Cherishing and Envisioning for Sha Tin – Community Experience Student Camp

2021/09/30

An in-depth community exploration experience:

Cherishing and Envisioning for Sha Tin

Community guided tours have been an effective method to constantly engage the public and to nurture their awareness and connection to communities. To inspire participants to turn community exploration into a habit, we experimented on a handful of novel methods to promote community participation.As our first step, we extended our previous tours and added some in-depth exploration activities that involve new experiences for and creativity from participants in this workshop.In addition to being one of the main service areas of Kaifong Tour, Shatin is also a first-generation new town, being closely related to the history and urban planning of Hong Kong. While there exists abundant intangible resources, stories and unique qualities in Sha Tin that are yet to be discovered, the district is facing rapid transformations and challenges that come along. Combining the concepts of “cherishing” and “envisioning”, this workshop is grounded on the two major themes of “Understanding Sha Tin” and “ Formulate solutions for the district”, in order to inspire participants to recognise the community’s needs and to think of meeting them via planning, innovation and creativity.

Locals from Sha Tin share with students about their daily lives in a short walk, in which students observe and identify possibly underdeveloped parts and facilities in the district.

 

Meeting learning needs and exploring communities through games and interactions

Our service targets this time are junior secondary students from Sha Tin. Nineteen students were divided into three groups to complete various tasks over the period of two days.The first day’s focus was community exploration. It was a community orientation game with checkpoints spreaded all over Shatin, allowing students to discuss in groups and decide their routes, and to listen to stories about Sha Tin through voice guides at checkpoints.Then, the day proceeded with group activities and cooking experiences at an historical campsite, where students learned not just about the history and architecture of the site, but also teamwork and communication.

 

The second day focused on planning and co-creation. Various groups formulated solutions to meet the needs of different stakeholders from the district. Students were allowed to choose their service targets from suggestions by our team or to come up with new ones. To help them understand the true needs of service targets, our team arranged interviews to be conducted with individuals from the community by students. Combining results from interviews and field observation, students proposed feasible and innovative project ideas, such as designing an inclusive restaurant for people with disabilities.

Students have curated community proposals for different audiences, and pictured here is building a “play and leisure playground” for teenagers.

“I discovered aspects about Sha Tin that were previously unknown to me, and recognised the inadequacy of youth facilities in the district.”

“Disability Inclusion: Designing an inclusive restaurants for diabled individuals”

To understand the needs and envisage possibilities of community development through personal experience.

Taking the community as a learning place, these students developed a better understanding of Sha Tin, and established connections between the community’s characteristics and history. Through a range of diverse activities, students acquired values and skills through teamwork, which included reflecting on topics from multiple perspectives. We witnessed the growth among them in terms of their social awareness and emotional intelligence through this constant process of learning and reflection. For example, while being shocked by realising how youth facilities have been neglected and underdeveloped in town planning, they believe that individuals’ efforts can bring changes to the society. Feeling moved by relevant social topics, they started formulating possible plans for changes. These activities planted seeds in these young hearts to become a force for good in society, aspiring to engage themselves in community and public affairs with creativity and enthusiasm.

Acknowledgements:
Community Experience Camp’s Preparation and Coordination work:
Sha Tin community guides who helped produce the audio guides and all the volunteers who assisted the events

Interviewees from the community:
Two locals from Sha Tin and Mr. Cheung, Owner of Shing Kee Bakery

Partner school:
Shatin Pui Ying College

Venue:
Stewards High Rock Centre