This year, in appreciation of NSmen and their contributions to the nation’s defence, SAFRA has introduced a series of “We Thank NSmen” initiatives. These include art sessions for preschool children to decorate specially created appreciation cards for their fathers, SAF Day deals and promotions for NSmen, a design competition to create appreciation animations in Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), and SAFRA Sprint Kids Xtreme featuring new NS-inspired obstacle challenges. Held on the weekend of 23 and 24 June at SAFRA Jurong, the annual Sprint Kids event (above left and left) provided plenty of opportunities for NSmen to have fun, bond and share part of their NS experience with loved ones.
Inaugurated in 2010, Sprint Kids has been incorporating NSinspired obstacles since 2015, for children to learn more about NS. More than 1,200 NSmen and their families took part in this year’s edition, featuring neonlit obstacles, including four new NS-style obstacles – Stepping Stones, Swing Trainer, Cargo Net and Tunnel – and journeyed through the newly enhanced Kidz Amaze indoor playground, taking various slides and dodging illuminated balls. Competitors cleared a total of 10 obstacles, with the fastest in each category emerging as winners, while non-competitors could experience six obstacles just for fun! SAFRA Sprint Kids Xtreme 2018 certainly lit up the weekend for many NSmen and their families.
In May, students from the School of Design and Media at ITE College Central took part in a competition to design animated GIFs in appreciation of Nsmen. From 2 to 22 May, these students, who were pursuing Higher NITEC (National ITEcertificate) in Interactive Design, created a series of animated GIFs. The winning students were recognised at a prize-giving ceremony on 25 June. Wilson Khoo, a first-year student, won the first prize of a Macbook Air. His animated design paid homage to the Army, Air Force, Navy, SPF and SCDF.
“This is very good exposure for us. As students, we might not get such opportunities to show our appreciation for our NSmen and to showcase our talents.” he said. Iffah Binte Zainal took home the second prize of $500 cash. “I feel honoured. I have a lot of friends in NS and I just want to thank them for giving the nation two years of their lives,” she said. Tiang Zhang Joe, lecturer, Interactive Design at ITE College Central, said that the competition “allows students to put what they learn to good use”. The public is encouraged to download the GIFs and send them with personalised thank-you messages to family members, friends and co-workers who are national servicemen, via WhatsApp, SMS or social media.
More Thanks To NSmen
More than 100 preschool centres nationwide, involving over 8,500 children, also participated in “Appreciating NSmen Art Jam” sessions starting in June. A joint initiative between SAFRA and the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services, these art sessions have enabled preschool children to decorate specially created appreciation cards (in four designs) to present to their NSmen fathers. They also allowed more kids to learn more about their fathers’ NS roles and experiences.