Original article (c) Ngee Ann Polytechnic Co-op 

The week of 19 September 2016 saw 10 students from the Business and Social Enterprise (BZSE), Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Business Studies (BS) Diplomas come together under the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Consumer Co-operative Society (NP Co-op)’s banner to attend the ICA-AP Co-op Youth Summit (CYS 2016) held in Bali, Indonesia.

The youth summit, organized by the International Co-operative Alliance – Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) and coordinated by Singapore National Co-operative Federation, aimed to identify and solve problems faced by youths in different countries as well as encouraging co-operative solutions that could benefit young entrepreneurs. While the purpose of the trip was to cater to the social needs of the youth, it also provided as a platform for the students to learn more about co-ops around the world.

Our team of Ngee Ann Polytechnic Co-op members managed to deepen their knowledge on co-ops through participating in the sharing sessions and learnt about the history and background on why co-ops in different countries were established. We also managed to gain insights from key speakers as they shared their ideas and struggles on their respective co-operative journeys, thus creating an in-depth understanding and ability to connect to the audience. The team also pitched and heard pitches made by the other delegates’. Our co-op pitch ideas were backed up with much pre-trip preparation and research, as we learnt to work together in order to conceptualize and put up a strong proposal that addressed the real-world social struggles of the youths in Singapore.

This hard work paid off as not only did we learn the importance of self and mutual help, our team achieved the titles of best pitcher (Shawn Hoh/BZSE) and first runner-up for best pitch (Migrant Solutions Co-op). In addition, to be able to hear the ideas and problems faced by other countries gave us a better grasp of the social needs that youths face globally, hence broadening our social awareness and knowledge on regional and global affairs. The trip allowed the team to take away many life lessons and understanding on the social needs faced by different countries, making for an enriching learning experience for everyone.

We also got the chance to experience authentic Balinese culture whilst on the trip. During a village visit, the team was treated to traditional lunch hosted by the villagers. The villagers also taught the summit participants a traditional dance (“Kechak”) involving both acapella and physical dancing. The entire village stay was a good cultural exposure for us, as we not only learnt more about Balinese culture, we also had the opportunity to experience it first-hand. The summit allowed for both theoretical learning on co-ops, and for a time of increasing cultural awareness and involvement in cross-cultural learning.

The summit organisers also provided participants with time for sports and team bonding. A morning of cycling and water rafting allowed the summit participants to bond and connect through adrenaline-filled activities. Such activities allowed the participants to be treated to scenic views of the Ubud rice paddies, villages beautiful forests. The spirit of teamwork and cooperation were exercised between our team and the other delegates, as we had to communicate with one another to pilot the raft through the river rapids effectively. Ultimately, it was a fun and rewarding morning resulting in memories that everyone cherished and would not be forgetting. The exercises also served as a time for everyone to get away from work for a moment, hence allowing for a time of relaxation, and adding a touch of youth to the event.

In conclusion, the ICA-AP Youth Summit 2016 made for an excellent learning experience for the team, as many memories, experiences, and new friends were made, and the lessons learnt were inspirational. We hope that there would be more opportunities for future groups of NP student co-op members to participate in the next Youth Summit as the wide world of youth in co-operatives lay waiting for discovery by the next generation of co-operative youths.

 

Sean Lim
Business Studies Year 3
NP Co-op Intern
10/2/16