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Why Join?. . . ANZA Athletics

What makes ANZA Athletics a fantastic activity for kids? A focus on friendly competition, doing your best, lots of fun, and new friendships . . . all wrapped up in a welcoming, happy community. Register for the new season now!

Anyone can have a go

ANZA Athletics welcomes kids of all abilities, aged from 5-14.  From experienced junior athletes to absolute beginners, everyone gets their chance to have a go on the track or field. Participating in ANZA Athletics helps kids build confidence, develop focus and teaches them to overcome challenges – independently and as a team.

Increased skills and fitness  

Expect your child to come away from the season with a solid mix of skills and increased fitness, agility and strength. At the weekly meet athletes compete in track running, hurdles, discus, shot put, long jump, triple jump and high jump. During a six-week rotating program kids are exposed to all events – so they can learn new skills and build on them over successive weeks and seasons.

Fun and friendships

Joining a sports team gives kids a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make new friends. Kids from many schools across Singapore take part in ANZA Athletics, so new social connections are formed throughout the season. Fun is essential for kids’ sports, and at the track there’s a DJ spinning tunes for the kids to bop along to. Look out for more family fun at the new Toa Payoh stadium this season.

Life skills

Athletics isn’t just about who crosses the line first, jumps the highest or throws the furthest. It gives kids the opportunity to develop personally, socially and physically, and hone essential life skills, such as discipline, hard work, patience and persistence. Kids also learn how to respond positively to setbacks and failure and to respect authority.

Sense of achievement

Weekly ‘PB’ stickers reward improvement and are a chance for athletes to feel personal pride at their own individual efforts. At the end of the season kids are further rewarded with a presentation ceremony where the entire ANZA Athletics community can gather and celebrate the group’s achievements and progress.

Why I love ANZA Athletics:“I like ANZA Athletics because it’s great for my fitness and I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten faster. I love how I win things – especially beating my PBs (Personal Bests).” Xavier Brasher, 10

Registration for the 2019/2020 season is open now– don’t miss out and register early! There is always plenty of room for more wonderful volunteers to join the Committee, so if you are keen, please get in touch at athletics@anza.org.sg

ANZA Athletics caters to kids aged 5-14, with a focus on fun, fitness and skills. Tao Payoh Stadium. All meets will be held on Friday afternoons from 4.30pm to 6.45pm, starting from Friday 6 September 2019.

 

Celebrating ANZA

 

Volunteers are ANZA’s most valuable asset, working tirelessly to support our sporting, social and charity groups. We’re raising a glass and applauding our amazing volunteers and ANZA community at Celebrating ANZA on 25th September.

“Volunteers are the heartbeat of ANZA,” says ANZA President PJ Roberts. “Without them ANZA does not exist. This event is about celebrating volunteerism and the positive impact it has on the lives of our members.”

What do our volunteers say about the work they do for ANZA?

“As anyone who volunteers knows, the rewards you get are much richer than what you put in,” says Fleur Maidment from ANZA Tours, who with the rest of the tours committee, arranges interesting and culturally-rich experiences for our members – from charity walks to workshops and special tours which delve deeper into Singapore’s diverse society.

“There are many people who volunteer and do excellent work amongst all of the groups”, says Pat Taylor from Secret Men’s Business, an ANZA men’s social group who do a range of charity work for Melrose Home. “It’s a fantastic organisation – there is something in ANZA for everyone.”

“What I love about volunteering is that I’m surrounded by lots of special and interesting people that give their time and energy,” says Skye Wellington, who leads a huge team of volunteers at ANZA Singapore Nippers. “I get to see the best of humanity in action.”

What keeps Skye focused is echoed throughout our community. “Seeing smiles helps you stay the course and realise you’re part of something bigger that gives back to so many people.”

 

Here’s your opportunity to give our vollies a big thank you. Nominate your ANZA hero here and tell us why they’re doing us proud.

