so far away, or travel so many times, in order to get to where we needed to be; it’s a major logistical challenge to ensure that all 29 people are taken care of during the trip. It makes me proud, though, to know that time and time again, the planning team would pull together and negotiate our way though any obstacles in a unified manner. We focus intensely during every meeting we have, and we consider major and minor details to ensure that we are making the best choice possible for the contingent. Is it hard and strenuous work? Of course it is, but as President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain [and] difficulty”. These words could not be more true today because the experience and lessons learnt by planning an International Service Project is entirely worth it. In the face of stress, we also recognize how many people around us that we can turn to for their help, and we are extremely grateful for their undying support.

iproj meeting

One of the many planning team meetings that went well past midnight.

I am proud to report that our contingent members are as ready as they can be, though our preparedness did not happen by chance at all. In the past eight months, I’ve seen our contingent of 29 go from strangers, to acquaintances, and now friends as they prepare to deliver excellence on this trip. We bonded together as one big family ready to take-off through contingent meetings – periodic meetings where we had team bonding activities, relentlessly practiced our foot drill skills, or worked on our campfire acts. Outside of these contingent meetings, our members also met on their own accord to relentlessly prepare for the service work we will be doing abroad, such as lesson plans for the children at the House of Love orphanage, or spending hundreds upon hundreds of hours preparing for our sharing session presentations in Kuching. The end result is obvious – it’s one where the team now fully trusts and supports each other as we navigate the currents that is this International Service Project.

Presentations practice run

Presentations practice run

First bag check

First bag check

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As we near the start of our trip, there is one person that we must thank. Most of our Rover Crew know the people who have been planning this trip in the last eight months, but the person who people do not generally see or hear from is truly our unsung hero. It is a well known fact within the planning team that the Carol Chow has been helping us make flight and accommodation bookings since day 1, and has been working early mornings and late nights with us to ensure that our Rovers have the best travel experience as possible. On behalf of everyone in the contingent, I would like to thank Carol from the bottom of my heart for all the hard work she has put into making this trip a reality. It goes without saying that the planning team would have experienced much greater pressure and stress had it not been for your help.

For the planning team, the countdown clock really began eight months ago the moment we sat down and decided on where to go, and day by day, we work hard to ensure we are making good progress. Our Contingent Leader Scouter John would always remind us that we have much less time than we think, and that we have to make sure we are always moving forward because we have 29 people to make plans for. As we close in on our departure date, our plans are essentially complete and we are almost done applying that final sheen of polish to ensure everything will fall in their right place. With less than 48 hours to go before we head to the airport, there is a lot to be excited for. Since the beginning, the planning team’s mantra has been to create a “trip of a lifetime”, and I am confident that we will accomplish what we set out to do.

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I present to you the fifth International Service Project contingent of 29 Rovers and Advisors!

 

 

Cheryl Kwan

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