Sharing My Life-Changing Outdoor Experience

My smile when I got to talk to new people

On the 22nd of November, 2019, I had one of my greatest sharation (presentation event) ever in Liger which I presented about the impact that Outdoor Leadership Program brings to Cambodian youths and to me. The most joyful part was meeting many older students, seeing their smiles, and hearing that they were inspired by the project I was presenting.

Presenting to Inspiring and Supportive teachers from India

Besides the student, I coincidentally met an outdoor trainer which I easily made connections with due to our experience and perspective in the outdoor field. He shared his outdoor experiences in many beautiful landscapes in different countries he went to. His lessons learned from his trekking leadership with many participants he lead helps our program to be better. In addition, I was able to inspire an IT that only works with technology and entrepreneurship to start going outdoors, and take some moments to change the perspectives from technology to nature. 

Sharing my stories and experiences

 “Do you think Humanity is being consumed by technology?”, “What do you think about how our nature is being threatened?” and “Do you think humans are being disconnected from their true homes?” These are the questions I asked audiences to hear from their perspective and get them to open up. I was amazed to see so many great responses and discussions out of the several questions we asked them. 

Asking students questions and challenge them to think

Then, I started telling them the journey of our project:

“It starts from the great success and impact we saw from Liger students, and we thought: Why don’t we begin to spread this success and experience to other students? In my last 14 weeks, I worked in this project that aims to bring the wonderful and life-changing outdoor experiences to students. We carried out two workshops; one in Kampong Cham Province and another one in Happy Chandara which is an all girl school. It was a perfect opportunity for us to empower those women who always fight through this stereotypical society.

My group of female participants in Happy Chandara Workshop which we introduced a new perspective of leadership to
The Whole Excited Crew!

I am sure they are familiar with the concept of “Girls are housewives and indoor workers rather than explorers in the outdoors.” We wanted to fight that stigma together by introducing these girls to our program. After the workshop, they were all enthusiastic to go to the trekking right away. Their smiles, responses to our questions, discussions with each other and especially their spread of ideas with their peers proved our project was making real impacts. We watched them have fun, learn and grow together in just an afternoon of our pre-workshop. I can’t imagine what change it can bring to them after the whole program.” 

“I want to have the workshop and go out trekking, too!” One of the girls from GreenLand said full of energy. I replied telling her that we are going to collaborate with her school, too. She was happy, and I was even more excited to work with them already. I continued with the stories from my most life changing outdoor trip ever that I had just a few days earlier: 

“Wow, I do not know where to begin this great adventure story of mine. It was my absolute most challenging and most outside-of-my-comfort-zone experience which I discovered the true strength of teamwork and the power of determination.

My Girl Team!
The Start of the Adventurous Journey

It leads me to overcoming my fears, walking through obstacles and fighting through the hardest challenges, taking real risks and responsibilities and especially to think and see beyond. It proved the saying: Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I can tell you it’s most true when it comes to outdoor.

The great exhaustion, 

the short breaths and pounding hearts, 

the muscle ache, ankle twist, blisters, blood, sweat and tears,

were the only light to self-improvement and growth. 

It leads us to the greatest sceneries, 

Of mountains and valleys,

Of singing birds in their paradise, 

Of  wild animals living in their true homes,

Of families of bees, that chase and stinks us,

Of gnarly bushes of trees that reach out to us,

As we trek, sang, and explore,

Discovering new wonders as we go. ” 

Outdoor Leadership is not just a typical trip; rather a personal experience, an exploration, a discovery that will forever capture our fascination in the deepest part of your soul.

Youth Outdoor Leadership Program

Deep in the woods. Lost in the wild. Found my soul

Lifestyles in the city are full of modern technologies and convenience which tend to slowly take humanity away from their true home, nature. After years of growing up in the city, I did not have a lot of time to spend in the wild beauty of nature and get a chance to actually appreciate how special and wonderful it is. Luckily, I got to have a full experience in the wilderness during an exploration called Outdoor Leadership. That is when Nature became a big inspiration for me and I wanted to share that inspiration to other youths in Cambodia. 

