#SMCHiking Library 2022 Year-End Review
By Sarah Zhang
Empower the Youth, Invest in the Future
“We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future”. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, Youth is the real gift of the nation which has the power to shape history, change the world, and build the future. The most recent experiences I had with the Youth Hiking Library, organised by SMC, have made me reflect upon the significance and value of investing in young people. By offering our time, talent, passion, and energy, we can reach out to the youth and empower them to bring about positive changes in the world.
The structure of the Youth Hiking Library is pretty unique, as it provides mentors and mentees many opportunities to interact. These positive experiences include walking and talking, sharing and challenging, questioning and responding, guiding and supporting, or encouraging and role modelling. It is a very enjoyable and enriching experience because not only is it an exercise for the physical body, but the hike also provides spiritual nourishment as well.
On every hike, a youth is paired with a mentor and they swap partners approximately every 25 minutes. During the course of the hike, you get to meet up with 5 different partners of various backgrounds. A guest speaker is also invited to give a speech about a topic of their personal life or of their interest, to inspire and encourage the youth. A question-and-answer session follows each speech. The open sharing, spontaneous questions, and exchange of ideas all promote the interaction between talented youths and international business leaders across different cultures and backgrounds. The youth get the opportunity to meet and gain wisdom from mentors with a vast wealth of professional experience or engage with experts in their dream professions.
Mentors not only enjoy imparting knowledge and kindling enthusiasm to the youth, but they can also learn from the younger generation. Specifically, they learn to be more open to sharing their thoughts, moments, and ideas and to be more appreciative of the small little things in life.
The Youth Hiking Library provides many enriching conversations along the journey, which are very inspiring and enriching. It is also a good chance for people to familiarise themselves with the green spaces and scenic spots in the city. Be prepared to listen to some interesting introductions about its history given by the founder and chairman, Dr. David Ong. He is a walking encyclopaedia who will provide in-depth knowledge about the destinations and various landmarks.
The guest speaker on November 12th, 2022, was Miss Su-Yen Wong. She shared about the skills of designing a multi-dimensional life, connecting the dots, and reinventing yourself. I particularly liked her point on highlighting the importance of keeping a sense of wonder, embracing all new experiences, taking risks, and looking at the world through different lenses. I think a sense of wonder is something that can be cultivated, just like gratitude and curiosity. By keeping a sense of wonder for the world, it teaches the individual to be more curious and observe everyday beauty. We can also keep a sense of wonder for the people around us and to show genuine interest even for those we are familiar with to allow them to show us the new sides of themselves. Once we open ourselves up to the wonders of the world, the world will surprise us with many new findings.
SMC provides an excellent platform for people to exchange knowledge and build professional connections and friendships. These shared experiences, perspectives, dreams, and passions help them to inspire one another. I feel privileged to be part of this community and I am deeply touched by the mission behind all the activities which is to develop globally ready youth. To invest in Youth, we are investing in the future. I cannot wait to join the Youth Hiking Program next time with the SMC team. I will definitely continue to look out for ways to contribute to the program. I also hope more people will join the program to support the Youth in building on their strengths and talents. This will broaden their exposure to a multitude of opportunities and also empower them to achieve their aspirations.