Celebrating SG50 – TLFO in the Spotlight

Fostering strong bonds of friendship and giving back to the community amongst the core values explored as The Leadership Face-Off celebrates SG50.

This Jubilee Year, we kicked off our 5th run of The Leadership Face-Off (TLFO) – a 3D1N nation-wide leadership competition based upon The Leadership Challenge® Model. Going with a SG50 theme in celebration of Singapore’s birthday, TLFO pit teams (of four) from various secondary schools against one another in a series of tasks and challenges to test their leadership skills and ability to work together as a team. This competition is jointly organised by Temasek Secondary School, Temasek Junior College and Halogen Foundation Singapore.

Departing from previous editions where only the top teams competed in the Finals, TLFO took on a different format this year where all teams had to compete in all challenges to emerge as competition champions.

The competition kicked off at YMCA Lee Kong Chian Auditorium with a series of featured talks. Halogen’s Academy team – Kenneth Heng (Academy Executive) and Sean Kong (Chief Training Officer) led the sessions sharing about the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership to deepen the student leaders’ understanding of leadership, challenging them to increase the effectiveness of their leadership skills and put them to the test in TLFO competition. Speaker of the day – Lyn Lee, the founder of Awfully Chocolate shared her leadership journey as an entrepreneur. She talked about how her enterprise grew from a single shop to a chain business selling only one type of cake, diversifying into other food initiatives and running branches across Asia.

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As a warm up, the teams competed in a Singapore Mascots challenge. Teams were required to dress up a team member as a designated Singapore mascot like Singa the Courtesy Lion and Nila (SEA Games mascot) among others using only recycled materials. The task tested the teams’ creativity, resourcefulness and presentation skills. In their respective mascot suits, the teams then headed out to Orchard area to embark on the Amazing Race Challenge, going to different stations around Singapore to test their leadership skills and teamwork. One significant lesson learnt was the importance of every member on the team. Each individual possesses unique strengths that can be contributed to the group.

In a surprising twist, the students were reshuffled into new teams with participants from different schools to encourage inter-school interaction and cooperation. In these new groups, teams were split up to attempt one of three mini challenges – creating a music video featuring a SEA Games song; Icons of SG photo board showcase and designing a history trail at the National Museum of Singapore.

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With their new teammates, groups had to step out of their comfort zones and work together to navigate the challenges. Workshops conducted by our partners from SNAP Productions, Danz People, A Cappella Society, Objectifs and The Thought Collective equipped the student leaders with basic skills pertaining to their mini tasks.

With their new nifty dance moves and cool photography tips from industry practitioners, the students headed out to the streets to compete in the different challenges. They put what they have learnt into practice and learnt work together as a team, tapping on each individual’s talents and niches to present the most creative and interesting work.

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On the final day of TLFO, the students were reunited with their school-based teams to compete in raising funds for The President’s Challenge. With only $100 seed funding, teams had to rise as much as funds they could for the cause. From designing their own cardboard signs to brainstorming creative fundraising ideas, these required students to take greater ownership, which gave them a greater sense of purpose to raise funds for the needy.

The closing ceremony of TLFO ended off on a high note with a short leadership speech by Guest-Of-Honour, Dr Maliki Osman. He shared that, “A leader is not just someone who leads from the front but someone who motivates and inspires others.” The team from Geylang Methodist School emerged as TLFO 2015 champions with Maris Stella High School and Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School placing second and third respectively.

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From running around Singapore dressed in mascot costumes, to dancing and singing in public, and even raising an impressive amount of $5704.77 for the less privileged in Singapore, this has been a memorable journey for many participants where deep friendships were forged in the process. We hope that the lessons they have learnt will be shared with their peers, where they will eventually be spearheading a generation of youths that are interested and well versed with our nation’s issues.

— Article by An Ning Ng