More than a writing adventure

Ainul Huda (second from right) with a few of the participants during the December camp.

Ainul Huda (second from right) with a few of the participants during the December camp.

No matter how different two people are, the great experiences in a BRATs camp will bring friends together for life.

MY experience with camps was limited to the motivational camps I signed up for in school, unless you included the times my sister and I camped out in our backyard.

The BRATs camp, however, is the kind where you hone and develop new skills, like in a workshop. A young journalist camp, it pretty much speaks for itself.

Journalism is more than just about writing; it includes video-journalism, which the other participants and I find fascinating.

At the four-day camp held in Resorts World Genting last December, over 30 people – a mix of teenagers and young adults – gathered to get a taste of what it’s like to be a real journalist. We were facilitated by The Star’s award-winning R.AGE team.

For me, the best part of the camp was meeting the numerous characters. Yes, 30 individuals with 30 different personalities. The idea itself got me all anxious before I even reached Genting Highlands.

Some people just flourish in crowds. They stand out and love the attention. When I was in secondary school, I befriended a fair share of social butterflies but their confidence never really rubbed off on me.

Thankfully, one of the first BRATs participants I met enthusiastically introduced herself. The sweet girl did this with almost every person.

Eventually, there were 10 of us at our table and we were talking our heads off. How we even got to that point is a mystery to me but I suppose we all have at least one thing in common: our interest in journalism.

We expected the usual stuff conducted at camps – ice-breaker, team assignments, and work reviews from our facilitators. The R.AGE team did all that but way better than I could have imagined.

I guess there are only so many ways one can go about breaking the ice but scouring the room for one person whose name we randomly drew? That was beautiful chaos.

We asked anyone we came across for his or her name, laughed when we got the wrong person, and repeated the process. There’s no time to be shy when you’re on a mission!

The camp started off with a bang and it only seemed to get better with every passing day.

Late nights working on our group projects? Worth it. The food (including an everlasting stock of sweets) we were supplied with? Awesome. Hands-on journalism experience? Even better. The friends for life? Like I said, the best part.

We keep in touch even now. I’m still fangirling with some of the participants about Naruto and BBC’s Sherlock.

Though some of us went on to do others things (school likes to keep people busy), many of us continued as BRATs writers for The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout.

Seeing Wong Zhi Yong score an e-mail interview with Winter Olympian Jeffrey Webb had my heart swelling with pride.

I could list out every person at the camp who has made an impact on me but that will be the whole register of participants. I have a memory of each of them, like how Janice Chai totally trumped me in a game of Mafia during a break.

Experiences bring us together in a way nothing else could, no matter how different two people are. And great experiences like the BRATs December camp brought together friends for life.

Join the BRATs Camp in Langkawi!

Applications for our BRATs camp are open again! If you’re Malaysian, aged 16 to 19, and have a passion for journalism, then the BRATs Young Journalist Programme is for you! Register in three simple steps:

1. Download the application form at

2. Write an essay (max. 1,000 words) or record a video (max. five minutes) titled “Why I want to be a journalist”.

3. E-mail the completed form and your essay or video to

Submission deadline has been extended to March 16. The camp will be from March 21 to 24 at Resorts World Langkawi. For more information, go to

Education , BRATs camp