Siem Reap for Families

Photo: Louise Walls

Angkor at dawn
The temples of Angkor Wat, are Siem Reap’s main attraction. Soak up the serene silence of early morning visit or hop on a bike tour or a tuk tuk any time of day to navigate the mesmerising ruins. A private guide can illuminate the history of the area and take you back to the days when the powerful Khmer empire ruled Cambodia. We opt for a 4am start, and blearily line up to grab temple passes (US$37) Kids under 12 are free, but bring their ID as they’ll check it at every entry. It’s a bumpy, but exhilarating rickshaw race through the dark to reach the majestic stone facade, illuminating with the gently rising sun. A hoard of photographers wait to capture the ruins reflected in an adjacent pond, but we quickly get lost among the countless narrow passageways, stairs and rooms. It’s easy to spend a few hours wandering this eerie, beautiful temple, steeped in history and tradition – but with kids it’s best to keep the tour moving along!
TIP: Make a small donation to one of the resident monks – they’ll bless your child and give them a woven bracelet.

Photo: Louise Walls

Other temple attractions
We’ve hired a local tuk tuk driver for the day (US$20) to show us around the main temples. He carries an eski with cold towels and water, so we can freshen up between dusty, hot explorations. Next, we venture into Angkor Thom city and visit the richly decorated Bayon Temple – a 12th century Buddhist shrine. Its 54 Gothic towers are decorated with 216 colossal, serene smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara, which makes for fun photo opps for kids with their own cameras. Across the road we watch (from a safe distance) a family of monkeys playing. There are three babies, who attract a crowd with their adorable antics. With the sun beating down, we opt to stroll briskly alongside the Elephant Terrace, then jump into our waiting tuk tuk for our last stop, Ta Prohm or Tomb Raider temple, (nicknamed for the locations it provided in the movies). Wrapped in huge tree roots, it’s easily the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor, and kids will love exploring its crumbling nooks and crannies. Scheduling temple touring in the earlier part of the day, means we escape the worst of the heat. We arrive back at the hotel, exhausted, by 10am, ready for a swim in our hotel’s gorgeous saltwater pool!

Detection dogs
We loved visiting the Explosive Detection Dogs (explosivedetectiondogs.org), a 10-minute tuk tuk ride from town. Visitors can stop by every day at either 8.30am or 4pm. During the hour-long show (tickets $7) visitors experience firsthand the incredible abilities of the Belgian Malinois breed, trained by dog experts to find unexploded landmines and bombs left over from war. We learn about the devastating legacy of landmines across South East Asia, then the dogs put on a show of their astounding sniffing skills, which help protect Cambodian lives. The organisation has worked with dogs in the field since 1992, expanding into 30 countries. During that time not a single dog has been seriously injured or killed.
TIP: Kids can participate in hiding the search items during the show, and afterwards pat and get their photo taken with the friendly dogs.

Cambodian cuisine
Cambodian food is similar to Vietnamese and Thai cuisines, but with subtle differences. You’ll find noodle soup similar to Vietnamese phở and sandwiches like bánh mì, refreshing salads and sour soups, Indian-inspired curries, noodles and stir fries. Our first meal is at Chanrey Tree (chanreytree.com), recommended by our friendly hotel staff for its delicious Khmer food and gorgeous riverside setting. We devour the minced chicken spring rolls, tender beef lok lok stir fry, eggplant with pork ribs, and sticky mango rice with longan and jackfruit. Servings are large – bring your appetite! Another excellent choice for families is il Forno, hidden down a lane, off Pub Street. Kids will approve of their authentic pizzas and fresh pastas (ilforno.restaurant/siem-reap). In the early evening Pub Street is family friendly and genuinely good fun. Wander around the local night markets and try one of the many ‘fried ice-cream’ stalls. The vendors pour your choice of flavours onto a freezing plate, and fashion the handmade ice-cream into delicate rolls. We went back for seconds for the Nutella and Oreo version!
TIP: Malis (malisrestaurant.com/siemreap) has very good 2-for-1 cocktails during happy hour at 5-7pm (plus free nibbles!) and they welcome kids with plenty of ‘mocktails’ on the menu.

Where to stay:
The Aviary Hotel (theaviaryhotel.com) has the perfect central location in the heart of Siem Reap town, super friendly staff, and a peaceful atmosphere. Kids will adore the bird-inspired design, chill out zones with books and comfy chairs, and the refreshing saltwater pool with wonderful views of the vines and flowers that drape over the balconies above. The 25 rooms are large and eco-friendly, with oversized balconies made for lounging. We opted for the Sarus Crane Suite, a sprawling 60sqm pad which has a large bedroom, a separate living room area, and a private balcony. There are plenty of dining options, including the laidback Flock Café. Don’t miss a family trip to the onsite Amret spa, where you can treat yourself to a relaxing massage after a long day of temple sightseeing.
TIP: The hotel is expanding and will soon feature a glam rooftop pool, a Japanese restaurant, and more gorgeous rooms!