Youth Outdoor Leadership Program is an exploration that gives me a chance to use my wonderful experiences and lessons I got from my time in nature to inspire other students in my country. The mission of this project is to empower Cambodian youth to be outdoor leaders and environmental stewards by introducing them to natural spaces, raising awareness of conservation threats, and nurturing the passion and skills needed to positively impact their communities. 

To complete this mission, we have came up with specific goals that we want the youths to experience. 

First of all, we would love to give them a chance to explore the outdoor nature of Cambodia and learn about the wonderful wilderness we have. This will be an experiential outdoor program because the students are going to trek, camp, observe nature and practice a lot of skills in the wild. 

In order to prepare them for the trips, we are going to run four main workshops with them that focuses on different skills including: leadership and community building, medical and risk management, nature appreciation and wilderness skills. By introducing them to these skills, we are hoping to develop their appreciation of nature and the treasures they did not know existed in their own country. 

This round, we focuses mainly on developing the four workshops. The exploration have talked to many outdoor leaders working in different fields and places to strengthen our understanding about outdoor leadership. Through this experience, I can understand deeper about outdoor leadership and how to develop a great workshop. 

Female Outdoor Leadership Team

This Outdoor Leadership Program for Youth is hopeful for creating a huge impact, not only on those youths who are participants, but their community as a whole. Participants who are joining will be encouraged to break down gender stereotypes which always limited girls from doing outdoor activities and sports. The youths will also be encouraged to get outside of their comfort zone and try something that they have never done before. 

To keep the positive impact going, even this program ended, we are going to ask the participants to continue spreading the environmental stewardship to their own community through the Final Impact Project. The participants will create their own projects to share their experiences and awareness to a bigger audience. By doing this, the change will keep going and the hopes of preserving our nature is brighter. 

 

Do You Know What Makes Your Favorite Movie So Good?

What do you think when you hear about the filming and acting industry? Do you think about those famous actors/actresses in high-quality companies or do you think about plays in a theatre, TV Shows, or youtube videos?

Well, all of the things listed above have a lot of things in common, but one feature I want to highlight is the Art of Visual Storytelling.

What is Visual Storytelling?

Neo in a scene from ‘The Matrix’ movie. From: rgtxkent.com

When you watch your favorite movie and get so consumed, do you feel like you are in a completely different world? Like you are really going with the characters and their missions?

That is what Visual Storytelling does to the audience, is to get their attention, engagement and to deliver the audiences the best experience they can have from visual effects. It is a way of telling the story through elements that we can see in the film, not by words or texts.

 

 

Factors that Affect Story-Tellings  &  How You Can Learn to Make it Better

Story-telling can be impacted by many different effects that can be used to create a story and attract the senses of the audience, without relying on texts but by doing in Visually instead.

a. Lighting

Designed by Angely in Adobe Sparks

Lighting plays a really important role in story-telling because it has the power to create moods or tone that can provide a context of an emotion or situation of the story that we want to tell. In addition, lighting can communicate the traits of characters to the audience, sometimes even without the audience’s consciousness!

For example, when you see a silhouetted man that comes out of a dark shadow and his face is so dark, you can assume he is a bad guy from a dark family or background. Dark lights often used to depict emotions related to horror, thrilling, negative, sad or lonely. Sometimes, filmmakers use lighting to attract the viewer’s attention to the main subject that they want to highlight.

b. Editing/Visual Effects

Designed by Angely in Adobe Sparks

Since the editing technology has developed greatly throughout these several decades, filmmakers can use editing as a major tool to enhance their story-telling in movies and films. It can allow the quality of the film to go beyond what only Cameras can do. Editing can add abstract elements that the camera can’t take, making films with abstract ideas look more realistic.

c. Sound

Designed by Angely in Adobe Sparks

Out of the five of human’s senses, our brain can process sound faster than any other senses (-from Blog.Medel.com), which means the sound is an important feature to evoke the audience’s senses and bring their full attention and interest to the movie. A good movie has realistic sound effects that are made in either the studio by different props (famous companies like Disney has a studio full of the props to create sound effects) or in the real set. Filmmakers need to make sure that the sound is high-quality as always to ensure the quality of the whole film.

