Senior Minister of State for Defence and Chairman of the Advisory Council of Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD), Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, launched the inaugural Dads for Life Camp @ Army Open House (AOH) 2017 earlier this evening at the F1 Pit. The overnight camp, held from 28 to 29 May 2017, is organised by the Centre for Fathering (CFF) in partnership with the AOH 2017, and is one of the ACCORD Family and Community (F&C) Council's ground-up initiatives to commemorate 50 years of National Service (NS).

As part of his visit, Dr Maliki and his son joined other father-child pairs in pitching their tents, and interacted with camp participants. Speaking after his visit, Dr Maliki highlighted the key role of fathers in building strong families and contributing to national defence, from one generation to another. He said, "The Dads for Life Camp @ AOH 2017 is a heartening example of ACCORD's ground-up initiatives that recognise the contributions of national servicemen, and strengthen community and family support for NS. Fathers, many of whom are also national servicemen, play a key role in contributing to national defence. As a father myself, I consider it my duty to protect my loved ones, my community, and Singapore. Fathers are also one of the key pillars of strong families, as they serve as role models and impart key values to their children and future generations. This, in turn, lays the foundation for a strong and resilient nation for our future generations."

The Dads for Life Camp @ AOH 2017, which sees 200 pairs of father-child participants, as well as their families, will include activities such as tent-pitching, a night walk, lunch consisting of field rations, a tour of AOH 2017, and other father-child bonding activities. In addition, participating fathers will take part in a "Dad's Promise" declaration to their families. Participants will also embark on a 3km NS-themed "Family Route March" around the Marina Bay area, where they will march past landmarks such as the Youth Olympic Park, the Lim Bo Seng Memorial, the Cenotaph, the Elizabeth Walk Fountain, and the Esplanade Bridge, while singing military cadences.

ACCORD was established by MINDEF in January 1984 as a channel for the community to provide feedback on issues concerning Singapore's defence. Following the Committee to Strengthen NS (CSNS)'s recommendations in 2014, ACCORD was restructured into three Councils � an Employer and Business (E&B) Council, an Educational Institutions (EI) Council, and a Family and Community (F&C) Council - formed under its main ambit in strengthening commitment to defence and NS. The F&C Council aims to garner support and engender greater commitment to NS and defence from key stakeholders - family, community, women, New Citizens, and Permanent Residents � through raising their awareness of NS and the need for defence, deepening the engagement with them, and providing support and recognition for their contributions to NS.

In addition to the Dads for Life Camp @ AOH 2017, other ACCORD F&C Council ground-up initiatives to commemorate NS50 include the "We Support YOU in NS" initiative, which seeks to show support for NS and appreciation for our national servicemen by partnering merchants and retailers to offer discounts and privileges, as well as the NS50 Picnic which will be organised by the Families for Life Council in August this year to strengthen and recognise family support for NS.