“EVERY ORGANISATION CONSISTS OF A TEAM OF PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT SPECIALISATIONS WHO ALL WORK TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE A COMMON GOAL. USM STUDENT BRANCH IS NO EXCEPTION TO THAT TIME-TESTED SYSTEM, AND WE REVEL IN THE FACT THAT OUR TEAM BOASTS INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE COMPETENT IN BOTH WORK AND PLAY.”
On the 25th of February, the members of USM IEEE Student Branch set off for a voluntary hiking trip to Kerachut Beach in Teluk Bahang, Penang. Spearheaded by the Department of Talent Recruitment and with more than 30 people joining in the fun, it’s no wonder that the event was geared up to be enjoyable and memorable right from the start.
The initial hike up to reach the beach proved to be tough as the members had to pass through a muddy and damp path all surrounded by wild rainforest plants. Sporty outfits and water were essential, but equally important was the encouraging support from the members themselves as they urged one another on and made sure no one was hurt or injured during the trip.
The long trudging paid off in the end when into a clear afternoon the members emerged from the rainforest to behold the sight of the beautiful Kerachut Beach sparkling in the sunlight. At once all our fatigue was forgotten and everyone was bustling with anticipation at the prospect of an excitement-filled day of activity.
Three games were planned out in line with the event’s goal: to strengthen the bonds of the committee members from different departments. As such, each game compelled the members to interact with other members from different departments who they do not usually interact with. Thus, communication and familiarity across the entire organisation were effectively increased.
The first game was relatively simple yet required almost as much endurance as the hike up to the beach. Having divided everyone into groups of six, the members were then asked to sit down on the sand in a line and wrap their legs around the waist of the person in front of them. In this fashion, the race began with the interlocked members using only their hands to propel the entire line of six people forwards. The fastest group to reach a fixed distance wins!
The groups of six interlocked members using only their hands to move forwards as one
Not only did this “Caterpillar Game” challenge the members’ overall upper body strength and perseverance, it also reminds them of the importance of unity and equal member contribution: how each and every member has to contribute to the team’s efforts in order to achieve any real progress or else they’ll just be slowing everyone else down as dead weight.
A team flourishes much faster and more effectively when everybody contributes, and the first game of the day has certainly got that message across. Moving on to the second game planned out for the day, a similar and just as important message was also delivered.
In the second game, the six members of each group further divides into three pairs. These pairs now tie one each of their legs together to form a three-legged combined entity (USM IEEE SB’s own adorably awkward version of ET, ladies and gentlemen). The game thus starts, involving, in this order: filling up pails with Kerachut Beach’s salt water, tossing plastic balls into cups, filling up more pails with the beach’s cushiony sand, and finally rushing across the finish line as fast as their awkward three legs can go.
The members paired off and ready to start the second challenge
Step two: tossing plastic balls into cups buried in the sand
Step three: filling sand into pails
Different from the first one, this second game was more about interpersonal teamwork and the brain power to come up with ingenuitive ways to complete each trial as fast as possible (or at least faster than the other ETs). Thus, we witnessed brilliant strategising as the members tried to figure out the best ways to not fall flat on their faces as they fumble three-legged with all the water and sand.
The third and final game of the day was pure monkeying around- literally. The game requires everyone to sit down in a big circle, and one lucky person will be picked to be the “monkey”. Said primate will then stand up and go around the circle and chose a person to be the next potential monkey by dropping a ball behind him or her. Frantic excitement thus ensues as the chosen potential monkey jumps up and chases the original monkey and tries to grab them before they can plop into the emptied seat.
If they succeed, they can regain their seat, and the original monkey would have to choose their next, hopefully slower candidate. If they fail, they are now the new monkey and would have to choose another victim- I mean, potential monkey. The game is made funnier by the fact that real live monkeys were peeking in from the rainforest at these amateur simians.
A real live monkey watching unamused from a distance at all the shenanigans
After all the fun and games, the members were given free time to play with the sand and enjoy their well-deserved lunch break. All in all, the day’s event was a success as positive feedback sounded. We had to put our limits to the test, but in return we beheld the beauty of Kerachut Beach firsthand, improved our communication and problem-solving skills and strengthened the bonds between one another with experiences we won’t soon forget.
We began the day as many members but ended it as one united committee.
Valarie John is a Journalism major who prefers pencil over pen and paper over screen. Passionate in all things thought-provoking and unproductive, she hopes one day to become either a self-sufficient author or a dictator. Or both.