In a first event of its kind, the inaugural ActiveSG Urban Family Camp @ City saw 70 families experiencing outdoor living in a unique manner over the weekend, as they set up tents at the Marina Bay Floating Platform in full view of the stunning city skyline.
Organised by the ActiveSG Outdoor Adventure Club, the camp provided over 270 participants with the chance to try out various activities together as families.
Camp participant Jennifer Khern (left) with her twelve year old son camping at the Float @ Marina Bay. Photo: SportSG
During the camp, participants got to enjoy traditional outdoor endeavours such as tent pitching, outdoor cooking, a night walk, and a campfire.
Guest-of-honour for the camp, Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee lit the campfire on Friday evening with ActiveSG chief Lai Chin Kwang, alongside some children and their parents.
“I believe that tonight [Friday], you will have a very unique experience that few people in Singapore will have, to camp under the stars within the heart of the city,” said Lee.
“I hope that this special experience will give our parents, grandparents, and children a good opportunity to spend quality time together,” he continued.
Excited participants react during the camp. Photo: SportSG
At 74 years of age, retiree Koh Ah Seng was the oldest participant present, and he attended the camp with his daughter and his two grandsons.
“My daughter always brings me to these events.
It’s good to get out with them, [as] we can build closer bonds together,” he said, adding that outdoor activities, like going to the park, are a regular occurrence for the family.
Koh’s family was one among many who raced to be the first group of Singaporeans to camp on the Marina Bay Floating Platform, with slots filling up within half an hour of their release.
“Being the first group of people to actually camp here, I think it’s really an honour,” said Jennifer Khern, who attended the camp with her 12-year-old son, Justin Ng.
“[I enjoyed] everything! Especially now, just sitting in the tent with this view,” said Ng.
Nothing quite like gathering around a bon fire at a camp. Photo: SportSG
To ensure participants could fully enjoy their camp experience, they were asked to refrain from using their electronic devices, a practice that Marlene Lau, who was there with her husband and two sons, greatly appreciated.
“Now [my children] are at that age where they only want to play on their devices, so I must think of different things to do and get them excited. I’m glad the first thing [the facilitators] said was to keep away [our] devices,” said the 48-year-old.
For 40-year-old Tang Chee Onn, the camp gave him an opportunity to spend quality time with two of his older children.
“Besides having a chance to come out with the two of them alone, this is a really nice location [to visit]. All the activities are very family-oriented [as well],” said Tang.
Tang Chee Onn (centre) saw the camp as an ideal opportunity to spend quality time with his sons. Photo: SportSG
When asked if he would promote the ActiveSG Outdoor Adventure Club’s activities to others, he responded: “Definitely, my only worry is that the more popular it gets, the harder it is to get in!”
Since its launch in January this year, the club has organised numerous activities for ActiveSG members, such as kayaking, orienteering, and cycling, with Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin promising that there will be more of such activities to come.
“We launched the Outdoor Adventure Club this year, and it was meant to enable us to broaden the range of activities that we could offer across the board,” said Lim, adding that plans are underway to organise these camps more often, including one for Valentine’s Day next year.
“I hope that [participants] realise that as a family, coming out and doing something like this doesn’t cost them a lot of money, yet it’s a meaningful, shared experience for the kids and the parents,” he noted.