I’m now officially a Grassroots Leader (GRL). Saying it is easy, but getting there was quite a journey.
Back in January this year, I thought of joining my community centre’s Youth Executive Committee because I wanted to get involved with events planning for my neighbourhood, and I also wanted to understand how a community centre functions and what happens on the inside before something actually happens for the public, in public. I sat in at their monthly meetings as an observer, up until their then-existing committee’s term dissolution, afterwhich I submitted an application form to express my interest in being an official member of the YEC. At the same time, preparation for the upcoming Biennial General Meeting (BGM) was in full-swing.
There were many, many things to do. It wasn’t my first time involved in planning and preparing for an event – the School of Architecture and Built Environment’s Talentime ’09/’10 at Singapore Polytechnic is under my (short) belt of events organised – but this time not only were we looking at getting half a thousand people to attend our event, we were also combining a few important occasions into a single, milestone-worthy affair. We were going to have our BGM in the morning, and then a charity fundraiser immediately after. The BGM required a specific group of people to attend, with a minimum and maximum number of persons fixed too because of the meeting’s quorum and the limited seat capacity of our venue (the hall). On the other hand, the charity fundraiser, which we dubbed Heart For Rice, needed as many people as we possibly could fit into the entire community centre building, and anyone and everyone was invited to come down to take part in a Singapore Book of Records record-setting attempt. Already the logistics and crowd-crontrol on this one day seemed daunting.
I volunteered to design the posters and banners for the events. Being the only one who has knowledge of using Photoshop in the organising team, I tried my best to provide a fun-and-hip branding to the YEC in my design. It took a few weeks and dozens of editing day-after-day, but here’s the final outcome of my hard work:
It took up many hours, both waking and sleeping – when I was awake, I was either busy working on it (until sometimes (twice, actually) I got so sick of it that I avoided the computer for days), and when I was asleep, I dreamt of problems about printing them or getting very stressed about the design issues/requirement that surfaced while I was awake earlier in the day. Every time I thought I was done and ready to print, something or someone would come along to halt me in my happy tracks and telling me I had to change something because this sponsor’s logo had to be bigger than that sponsor’s, or that this particular sponsor had a specific requirement of the placement, size and orientation of their logo, or that this logo must come first before that one, and then that one comes after that one, or better yet, our organiser logos were too small and under-represented in the midst of the sponsor logos. At one point I dreaded that we had so many sponsors even though all these organisations were the ones that would make our event possible in the first place. Eventually, publicity design had to roll down, and printing and actual publicity had to proceed, so these two designs above were the same ones that was seen by a few hundred people in the days leading up to the event. I’m proud of my work!
By then, it was less than 2 weeks before the big day, and I got myself thrown (quite voluntarily) into preparing the goodie bags that we would give out to all attendees. And there was also the matter of the origami hearts papers; there were many obstacles with getting our 75,000 pieces of pre-cut, pre-printed and pre-scored origami papers prepared in time for our event – it wasn’t all settled up till the last few hours of the day before the event – but we managed it. I swear, this single part of the entire process of the event organisation was the most hair-pulling, perplexing and anger-management testing of all, no thanks to the not-very-competent paper supplier that we contracted. It was like the whole world celebrated with us when we finally received all 75,000 pieces of paper, and all was good and right again.
Event day: 20 July 2013, in pictures!
The event wrapped up just fine, we achieved everything we had set out to achieve on 20th July 2013. What now? We’re preparing to have our team-bonding session at the end of August (though I most probably may not be able to make it due to some family affairs) and I, personally, am in the middle of finding out the feasibility of starting a few new programmes, Interest Groups and courses at the CC. These next two years would be very fulfilling, I hope. Everyone has a collective aim to make our neighbourhood a better, more cohesive society of close-knit neighbours. With my new role, I hope to be able to contribute at least a little to that goal. Wish me the best!