PTS runs 'Smart Teen Challenge Camp' to groom youths
More than 3,400 secondary students from over 100 schools have learned at Police Training School (PTS) how to develop self-discipline and other essential life skills since April 2000 at a "Smart Teen Challenge Camp" (STCC) jointly organised by the Education and Manpower Bureau and PTS.
The STCC is a six-day residential programme, providing a different learning environment for the students. It has been devised to help the students enhance their discipline, confidence, inter-personal skills and resilience through strict disciplinary and physical training, classroom lectures and experience sharing.
So far, the STCC has been well received by not only the students themselves, but also their parents and teachers, as well as social workers, according to PTS Woman Senior Inspector for Youth Training Terrie Lin. "In their opinions, the students have showed remarkable enhancement in various aspects, like discipline, confidence, inter-personal skills, resilience and self-control," said WSIP Lin.
WSIP Lin pointed out that, as it was easier said than done, it was essential to take follow-up actions to ensure that the students would maintain the positive learning attitude adopted in the STCC. Teachers and school social workers, therefore, should provide guidance for the students to reflect on, review and collate their STCC experiences, and to draw up practical objectives for the future.
She explained that youngsters on their way to maturity might sometimes feel confused and perplexed, like people losing direction at a road junction without any idea of what course to take. She compared STCC instructors to "street lamps illuminating the road of the youths ahead in darkness", but teachers, social workers and parents had to give the youths orientation during their growth. Therefore a multi-agency and multi-professional approach of collaboration should be adopted in order to obtain long-term achievements for youth training.
STCC instructor Station Sergeant Chan Siu-cheung pointed out that at the outset the students were apathetic towards the vigorous training at PTS. "Some of them also took the STCC as a free vacation camp and thought they could join training sessions at wish. Nevertheless, they eventually realised that the standards and requirements of PTS were quite different, and that they had to strictly comply with regulations if they wanted to continue training in PTS.
"It was observed that they started changing when the training schedule was half way through, understanding the importance of discipline and team spirit, and becoming more confident and more caring for others. Although training lasted only one week, these trainees, who were regarded by their schools as trouble-makers, were reluctant to leave at the end of training, and some even were in tears on departure. Some of the teachers and social workers accompanying them on the camp were pleased with their performances. Some parents had even sent thank-you letters to PTS, indicating that their children had demonstrated a positive transformation after attending the camp."
Feedback from schools
Student Guidance Teacher of Ling Liang Church MH Lau Secondary School, Mr Tam Siu-wa, said the unique training contents devised by PTS, together with a specially-designed learning atmosphere, had given each trainee a long lasting experience, and helped them undergo a significant and positive transformation within a short period of time.
Headmistress of SKH Tsoi Kung Po Secondary School, Mrs Lai Li Kwan-ti, also pointed out that, according to the teachers and students having participated in the STCC, the project was very successful, and had provided the youths with a most challenging and comprehensive learning opportunity outside classrooms.
Some parents have agreed that the STCC has enhanced the confidence of their children.
The father of Lo Hoi-ki, a student of SKH Kei Hau Secondary School, said he favoured his daughter joining STCC because it could not only help her enhance confidence, learn to get along with others and become more independent, but also develop her personality.
The father of Cheng Kai-leung, a student from the same school, agreed that the STCC was effective in cultivating his son's self-discipline. He observed: "Now, my son will say 'good morning' or 'good night' to me when he wakes up or goes to bed. Besides, he will look after his clothing and bedding, and help me with domestic chores."
Lo Chi-hin of Shi Hui Wen Secondary School has described STCC instructors as a "beacon", guiding him on how to take his courses in future. "Having joined the training camp, I had learnt a lot, for example, the ways to overcome difficulties, division of labour, respect for others, team spirit and so on," he noted.
Yeung Chun-fai of Caritas St. Joseph Secondary School said: "STCC instructors are like my parents, teaching me the ways to become an upright person and the importance of discipline and team spirit!"
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