Nurturing The Next Generation of Youth Leaders Through Sport

It was a night to remember as the STEP Southeast Asia Youth Sport Leaders Camp (STEP SEAYSLC) 2023 drew to a close. Animated chatter and positive energy lit up the finale dinner at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir and it was easy to see why. 130 youth sport leaders could hardly contain their excitement as the night progressed with creative performances centred around the Olympic values of “Excellence”, “Friendship” and “Respect”. Cheering on their teammates, the camp ended on a high note for the youth leaders with guest-of-honour Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law presenting awards to 12 participants who demonstrated outstanding leadership.

In his welcome address at the finale dinner, Mr Kon Yin Tong, Chairman of Sport Singapore, said, “Along the way, many of you would have exchanged personal experiences and learnt from the shared takeaways. Singapore is a small country but one that is rich in heritage and culture. It is very heartening to see all of you displaying maturity and humility while embracing cultural differences in today’s globalised world. We hope the camp was able to help you discover more about yourself, unleash your potential, and elevate your leadership capabilities. More importantly, we hope all of you had fun and made many new friends during and beyond the camp.”

Jointly organised by Sport Singapore, Temasek Foundation and the Singapore Olympic Foundation, the STEP SEAYSLC saw 130 youth leaders from across Southeast Asia and invited countries participating in activities designed to overcome diversity, build confidence, and foster leadership and teamwork.

From 16 to 24 June, the participants were spilt into teams and assigned tasks to complete. The tasks were curated to fulfil the objectives under three key pillars “Leadership In Training”, “Leadership In Action” and “Cultural Immersion”. They aimed to inculcate important values such as discipline, respect, and team spirit in addition to building valuable life skills such as communication, personal mastery and problem solving. The teams travelled to various parts of Singapore and took part in high-element obstacle challenges, immersed in local culture via a round-island cycling expedition and experienced outdoor adventure cooking amongst other enriching activities. As part of the inaugural Olympic Esports Week, they also went on a back-of-house learning journey, watched virtual sport competitions and experienced virtual reality innovations first-hand. The youth leaders had the opportunity to hear from Singapore badminton superstar Loh Kean Yew on his journey to sporting success and engaged in meaningful discussions at an educational dialogue with sustainability communicator Woo Qiyun from “The Weird and Wild” on “Sustainability and Sport” too.

“The 2023 batch of youth leaders has proven that they embody the motto of the camp - "Youth athletes today, Leaders tomorrow". It is inspiring to see the younger generation speak the universal language of sport and develop camaraderie across diverse backgrounds and cultures. As their tribe leader and facilitator, I am encouraged by the grit and passion on display. People are our greatest resource and I hope the youth leaders will bring the shared learnings from the camp back to their countries and continue to exemplify the Olympic values of Friendship, Excellence and Respect,” said Dr Cheryl Tay, Tribe Leader and Academy Lead, ActiveSG Canoe Academy.

“Sports has a unique way of bringing people closer and making the world a better place. We hope this camp will provide an opportunity, for youths from diverse backgrounds across Southeast Asia, to bond and learn from one another. Through participating in sporting activities, our youths will grow as leaders of tomorrow and encourage teamwork in co-creating more resilient and inclusive communities” said Mr. Ng Boon Heong, Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Foundation.

“We are thankful to have the IOC President Thomas Bach and our Singapore Olympians meet and inspire the participants this year. The STEP Southeast Asia Youth Sport Leaders Camp has been a very meaningful collaboration, and we hope to continue promoting Olympism to the youth in the region and beyond and so they can carry on making a positive impact on their communities,” added Mr Ng Ser Miang, Chairman of the Singapore Olympic Foundation.