There are two types of sound in film, Diegetic and Non-Diegetic. Diagetic is the type of sound that is in the world of the stories including communication between characters, sounds from actions and more. Non-Diegetic is the sounds that aren’t in the world of the stories but are edited to communicate to the audiences.

 d. Context/Background

Designed by Angely in Adobe Sparks

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed, pictures we see in films tells us the story without using texts or speeches. The pictures communicate the stories to us in an interesting way that can bring our interest to the movies. That is why context and background in films are important, it shows the world of the story without using a lot of texts or speeches that usually bore the audience.

The Smith Family from ”Meet Me in St.Louise’. Notice how the context and background here tell you the status and type of the Smith Family and the situation that is going on with their lives in the scene. Photo from: Heights Theater

e. Color

Designed by Angely in Adobe Sparks

Do you feel the difference when you watch an old black and white movie and when you watch a vividly colored movie? Does it make you more engaged and understand the story better? According to Kendra Cherry, an educational consultant and psychology professor, Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. Therefore, the right use of color to paint a story in films is crucial.

Do you feel a difference looking at this picture and the previous one? It is from the same movie, but notice how the colors can change your feelings. Photo from: Highlight Hollywood

f. Camera Angles/Different types of shots

Designed by Angely in Adobe Sparks

Although most of us don’t notice the way movies are shot, the angles that the actions are captured can have a powerful change to the way we view the stories.

For example, high angle shots make the character below the camera looks weak, sad, down or being beaten. It represents vulnerability, emphasizes the danger or adds tension to the story. 

This is Dobby, a house-elf from the Harry Potter series. The director uses high angle shots to showcase the weakness and the tragedy in Doby’s life. Photo from: Studio Binder.

On the other hand, low angle shots make the character above looks powerful, confident and strong. Mostly, it is used to portray courageous heroes or characters who have more power and control than others. 

This low angle shot from The Matrix is used to emphasize the control that these men have over Neon. Photo from: Studio Binder

These are just a few simple examples, but there are more to angles than we notice.

To conclude, filmmaking is a challenging process that requires creativity, understanding, and knowledge of the field. However, it can be a great tool to change people’s mindsets and convey important messages to the audience, therefore, creating the possibility of a better future. 

Photo from: BBC Nordic

For more information or further learning: check out these great articles that I have cited in the post:

Visual Story Telling

Sound Statistics

Color Psychology

High Angles Effects & Low Angle Effects

The Beauty of Wilderness and What Can We Learn From It

In this modern civilization of technology, urbanized citizens live in a city full of infrastructures, carrying their career stress everywhere they go. In this busy world, People tend to forget about their true passions, dreams, and happiness.

 

Documenting my observing of nature down

That is why being outdoor is important, not only to your refreshed feelings but also to your own development as a person. How you can learn and explore new things in a wild environment, how you can find new interests in a different lifestyle, how you can make beautiful memories and just let ourselves be close to a calming paradise. In nature, there’s a million wonders for you to discover, about yourselves, about people around you and about the beautiful world you live in.

In the exploration ‘Outdoor Leadership’, I have experienced many new interesting ways to be in nature and learned many important skills as well.

Traditional Cooking

Many habits that we do for granted in our daily lives are done in a different way in outdoors and all of the things that we have convenient access to is hard to find; therefore, we need to learn how to adapt to this new environment.

When we are in the city, people live in buildings, houses or huge apartments, but in nature, we camp and sleep in a tent.

Some of the fundamental skills we learned are how to set up tents, make fire & collect firewoods, cook food and more by our own which I really enjoyed doing during our trip because I felt like I am being responsible for my team and actually get to live in a very different lifestyle.

Wilderness Rescuer Training

Imagine if you or someone in your team encounters a sudden health problem that requires immediate evacuation. It would be not as stressful when you can just call the ambulance right away, but when you are outdoor, you need to deal with it in a completely different way. Even if you can call the ambulance, they would take a very long time to come, so what can you do during your waiting? This situation is one of the most common causes of death in Cambodia when people do not know the right way to help a patient when there’s an emergency. After getting trained about all of the emergency wilderness first aid, we all know how to help the patient before the evacuation comes including how to check for the pulse, major bleeding, deformities, serious injuries. How to make sure that the environment is safe and comfortable. We have practiced all of these skills during our trip to Mondulkiri.

