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Youth leadership development and lifelong learning

Speech by Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth & Transport at The Boys’ Brigade Founder’s Award Presentation Ceremony 2019

Mr Poh Leong Berg, Brigade President,

Principals and Parents,

Members of The Boys’ Brigade,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. A very good evening to you all. I am very happy to be part of this evening’s Founder’s Award presentation ceremony.  

    Pursuing excellence together

  2. First of all, I would like to congratulate all our young gentlemen for being here today. You’re here because your hard work and accomplishments in the brigade-level competitions and assessments have paid off. Your pursuit of excellence – true to the spirit of this year’s theme – has caused you and your team to qualify for this year’s Founder’s Award. There are many competitions which celebrate individual achievements, but the Founder’s Award honours team wins, where you’ve overcome obstacles alongside your friends.
  3. One of your fellow awardees shared how getting through physical and mental challenges together with the BB brotherhood is an experience he will never forget. Staff Sergeant Ryan Lee from 45th Singapore Company in Xinmin Secondary School participated in the BB Blaze, a gruelling 40km multi-disciplinary brigade-level race across Singapore that many of you would have been part of too. Ryan witnessed many teams from different Companies encouraging one another to push harder. Ryan’s proudest moment was when his senior got their team to stop midway through the cycling race to help a rival team struggling with a punctured tyre. We are all very inspired to hear how you all helped one another race towards the finishing line, despite being competition rivals. You guys have set an example that’s worth emulating. Indeed, the pursuit of excellence need not be a lonely path. As you journey through life, you’ll find that collaboration and community are essential for the long haul. An African proverb sums it up this way: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I hope that you’ll continue to cherish this value of seeking the common good. In doing so, you will keep experiencing the fulfilment of achieving exceptional outcomes that you could not attain on your own.

    The importance of youth leadership development and lifelong learning

  4. Being here with you today brings me back to my time when I was in my Secondary school, Catholic High. During those days, you’re allowed to change CCAs every year. Throughout my four years, I had been in table-tennis, badminton and Library Club. I would say that upon reflection, most of the lessons that still stay with me today went beyond the classroom. It came from my experience in the CCAs. I’m sure that many years later, you’ll look back and see how you’ve acquired useful life skills from your time in the CCA you’ve chosen. In the Boys’ Brigade, your training in Drills develops a value for discipline and order in life. Your outdoor adventures not only equip you with basic survival skills, but also a capacity for facing situations with resilience and tenacity. And you never know if your knowledge of First Aid can mean the difference between life and death for someone in your future. The skills and values you’ve learnt are ever-green, and relevant at every stage of your life.
  5. I encourage you to continue your journey of lifelong learning. This habit will set you on a path where you’ll find many opportunities to improve the quality of life for yourself and others.

    From boys to citizens who contribute to society

  6. In this regard, I am pleased to learn that the enhancement of the Seniors Programme curriculum will prepare you to take on new challenges. The global awareness module, for example, aims to spur our Boys to work in teams to kick-start sustainable entrepreneurship ventures that can positively impact communities.
  7. There are many other ways that youths today can contribute to the betterment of our society. Some of you may already be involved in the SG Youth Action Plan, where youths are stepping forward to spark the next wave of change. In doing so, you play a part in directly shaping the Singapore you want to see in 2025. The Action Plan will include partnerships and policy recommendations in priority areas which you and your peers have identified. This could range from environmental change to inclusivity.
  8. One of the partnerships under the SG Youth Action Plan calls for youths and young adults to come co-create a vibrant youth district at the Somerset Belt along Orchard Road, as part of the long-term rejuvenation of our shopping district. Spaces such as *SCAPE, The Red Box and the Somerset skate park will be re-developed into a place that supports youths’ interests and aspirations. I’m co-leading this project together with Dione Song from Love, Bonito, and we’re joined by 17 other panel members who bring their expertise and passion for youths to the project. Some of the names that may be familiar to you include Benjamin Kheng from the Sam Willows, Adrian Ang (or better known as Xiao Ming) from SGAG, fashion blogger Andrea Chong, and Singapore’s top skateboarder Farris Rahman. We would like you to come make your mark on the Somerset Belt by sharing your ideas on how we can transform the area into a district where youths from all walks of life can collaborate, play, learn and hang out. You can find out more at shapeyoursomerset.sg.
  9. Through this SG Youth Action Plan, youths will find there are multiple ways to contribute to community, be it through acts of service, or being part of conversations where you and your peers can start to spark change for a better Singapore – a Singapore for you, and generations to come.
  10. In closing, I would also like to express my appreciation to all the Boys Brigade officers, parents, teachers, chaplains and school leaders. Your belief in our youths and your encouragement are infinitely valuable in helping them develop to their full potential. I also want to congratulate the Founder’s Men of 2019. Thank you for stepping forward to mentor the next generation, and impacting their lives in practical ways. I’m looking forward to presenting the Founder’s awards to our outstanding gentlemen. I am confident that each of you will continue to be Sure and Steadfast as you lend your talents and leadership to advancing Singapore’s future, alongside your own.
  11. Thank you and have a wonderful evening.

Speeches Youth 2019
Last updated on 08 July 2019