The greatest aspiration of all who run the Hong Kong Union for Young Leaders (HKUYL) is to inspire tomorrow's leaders today. For years, the Union has worked to give young leaders extraordinary leadership skills by giving members many different chances to grow.
One of our most exciting programmes is the Youth Leadership Seminar (YLS).
Like our Global Awareness Project at the end of last year, YLS is a month-long venture for HKUYL members to think out of the box and communicate and collaborate with fellow members on projects.
They also gained practical leadership skills from society leaders through a series of talks, workshops and a four-day, three-night camp.
In quest of the connotation
Campers successfully put the techniques they acquired from the camp into practice through debates and presentations. During team-building tasks, they learned cooperation skills and built true friendships.
Yet the most valuable element of YLS was the opportunity for potential leaders to inspire each other. For many campers through the years, this has been one of the defining experiences of their formative years.
The camp is the icing on the cake of YLS. Those who attend have completed a series of training, simulations and team challenges to learn and understand the qualities of a good leader: enthusiasm, perseverance and determination.
On the first night of the camp, campers were divided into four groups. The groups had to compete against each other in a series of tasks over a set time period. During this night-time challenge, campers had to find clues hidden all over the campsite.
Intense morning training sessions marked the beginning of Day 2. Then teams were given a chance to show off their unique fashion tastes. In the "catwalk showdown", groups showcased clothes made using environmentally friendly materials.
Then, after a quick barbecue dinner, campers headed out to a camp fire - but it was actually a long-awaited detective game in disguise!
On the third day, campers took part in a "life monopoly session". Each group became a family in which everyone had different roles. Every camper had different personal life goals to accomplish. In order to reach their goals, they had to finish different tasks.
Families also had to keep track of their "market share" and the goal was to hold the greatest amount of assets of the four families. Rather like Sims, campers playing different roles were given different life values and stamina levels. It was their responsibility to keep themselves alive and maintain their stamina level.
Trust is the key to triumph
Trust games were also played to strengthen the bonds between campers. Such games are a great way to examine friendship and bonding.
After spending time with one another for more than 130 days, participants built connections based on this trust and faith in others. The Youth Leadership Seminar is not merely an opportunity for like-minded young people to meet and learn about becoming leaders, but also another of the countless reasons being part of UYL feel so much like "home".