Top 5 kid approved activities in Siem Reap:

1. Eco-adventurous families can zip line through lush jungle in the Angkor Archaeological Park. (angkorzipline.com)
2. Explore the regions rural heart with a visit to a working farming village – wander through rice fields, populated with buffalo and oxen and mingle with local communities.
3. Foodie families can dive
into the spicy culinary
scene with a cooking class or guided market tour.
4. Support Cambodia youth and watch incredible young performers at Phare,
the Cambodia Circus. (pharecircus.org)
5. Tweens and teens will enjoy shopping in trendy Kandal Village on Hap Guan St. You can grab a bite at one of the hip cafes or pick up funky Cambodian homewares, or jewellery.

Kids Healthy Eating Made Simple

Why did you want to set up The Whole Kitchen?
Anne is a certified health coach with a background in marketing and Susan is a classically trained chef with 20 years industry experience. We decided to bring our skills together to start our own brand. We make genuinely healthy food that’s gluten free, low in natural sugar, all natural and made locally…. and of course, delicious!

What are your top tips for planning healthy family meals?
Planning is key, as well as using good quality ingredients and a balance of flavours and colours. Shopping at reputable grocers and markets is important in Singapore, and it’s great to bring the kids along to touch and smell the exotic fruits and make choices about what they’d like to eat. We love shopping at Little Farms (littlefarms.com) for fresh seasonal produce, or our local wet market.

What are your go-to recipes?
Susan: Our house is busy throughout the week, so breakfast is an important time to check in with each other. We like healthy granola with fruits and yoghurt. Sunday nights is a family dinner where I mostly do the cooking. It can range from slow cooked meals like braised pork in milk with sage, to hearty vegetarian soups or a light Aussie style salad with coriander and mint – all shared around the table. We enjoy simple fresh fruits as a dessert.
Anne: Meals usually start with a good protein source like grilled salmon, homemade mince patties, frittata or quinoa, then we add colourful vegetables, zucchini noodles or a crunchy salad. We use a lot of garlic, ginger, turmeric and herbs for taste. On Sundays we like to roast a whole quality chicken with root vegetables.

What’s always in your pantry that kids love to eat?
Susan: My kids love The Whole Kitchen Rock Salt Rosemary Nut Mix and given they are half French and half Aussie they also love saucisson and cheese as a snack along with cucumber crudités.
Anne: Our 16-month-old loves to eat! His favourite snacks now are The Whole Kitchen Country Loaf with avocado, Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit or homemade muffins.

Tips for a healthy lunchbox?
It’s important for kids to keep their energy sustained throughout the day. Include snacks that contain healthy fats, good proteins and complex carbohydrates and avoid high sugar options. We love energy balls, trail mixes, seeds or tahini or hummus on brown rice crackers. Brain food!

How do you keep kids interested in food?
Susan: Start them young and let them explore even if it’s spicy. Travelling to different countries helps with this and opens kids up to so many amazing opportunities. We are very lucky here in Singapore also with the enormous range of foods to choose from. Go to Little India, or Chinatown and ask your kids to order what they want. Getting kids involved in the kitchen can also help form healthy habits and a passion for real food early in life!

thewholekitchen.com.sg

The Mighty Matildas

ANZA Soccer’s girls’ teams excelled in the 2018-19 Season. MARK SAYER, ANZA Soccer Girls’ Programme Coordinator reports on their remarkable team spirit, enthusiasm and results.

During the 2018–19 season, ANZA Soccer had over 110 girls from ages 6-16
participate in girls-only teams against mixed and predominantly boys’ teams in the ANZA Saturday leagues. We fielded one Matildas team per age group, and the girls played one or two years “down” according to age and skill, following generally accepted soccer practice, to allow an even playing field against the boys.

The weekly participation at weekday training and Saturday games was very high, with every player continuing to improve due to passionate parent coaches, as well as the addition of Adelina Gomez, a dedicated professional coach for the Matildas. The younger Matildas are great to watch as their enthusiasm reminds me of my daughter when she joined five years ago – it’s all about having fun!

