Camp Horizon 2013: Grooming and Dining Etiquette Workshop For Nan Hua High School

Welcome to Camp Horizon 2013…the three-day camp widely known as the coming of age for all Secondary 4 students at Nan Hua High School.

The word 'camp' sounds rather military and if it is to be believed, a camp comes with strict rules and regulations which all attendees must observe, or risk some form of punishment.

All this and more, you will never find at Camp Horizon 2013. Just ask any Secondary 4 student and the general consensus is that this is the camp with a great difference. This is the camp that allows students to bond with one another, experience camaraderie and forge long-lasting friendships.

The organisers prepared many surprises for the students – these included the night walk, team building games and my grooming workshops.

Yes, this was definitely the highlight of the entire camp. On Day 2, the entire cohort of Secondary 4 students descended onto the parade square in their finest wears as they really took the effort to dress up beautifully. The guys were suave in their suits, long sleeved shirts and smart shoes; and the ladies stunning in their dresses, high heels and light makeup.

With the stage perfectly set for the day's grooming workshop training programme specially tailored for the Secondary 4 students, my team of image consultants and myself kicked off the 'Impress At First Sight' segment.

There's no denial that 'clothes make the man'. Simply put, people will judge you according to the way you dress. For graduating students applying for job opportunities or scholarships; this is even more critical bearing in mind that almost all companies and educational institutions respectively now have mandatory interviews. You may have the best grades. But if you do not carry yourself wear and speak intelligently, your chance of getting that prized job or scholarship is significantly weakened.

The image consultant trainers and I shared readily – giving the students a broad yet good grasp of how to impress at first sight. Starting with the overall look, we zeroed in on the specifics and details. Interestingly, isn't this how corporates do their planning as well? They look at the big picture first before deciding how to focus on the details. Taking a cue from the corporate world, when you dress, make sure it fits the dress code or theme of the event. Thereafter, you decide on the style, colour and overall image you wish to project.

Dressing is an art. It is not a hard science. People dress up for different reasons. For today, the students dressed up immaculately without knowing I had planned something for all 447 students. Yes, they knew beforehand that they would be going for dining etiquette in the later afternoon. But little did they know that we would also be having a Best Dressed Competition for both guys and girls!

When I shared this idea with the teacher-in-charge, she simply loved it. To me, it was just thinking creatively on how to further engage the students.

Yio Chu Kang. The Grassroots Club. Our next destination on the itinerary. The ambience resembled the annual dinner and dance. Under the bright lights and cheery smiles, everyone sparkled…especially the chosen ones nominated by their classmates to vie for the titles of Best Dressed Guy and Girl respectively.

I conducted a short briefing for the 24 nominees and told them that they would have first pair up, then sashay in catwalk style on the red carpet, go on stage and introduce themselves.

Our judging criteria was divided into two parts – popularity stakes and professional judgement. You can certainly count on the thunderous cheers, feet stomping and more as each candidate made his/her appearance on stage. Popular they may be, but they still had to earn brownie points from the three teachers who made up the judging panel. Thank goodness I was spared this task as it would have been a very difficult decision to make.

In between our little Best Dressed competition, the sharing continued when I demonstrated on stage certain fine details on dining etiquette. These included how to pronounce dining terms, the arrangement of the silverware on the table and suitable conversational topics while waiting for the food to arrive.

Bon appetite! And let the best dressed be awarded!

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