WITH the opening of the Philippines’ first outdoor experiential education center in Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu next year, RAFI-KAC director Edvan Loh faces bigger challenges head-on.
When Edvan Loh flew from Singapore to join the Kool Adventure Camp (KAC) team of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), he brought with him three important things—experience, knowledge, and passion—the keys in adventure education programming.
Loh is the first camp director of KAC.
His experience in the field of adventure education began when he graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts with Merit in Philosophy and English Language from the University of Singapore in 1994. A few years later, he completed his Master of Arts in Education major in Human Resource Development from George Washington University in 2000.
His experience highlights a solid work history of 15 years as the deputy director of the entire operations of Singapore's national adventure education center, Outward Bound Singapore.
OBS Singapore is a member of the global Outward Bound network and ranks as one of the best in facilities, training expertise, and safety. It is one of Singapore’s leading organizations, providing outdoor education and adventure learning programs to help people realize their full potential. Since 1967, more than 250,000 people have benefited from their journey of self-discovery at OBS and emerged mentally and physically stronger.
As Outward Bound Singapore’s deputy director, Loh designed and facilitated the Leadership Development curriculum for students, youth, and adults. He facilitated approximately 2,000 participants in 300 teams.
He was a full-time senior facilitator of adventure education and adventure education learning for local and international students and executives, and an adjunct faculty for Human Resource Institute's Post Graduate Diploma in Training and Development and an associate Trainer for Singapore Management University's Office for Student Life in Risk Assessment and Management Systems.
His knowledge in adventure education traces back to Dr. Kurt Hahn, the famous German educator whose philosophies are considered internationally influential. Hahn created the Outward Bound movement to provide young sailors with the experiences and skills necessary to survive at sea during World War II.
“His concept was very novel; he brought together philosophical underpinnings, pedagogy, and educational aims and matched them with the context of the time.
Yes, there are people going outdoors, sailing, climbing and all but the educational perspective was not well-developed, and he was the one who brought these two together and made it into a very sound methodology,” Loh said.
His extensive experience and knowledge of adventure education deepened his understanding on its nature and strategies.
“Adventure education is using elements of adventure, risk, and even the elements of the unknown, putting individuals or groups of individuals through experiences where they are engaged physically, emotionally, and psychologically in the experience and through a period of reflection, review, processing where they can derive valuable lessons for themselves and develop skills into a period of time,” he explained.
Adventure education for Loh is the combination of adventure and development. There is readiness for Cebu to have the adventure education with all the zip lines, ropes courses, kayaking and more, that are tools in adventure education, he said.
“But those are mainly for recreation and fun while in adventure education there is learning and development through the use of tools, coupled with processing the experience. What we do in the Kool Adventure Camp is bring people into the experience where they really feel that sense of adventure, then the learning will be most powerful,” Loh said.
KAC is currently building its new campsite in Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu. It is set to operate early next year. The 10-hectare campsite will feature outdoor and indoor, high- and low-challenge ropes courses, conference halls, training rooms, trekking trails, tent areas, youth bunks, and corporate cabins.
“Kool Adventure Camp has the measures in place which are of international standards. Safety measures are of high quality and can stand up to scrutiny,” Loh said.
He first got acquainted with RAFI when some of the KAC staff went to Singapore for training and partnerships last 2007.
“After I got to know about RAFI, its vision, mission, and purpose, I believe very strongly in what RAFI is doing in the Philippines,” he said.
As camp director of KAC, Loh explained that he has the responsibility of setting the destination, direction, and the pace of the camp. While the hardware tools and training methodologies are in place, the software part of adventure education should be further developed.
“We would be able to increase our outreach as we build a bigger team of highly competent professional educators. We will develop new and greater range of programs for different participant groups so that they can come back for the next step in their learning development. As we expand our capacity and capability, we will achieve international recognition and become a model for others to follow. When the work is done, the participants will say, ‘We did it ourselves’,” he added.
KAC acquired the associate membership/Level 1 for Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) in 2005 and the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) organization membership in 2004.