The Navy Matildas excelled by winning the U11 Saturday league, displaying great teamwork, a strong work ethic, and the ability to consistently execute their game structure. Opposition coaches often commented on how impressed they were with the Matildas’ disciplined team approach, rather than the “flock to the ball” approach of many young players.

Competitions

Bangkok International

The Matildas competition teams had a stellar year, with almost every tournament resulting in gold. In January, our U12, U14, and U16 teams competed in the Bangkok International Girls Football Competition, a 7-a-side event with 8 to 12 teams per age group. The U14s (Navy & Gold Matildas) defended their title, winning a very tough final against the Bangkok-based Nongchok Tigers. After a 1-1 draw at full time, the Matildas scored in the 3-versus-3 sudden death finale, a brutal and exhausting way to decide the championship! Both the U16s (SkyBlue Matildas) and U12s (Navy & Red Matildas) were semifinalists. The 30 girls and their parents provided great support for each other, and the players’ behavior on and off the pitch was exemplary. Their team comradery was shown when one of the U14 girls suffered concussion on the Saturday due to a head-on-head collision. Returning from hospital that evening, she found her shared hotel room filled with gifts, cards, and balloons, all at the girls’ initiative, as they rushed to the mall after the last round-robin game. They “won for Kim” the next day.

JSSL International 7s

In April, the largest junior football tournament in Southeast Asia, the JSSL International 7s was held in Singapore. In addition to the fantastic U14 and U16 Matildas’ wins, victories for our U12 and U16 boys’ teams enabled ANZA to win the overall Paul Parker Trophy. The U16 Matildas also competed in the tournament’s Professional 7s and made their opponents from Liverpool’s youth academy work hard for their closely fought win. The JSSL Girls Sunday League was held throughout the season. Our girls’ competition teams played against other Singapore-based teams, and the season ended with a resounding victory for our U14s, a come-from-behind victory for the U12s in their final match, and a second-place finish for the U16s.

SingaCup Womens 6s

Finally, the SingaCup Womens 6s was held in May, and once again our U14s were victorious, as were our U16s, while our U12s lost in a penalty shootout in the final. Playing against mixed teams on Saturdays prepares the Matildas well for girls-only competitions by honing their game plans, their resilience, and their team spirit. This unity amongst the girls and their parents is unparalleled and is a key determinant in our success.


Players Wanted!

Registration is now open for ANZA Soccer 2019/2020 season for kids aged 3-18 years.

The season begins on 24 August and finishes 25 April 2020.

Sign up now at anza.org.sg/sports/soccer

How to host an Eco Kids Party

Ditch the balloons
According to Australia’s CSIRO, balloons are one of the top three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife. Foil balloons are even worse than latex as they take much longer to biodegrade. The good news is, there are plenty of alternatives.
Emma Robertson Chia of eco-friendly party creators Hopping Hares Parties (facebook.com/hoppingharesparties) suggests colourful pompoms, tassels or fabric bunting to create a festive look. “Use old clothing or scraps of material you have at home to make bunting. If you are not creatively inclined get your kids to cut out the triangles and then take it to a seamstress (below HDBs) to have made up for you. It’s cheap and you employ someone locally.” Short on time or don’t have old fabric lying around? There are local shops that sell fabric bunting (givefun.com.sg, partyday.com.sg). These can be reused many times.

Add style to your setting
There’s no need to set the table with plastic. Colourful fabric tablecloths and napkins are gorgeous and reusable. Borrow from friends, or try IKEA, Spotlight, or one of the many fabric shops in Chinatown or Arab St. Anything you buy can be reused for future parties and lent out to your pals for their event. For extra colour, turn to nature: flowers and leaves make eye-catching table centrepieces.

Rent or DIY
For a Pinterest-worthy deco scheme, rent a backdrop from one of Singapore’s many creative party stylists: upscale party planners Stitchxmarker hand-make their stunning party decorations, which are available to rent at stitchxmarker.com. Sprinkie Parties also have backdrops and props available to rent at reasonable prices: sprinkieparties.com. Want something unique? Emma recommends creating it yourself. “Consider making something out of cardboard. It’s fun to make, effective and biodegradable.”

