Community Guide Training with The Warehouse Club in Southern District
Invited by the Warehouse Teenage Club, Kaifong Tour is honoured to be part of the ‘Re: South – The Heritage and Community Arts Project’. Through a series of art, history and community related programmes that include education, documentation and guided tours, the project aims at preserving and promoting the cultural significance of the Southern District.
Local residents are recruited as trainees to become cultural ambassadors of the Southern District, while exploring the area in Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau. Visiting the historical fishing villages and discovering the old way of life that is almost disappearing, their goal is to turn what they saw and learned into content and materials for the tour. Through tours organised and led by these ambassadors, we want to share the most authentic side of South District and increase the ambassadors’ sense of confidence and belongingness to the district. This Southernmost part of Hong Kong is easily forgotten about but is much worth rediscovering.
We organised three training sessions for respectively retired individuals and young people. We trained 50 community guides in total from different districts and backgrounds, but with most of them feeling unfamiliar about the district. Within the sessions, there were classes that combined theories and on-site training, continuously encouraging participant to learn and explore, eventually being prepared to be engaged and familiar with community guiding in the district. We decided to let the participants arrange themselves into groups and conduct the observation according to three themes: “Historical changes in Aberdeen”, “Religious rituals and customs” and “Churches and schools”. With guidance from instructors, participants identified commonalities from different areas and the most remarkable highlights from findings, then narrowing all their ideas and selection of attractions according to personal experiences.
Our cultural ambassadors created ten tour routes with themes related to the history, fishers’ culture, unique local stores, nature and folk religion, as well as incorporating additional unique qualities of the district when necessary. This is our only tour that includes the experience of travelling with a boat, which also symbolises the livelihoods of the local fishers.
Mapping skills: Labelling attractions/ tourist spots with its relevant themes, stories, colour category, allowing participants to experiment with combinations and possibilities of route design.
Mapping skills: There is historical knowledge, such as certain important years in history, that is crucial to many historical themes and attractions. Therefore, it is important for participants to try out combinations using labels and mapping to generate different routes.
Participants explored different corners in the district where they had rarely visited in the past. This allowed them to learn about local shops, organisations and to discover the local community culture. Through group discussions about their findings, they also had a chance to reflect on their own skills, knowledge and strengths in this knowledge exchange process. Moreover, being in touch with local stakeholders allow them to expand their networks, fulfilling our goal to bring people closer and to find meaningful companionships in contributing to society.
Having learned tour guiding knowledge and skills, participants also became trained community guides themselves to lead tours. This serves as a pathway for them to contribute to their surroundings through meaningful interactions and fostering self-confidence and belongingness in society. We hope this will motivate more people in joining us to bring good to society while exploring places through tourism. One of the Southern District Cultural Ambassadors has even become a community guide in the Kaifong tour team , and regularly leads community guided tours in Aberdeen.
Participants learn in a group, expanding their commmunity networks and finding companions.