Exploring Birds

Besides all of the things I have learned, it is as important to be aware of your interests, particularly of how it has changed before and after being outdoor. For me, I have developed several new interests and passions after going trekking in Mondulkiri. I become more interested about staying or trekking in nature, camping, cooking, being a wilderness rescuer, trying new things in different environments (some of the examples are: phnong food cooking, rescue scenarios, trekking and camping in a new wilderness place)

Overall, it was a successful trip with all three of my goals accomplished at the end (my three goals are: to be more comfortable in nature, push myself to the limits and to find beauty in nature. I have learned many new things and discovered my own passions, interests and what nature means to me,  learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable

 

Look beyond the sky, Dance with the moon, Enjoy the rhythm of the stars and See the beauty of life ” – Angely Rose

 

FLL Robotics Competition, An Experience of a Lifetime

As the world has revolutionized greatly by new inventions of Technology, It is crucial to study and understand further into the field. In the present days, there are great inventions that can help humanity with our daily lives, including different applications, hardware, software, and robots.

FLL (First Lego League) is a robotic competition that inspires and empowers students from all around the world to code robots and do scientific researches to compete together in Singapore.

The Field of Missions for the Robot to complete

This year, I am one of the participants that involve in the FLL Robotics Competition 2019, theme: Into Orbit.  The three main components of the competition include programming, project researching, and core values. For the programming part, I have been involved with technical skills which are Coding the Robot by using the EV3 program. To prepare for the competition, My team and I also need to research on a problem that astronauts face during long-term explorations within our solar system.

The topic that we chose was ‘Circadian Rhythm’ which refers to the unfamiliar pattern of habits astronauts face when they go up

Our Team’s Robot

into space. Circadian refers to the human biological clock of living organisms that controls all of the hormonal releases and other functions of our body that works by using the light that is detected from the optic nerve. On Earth, the 24-hour cycle is valid and continuous which makes our body circadian clock works well according to the cycle of sunsets and sunrises. However, environments up in space like inside the international space station (ISS) has a different pattern of lighting. A day inside the ISS, there are 16 sunrises and sunsets a day (1 per 45 minutes) which really messes up the astronaut’s circadian rhythm and gives them side effects on their health including the rise of acids in the stomach, wrong hormonal releases which can lead to headaches and other health problems.

After analyzing the problems, we have come up with a solution to help astronauts deal with this problem better, which is to create an artificial 24-hours cycle of day and night time to help adjust the astronaut’s biological clock to work better. To implement the solution in spaceships, we are planning to use a type of glass that has high capability to prevent light so that we can keep the spaceship dark for 12 hours to make it seems like night. For the 12-hours day time, we are going to use a special type of lamp which os the LED lamp because it has special effects on the astronaut’s environment.

The week of the competition came, and we flew to Singapore to stay there for a week with our host families. There, I have learned about a newly industrializing country, especially its continuous development of infrastructures and technology. We visited a company called ‘Cloudera’ to study business management and tech development in the entrepreneur world. 

A Team Spirit Moment

After all of the hard works we have put in for the presentation and the robot runs in this competition with hundreds of other teams, my team (LLA 1) had won an award ‘Overseas Best Performing Team’ and received a lego trophy and one medal for each member.

Business Management Session

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, this exploration was a wonderful learning experience and I appreciate all of the opportunities and achievements we had throughout this amazing journey. 

 

 

Precious Plastic Exploration

(Photo from https://www.independent.co.uk/) 

Like everyone knows, Plastic is a huge damage that has been threatening our planet for decades. Despite the many problems caused by Plastics, not that many people have come up with convenient solutions for it. Therefore, the consequences of those plastics are continuing to threaten all forms of lives on Earth. 

In the goal of trying to solve some parts of this problem, my exploration called Precious Plastic have come up with different ideas on how to prevent plastics from going to the ocean, how can we reduce plastics, and especially “How can we INFLUENCE other people to help solve this massive problem?” 

At first, the goal of our exploration was to build machines that can shred plastics into small pieces, melt and put it into molds so that we can create different products. The four machines that we have studied are “Shredder Machine, Injection Machine, Compression Machine, and  Extrusion machine”. 

However, after discussing the price and our skills with our teacher, we found out that building an actual machine requires a lot of money, work, and skills which we do not have. Therefore, we instead find different ways to recycle plastic in our school by sewing them to make different products including bracelets, key chains, pom-pom, etc. 