Servingware
Disposable plastic servingware is a definite case of convenience over sustainability. The best option is to use your existing plates and cutlery or borrow from friends. For those concerned about breakages or clean-up, there are several eco-friendly disposable options. Emma suggests the palm leaf plates and cutlery from Naturerustic (naturerustic.com) or The Eco Statement theecostatement.com, available on Redmart. At $3 for a pack of 10 forks, and $5 for 10 plates, it’s only slightly more expensive than throw-away plastic and they are biodegradable. Swap juice boxes and plastic water bottlers for reusable jugs or pitchers. “Fill jugs with tap water and add slices of fruit like lemons or berries for a little flavour,” suggests Emma. Have clearly labelled recycling bins at the party venue. “Whatever waste you do produce, sort for recycling and consider composting.”

Food

If you really want to lower the environmental impact of your parties, consider serving some vegetarian or vegan food. “Animals for meat and cheese production are the single largest contributors to global warming, ocean acidification, fresh water pollution and deforestation,” Emma points out. Go for fruit or vegetable skewers, platters with cut veggies, and dips like hummus and guacamole. “If you want more traditional fare try vegan nuggets by Quorn, Fry’s or Marks & Spencer. I swear you can’t tell the difference!”
Serving finger food also reduces the amount of plates and cutlery needed. If you are culinarily challenged, caterers Lush Platters (lushplatters.com) offer a variety of mouth-watering grazing platters presented with minimal packaging. Have some reusable containers on hand for guests to take leftovers home.

Goody bags
The dreaded ‘goody bag’ or take-home present usually involves plastic toys that break or get tossed aside. Emma suggests doing a craft activity to give the kids a keepsake to bring home. She threw a Viking party where children painted their own cardboard Viking shield, and a sleepover party where kids customised their own dreamcatchers. Other easy options are customising a T-shirt or bag, making a mask or jewellery.
Get the birthday child involved in making some presents for their friends. Some ideas include homemade playdoh, or rainbow popcorn. For last-minute gifts, check out eco-friendly stores like facebook.com/UnPackt.SG/ or thefirstgreenstore.com/ for sustainable gifts like plantable pencils.
Use recyclable containers to present them in, like jars tied with ribbon. “For smaller presents, toilet rolls make excellent wrapping,” Emma suggests. For alternatives to traditional wrapping paper or gift bags try cloth bags or get the kids to create some artwork on recycled paper.

These small steps will go a long way to reducing the waste but maximising the fun produced at your next kids party.

Teen Depression – When to Seek Help

What causes the mood changes in my pre-teen/teenager?
Though our hormones are commonly blamed for the ups and downs of adolescence, the changes in teenagers are primarily because of changes in the brain. Between 12-24 years, the brain is developing faster than ever before, and the last area to be fully developed is the frontal lobe, which is important for impulse control and decision making. Until it’s fully developed, teenagers rely on the part of the brain associated with emotion, impulse, aggression and instinct, called the amygdala, to make decisions.

How common is depression in adolescence?
Because of these changes, depression is adolescence can be a problem and we need to talk about it. Between 10-15% of teenagers have some symptoms of depression at any given time.

What are some signs my child has depression?
Temperamental teens are common, and moodiness and excessive sleeping
do not necessarily mean depression. The following are some signs that your child may be depressed, and you should seek help:

– Sad or irritable for most of the day, for most days in the last two weeks.
– Loss of interest in things that they usually enjoyed.
– Change in eating or sleeping habits
– Unexplained aches and pains.
– Little energy or motivation to do anything.
– Feelings of hopelessness about the future or feeling worthless or guilty about things that are not their fault.
– Changes in grades and academics.
– Smartphone addiction (chronic smartphone use that can distract from participating in daily activities).
– Any thoughts or discussion of suicide or self-harm.

What can my paediatrician or doctor do to help?
It’s recommended that all teens be screened for depression yearly. If you are worried about depression in your teenager, schedule a visit to your family doctor that is dedicated to discussing mood and depression.
Treatment options can vary, depending on the severity of your teen’s symptoms. Be assured that any evaluation and treatment by a GP is kept confidential. For example, IMC has a strict code of conduct in relation to patient confidentiality.

