The Singapore Children’s Forum (SCF) made its in-person return this year, beginning with a five-day camp during the June school holidays.

This year, a total of 15 youth between 13 and 17 are participating in the six-month SCF journey, themed “What Does Safety and Well-being Mean to You?”. During the five-day camp in June, they were armed with the knowledge and tools they will need to tackle the issues that concern them. With the guidance of a mentor, their ideas will take shape over the coming months, and be presented at a project showcase in December.

Various strands will be explored under the main theme, including: Navigating the Digital World; Mental Health and Well-being; Relationships with Friends and Family; and Climate Change.

The focus for the first three days of the camp was knowledge-building, and included learning sessions held at each of our youth drop-in centres. All interested youth were welcomed to hear from speakers from both Singapore and abroad, and from the SCF alumni.

Within these safe spaces, participants had honest discussions on safety issues, some aspects of which were sensitive. They shared their experiences so others could be inspired by the potential and power of youth-led actions.

Brainstorming: SCF participants coming together in groupwork to tackle issues that matter

On the fourth day, they crystallised the ideas they wanted to present, helped along by workshops to sharpen their skills. On the final day, they presented their ideas to members of Children’s Society’s Research and Advocacy Standing Committee (RASC) and the Research Unit, who provided feedback.

For participants, SCF’s kickoff has already been rewarding, both in terms of knowledge gained and the growth of their own capabilities. Zahra, one participant, says she found her voice through the sessions. “I learnt that I’m capable of talking about and contributing to discussions on this topic. It was very rewarding.”

Solara, who will also be mentored this year, says the speaker talks inspired her to explore the topics more deeply, adding: “I used to be reserved, but am now able to step out of my comfort zone, and present or share my views with my group. I am looking forward to working with my team.”

Bonding: SCF staff facilitators and participants bonding over the five-day camp

The SCF journey has only just begun. We’ll check in with our participants during the showcase at the end of the year to see how their ideas have taken shape, so watch this space.

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