We also went to Siem Reap province to visit two companies, Naga Earth and Rehash Trash to learn about their projects which are helping the planet a lot. 

The first day of the trip, we went to a social enterprise company called Naga Earth to study their innovative methods to create Eco-friendly products including hand-wash soaps and paper from wastes. When we got into the organization, there was a friendly staff who did a splendid presentation and demonstration to the machines for us. He introduced the machines and how he turns used-cooking oil into Eco-friendly soaps. First of all, Naga Earth has collaborated with many restaurants and food-courts and asked them for the cooking oil that is left from their kitchen and delivered it into the company. The first step of turning it into Eco-friendly soaps and fuel is doing a chemical reaction in molecular scale to separate the molecules into soap molecules and fuel molecules. Then, they will heat the liquid and make their final products which are Eco-friendly soaps. In addition, I have made my own recycled-sheet of paper by using cardboard, wasted-paper, and cornstarch.  

 On the second day, we went to another organization which is called the Rehash-Trash and joined a workshop that taught us how to make different products including bracelets, key-chains from plastic stripes.

Image result for rehash trash

(Photo from http://www.aha-kh.com/members/rehash-trash/) 

There had been many new experiences and lessons about recycling plastics into innovative products that I have learned. I see that those creative ideas of recycling wastes into products that we can use provides many positive solutions to our environmental problems along with the smaller problems that are connected in the activities such as poverty, education, tourism, and economic growth. It changed our minds to see that wastes or trash can turn into beautiful and valuable products that can even help to solve the problems in our community. In addition, we reduced using plastic for 70 percent and that impact us as well as the community that we went, too. They started to realize the problems of plastic and their minds ought to have cared about plastic a little more than when we did not go to the community. There ought to be campaigns or other forms of sharing the lessons and ideas to as many people as possible in order to create a big community of support.

After I have some experiences of recycling those wastes, I have taught other students about recycling paper in a workshop that our exploration have prepared. 

(Me during the workshop in our school) 

For more information, please visit these websites: 

https://preciousplastic.com/en/machines.html

http://www.nagaearth.org/

Rehash Trash

 

Community Documentary

Community documentary is an exploration of making different products for four different villages in Kampong Speu (Srey Sompong, Chrok Popul, Prey Onse, Trapaing Leap). It starts from the 20th of August until 5th October. The goal is to preserve the culture and to document the villages for the younger generations by making the podcast, gallery (photo book), video and blog. I was one of the two people who was making the podcast. There is a total of 18 students and two facilitators.
We have gone on three trips to the community that we are targeting. Pre-trip was to get to know the potential of the villages and to interview them about the community. When we came back , we organized the information for the second trip. We officially documented the villages by recording sounds, taking photos and videos during this second trip. Back at school, we took the documentaries that we recorded to edit into real final products.
Talking about podcast team, it requires a lot of technical skills and creative thinking in order to create good podcasts with well-told stories. We have gone through a lot of processes until we can finalize our products. First of all, we brainstormed a lot of ideas and ways to make our podcasts and then we chose the one that we think is the most efficient layout for us. Then, we started recording the interviews of villagers and village chiefs during our trips to get as many stories as possible from the community. After that, we sort all of the recordings and find three themes that indicate the potential and interesting parts of the four villages which are Development, Human Life (the blind and disabled grandma) and Agriculture. When we finished writing our script and translate the interviews into English (we also have to do English podcast besides Khmer), we started to make our product in the recording studio. After all of the recording parts, we started to edit those in Audacity, an efficient application for editing podcasts. That is the technical parts where we cut out the bad noises and mistakes of recordings. Adding background, intro and outro music helps to add more attraction to our podcasts. After all of the hard work, we finally have our final products.
In my experiences, I have never involved in making podcasts before but I wanted to try in this exploration. As in the first time, I made a few mistakes with recording at first but I learned from the mistake and apply it to the future experience and continued recording until the end of the trip. I was satisfied with learning a completely new skill because it provides me with unique experiences.

These are the links to our podcasts : 

 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCgjx7qwkAYkQ6wKhxC5ATQ?view_as=subscriber

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