How can we get through these next difficult years?
Parents of teens should practice patience and provide guidance during these exciting, but sometimes tumultuous years. It’s important to build empathy and validate your teen’s emotions without trying to always problem solve. Continuing to support kids to eat nutritious foods, get enough sleep, limit screen time and get daily physical activity can all have a positive effect on mood.
Remember that a parent’s influence runs deeper than you think. Enjoy time together with your teenager doing simple tasks, such as going for a walk, cooking a meal or watching a movie. Making time to do simple things with your young adult will leave the door open for conversations that may be difficult and can make more of a difference than you can imagine.

In crisis? Need support?
Please contact (free and confidential) Samaritans of Singapore 24 hour hotline on 1800-221-4444 or via email pat@sos.org.sg. SOS provides emotional support and guidance from trained volunteers. sos.org.sg

Dr Arti Jaiswal from IMC Paediatric

Talking Teens
IMC will be hosting a Talking Teens seminar aimed at parents of teens. The event will cover physical, sexual and mental health. Date: Friday 27 Sept, 10-11.30am at Camden Medical Centre. For tickets visit imc-healthcare.com

Safe Water for Kids

Fleur (third from left) volunteering in Myanmar

What drew you to this cause?
My mother lives in Nhill, Victoria, which has a population of only 1,800 but is home to 220 Karen refugees. As with all rural townships, Nhill has an ageing population and suffers from brain drain to the city. The Karen refugees have contributed greatly to the economy of the region, working on duck and flower farms. Now, the younger generation are being trained as nurses and mechanics, and some aspire to become doctors. Karen people have a strong sense of community and identity. One of my mother’s friends saw an Australian invention, the SkyHydrant water filter, showcased at a Rotary meeting and thought her family village in Myanmar could benefit from one. I wanted to help facilitate this through my location in Singapore.

When did you personally get involved?
Tha Blay, a former refugee, and I first visited the region in April 2018. We tested the water to find out if it was causing water borne diseases in the communities. When we visited a remote IDP camp located in a narrow valley, we found the stream and wells were indeed contaminated by E.coli bacteria, due to the close proximity of latrines to the wells.
All water sources for the camp, with a population of over 2,500, contained E.coli exceeding World Health Organisation standards for drinking water, and were considered unsafe. People were doing all their washing in the stream because they had no other choice.
We also visited Tha Blay’s village in rural eastern Myanmar and found the same situation, that all the wells were unsafe to drink from. Our first trip involved talking to the communities about a plan for installation and maintenance of the water filters.

SkyHydrants being transported to remote areas

Tell us about the SkyHydrant?
The SkyHydrant has been invented for disaster situations, so it’s light and portable if the people must move again. The units are simple to operate, with the absolute minimum of mechanical devices, such as pumps.

How is the project going?
To date, we have installed four SkyHydrants in camps and villages in Myanmar, providing safe drinking water for over 3,500 people. We have plans to install at least four SkyHydrants a year, for five years. While safe water is my passion, there are so many needs. I’ve assisted my team who were stateless to get identity papers so they can apply for university, and taken medicines, mosquito nets, soaps and school supplies into the camps. I’ve done two stints teaching English at summer school. Everyone I work with has a strong sense of obligation to gain a good education, then go back to work in their communities when a peaceful solution can be brokered.

How do you get supplies to them?
Transport is incredibly difficult due to the terrain and remoteness. Travel is via non-existent 4WD tracks through forests in Thailand and then on a boat up river. All the tanks, pipes and concrete need to be taken in this way, and carried by hand. The villagers walk for over 12 hours to meet the boat and carry heavy loads of books tied onto poles on the return trip the next day. The books are so valuable to school children, as many don’t even have basic exercise books for the year.

What work still needs to be done?
There’s still a great deal of tension in the region and travel is exceptionally difficult for foreigners, and often not permitted. I’ve trained a local team to take supplies for clean water, medicines and education into the remote villages where they still have relatives that often must flee to the forest after threats and action from the Tatmadaw (Burmese military). My next challenges are getting immunisations to a remote camp where the children have not been immunised since international non-government funding dried up in 2017.

Education is highly valued among Karen people

What would be the best result for this group in the future?
The ethnic people have established a Peace Park where they practice community forestry and traditional ways of living in these remote mountain villages. They want to determine their own future and manage their own lands. An ideal solution would be cultural-tourism, featuring their exquisite traditional weaving, medicines and foods collected from the forest, and Karen and Animist culture, but the central government does not allow visitors to the area, due to the on-going conflict.

What close ties have you formed?
I’m very close to my team and the wonders of Facebook mean we can talk almost every day to plan and resolve issues. Tank stands have been built by sharing photos of handwritten plans and diagrams via messenger.

Kids enjoying safe water, thanks to the SkyHydrant!

What do you like about volunteering?
As anyone who volunteers knows, the rewards you get are much richer than what you put in. It brings me great joy to see the Safe Water team gain knowledge and confidence to solve problems in their own communities.

disasteraidaustralia.org.au/our-aid/safe-water-for-every-child 

Singapore’s Top 10 Playgrounds

Jurong Lake Gardens were a hit with our mini testers!

Jurong Lake Gardens
nparks.gov.sg
The extensive Forest Ramble nature playground is set in the peaceful greenery of Jurong’s Lakeside Gardens, which opened in April. It will appeal to both younger and older kids, with many different swings, two long flying foxes, rope bridges, in-ground trampolines, sand and water play tables, log and rope obstacle courses and a large climbing structure with several long slides.

Jewel Canopy Park

Jewel Canopy Park, Changi Airport
jewelchangiairport.com
The Canopy Park is located at the top level of Jewel, under the sunny dome. Huge nets are strung above the canopy, some for walking and some for bouncing. An art installation doubles as a climbing and sliding structure, and there’s a hedge and mirror maze. Extensive greenery includes a flower garden and topiary garden with fun animal shapes. Wear comfortable covered shoes with shorts or pants.

Kiztopia, Marina Square
kiztopia.com
Singapore’s largest indoor playcentre opened in June. A ninja obstacle course, augmented-reality games, climbing structures with twisty slides, sandpit and ballpits promise fun for kids of all ages. There’s a train ride and a car circuit complete with roads and petrol station. A standout feature is the extensive role-playing section. A dress-up room, grocery store with trolleys and cash registers, and kitchen/café allow the little ones plenty of opportunity to play pretend.

Nestopia

Nestopia, Sentosa
shangri-la.com/singapore/rasasentosaresort
This outdoor playground opened in March, next to the newly renovated Trapizza restaurant on Siloso beach. Run by the Shangri-La Rasa Resort, it’s open to the public but entry fees apply. With towering climbing structures and high slides, this one is best for kids over five (although extensive netting provides a soft fall and safety). Kids under seven need an adult to accompany them – one adult gets free entry with a child.

Jubilee Park, Fort Canning

Jubilee Park, Fort Canning
nparks.gov.sg
As part of the rejuvenation of the historic Fort Canning Park, a new playground has opened right behind the Fort Canning MRT station. The highlights are several winding slides built into the steep slopes of Fort Canning hill, and some huge, multi-user seesaws. The playground area is spread over a beautifully landscaped area. Swings include a hammock swing and inclusive swings for wheelchair users, there’s a rope climbing structure and plenty of logs to climb and balance on. According to National Parks SG, phase two of the project will see more food and beverage spaces and a gallery area near the playground.

Superpark, Suntec

Superpark, Suntec
superpark.com.sg
This huge indoor activity park includes a games arena with baseball nets, basketball courts and a robot goalkeeper to help hone soccer skills. A freestyle hall is tailor-made for teens, with climbing walls, a ninja obstacle course, trampolines, parkour and a skate/scoot park. Younger siblings are not left out, with an adventure area featuring a flying fox, tube slide, toddler’s gym and a pedal car track.

Amazonia, Great World City
amazoniafun.com
Amazonia playcentre underwent a major revamp earlier this year. Some of the highlights of the new space are the 8-metre-high wave slide, a trampoline area with basketball rings, and an interactive digital wall for games and dance videos. The standout feature for the little ones on our visit was the snowball fountain. This mega ball pit has several clear vacuum tubes for kids to insert balls and watch them race through the tubes.

Future World, ArtScience Museum

Future World, ArtScience Museum
marinabaysands.com/museum
Although not strictly a playcentre, the permanent Future World exhibition was revamped late in 2018 with new areas including a digital waterfall, a musical wall, and an interactive art piece that projects Chinese characters on a wall. When the characters are touched, they transform into nature images associated with that character (perfect for your child to improve their knowledge of Chinese characters!). These new features now sit alongside old favourites like the interactive slide and oversized glowing ball pit.

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden

Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens
nparks.gov.sg
One of Singapore’s best-loved outdoor playgrounds doubled in size at the end of 2017. The new additions have proved popular, particularly the ‘Forest’ area with its flying fox and rope bridge and trampolines. The Food for Tots café also has a little play corner so parents can grab a peaceful coffee. Currently, the Garden’s water play and photosynthesis area are closed for a revamp. The scheduled reopening is late October 2019, offering even more play and learning opportunities.

Photo: Hort Park, NParks

Hort Park nature playgarden
nparks.gov.sg
National Parks conceived this playgarden with pre-schoolers in mind, to encourage children to reconnect with nature. Set in the natural surrounds of Hort Park it features teepee-like play structures, sand and gravel pits with child-sized tools supplied, and musical play area with windchimes and wheels. A series of tunnels and hideouts, log steps, secret dens, and a small water play area foster both active and creative play.

ANZA Netball Perth Tour

Holly Reidy
ANZA Storm
Changi Airport didn’t know what had hit it when at 7:30am, an ocean of girls in blue, red and white took over. 29 excited ANZA netball players were ready to take on the best of Western Australia. After four months of intense training, we couldn’t wait to put our skills to the test.
Arriving at the State Netball Centre at Wembley Sports Park was like arriving in another world, 52 netball courts and thousands of players. Pippa and Savannah represented ANZA in the opening ceremony, proudly carrying the flag. Suddenly, it was time to play. Pre-game we were nervous but once we started playing the game we love, the jitters disappeared. We were warmly welcomed by all the WA teams and had a blast. We enjoyed the entertainment and food on offer, coming back with glittery faces, jumbo snow cones and of course, smiles.
Day 2 brought another early start and great day of netball. The three teams supported each other, cheering and watching every game possible. After our games finished, my teammates and I went down for a swim at the beach (keep in mind, it was winter). That night the parents joined us for dinner. We had a great time! Monday was the final day of our trip and the last game in the round. We were also lucky enough to meet the stars of the West Coast Fever. My team, ANZA Storm, won six games and made it to the Grand Final. We were well supported by other Singapore clubs in the final; Centaurs even made a tunnel for us to run through! The final was a very close game, a tie at full time! This went into extra time and resulted in us coming second. It was a great experience and was the most intense game we’ve ever played.
This unbelievable tour would not be possible without our amazing coach Kylie, and hard-working manager Michelle, who made sure every small detail was taken care of.

Charlotte Jory
ANZA Lightning
10 months ago, I attended my first ANZA netball session and I didn’t know anyone. By late May I was travelling to Perth with my teammates to take part in an international tournament. I started with no friends and now I have friends for life! ANZA = friendship. The experience was unforgettable, and we made so many memories together – like rolling down the hill and playing seven matches in three days. It now feels like we have known each other for years.
Netball was really fun and we improved as a team the more we played. ANZA Storm, ANZA Merlions and the parents were very supportive and cheered us during the games. Overall, we came 4th, which was far better than expected. It was all down to good training and coaching. Our motivational, determined coach Nicole and our hard-working, supportive manager Leanne were with us every step of the way.”

Bella Worthington
ANZA Merlions
I was lucky enough to be part of the Merlions team who travelled to Perth. We trained hard for several months on Saturday mornings and Monday nights as we knew the competition was going to be fierce. The first morning was quite cold and we were so excited to get to the state netball centre in our ANZA tracksuits. The competition over the three days was really tough but played with good sportsmanship, and I will always remember how friendly the other teams were.  The level of netball was incredible, and we all had to lift our level and improve over the course of the tournament to play better than we knew we could.  It was a great experience to be part of such a huge tournament.
Thanks to our coach Suzie and team parent Jo for taking such good care of us and helping us to have a great trip, and to the coaches back in Singapore who helped us prepare, especially Pippa and Shuangru. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!”

Sign up for the 2019/2020 ANZA Netball season, which runs from 7 September 2019 to 21 March 2020. anza.org.sg/sports/netball