The Yuva Visavakorn Borpit (The King’s Young Engineers) Camp
The Yuva Visavakorn Borpit, a voluntary development camp for students of the Faculty of Engineering, originated from the Project for Establishing a Voluntary Development Camp under the Engineering Students’ Voluntary Development Club, which aimed to provide social welfare to people. The Project was founded in 1969 because there were major floods in the South that had damaged and destroyed many roads, making it difficult to transport farm produce. Students of the Faculty of Engineering discussed these problems and decided that road construction or road repair was related to public works so they were able to lend a helping hand. They went on a survey of the routes in Prachuab Khiri Khan Province and found a route leading to an agricultural community settlement in Ow Noi Sub-district. This route had served for transporting agricultural produce to the outside world. However, the floods had damaged the route and transportation had become difficult. So, the students decided to build a permanent bridge there. They used the bridge blueprint of the Department of Highways and gained part-financial support from the Faculty of Engineering. Because the budget they had received was not sufficient for their operation, the students wrote to the King to inform him of the details of their activities. The King donated his private funds to enable the students to finish their project and said this to them, “Behave like mature adults and be careful. Make sure that what you are doing is not blown out of proportion.” After that, the students began the construction of a permanent wooden bridge. It was the first piece of work by the Engineering students in a voluntary development project of this kind and it has continued since then.
The name, “Yuva Visavakorn Borpit” was first used in 1971 when the King gave this name to a suspension bridge built by the Voluntary Development Club of the Faculty of Engineering during a summer camp at Ban Muangchum, Monpin Sub-district, Phang District, Chiang Mai Province. Originally, the villagers had asked the King for a bridge and he had the Engineering students build this bridge upon request. After the bridge had been completed, the King named it, the “Yuva Visavakorn Borpit” Bridge and he had Privy Councillor Sanya Dhammasakdi attend its opening ceremony.
Later, at the request of the Faculty of Engineering, the King named all constructions built in the public interest in rural areas by the Voluntary Development Club, “Yuva Visavakorn Borpit”. In 1976, he named a dyke built in Ban Hong, On Tai Sub-distrct, San Kamphaeng District, Chiang Mai Province, “Yuva Visavakorn Borpit 5”. The King also presided over the opening ceremony of the Yuva Visavakorn Borpit 5 Sluice and on this occasion he granted a royal audience to lecturers and students from the Faculty of Engineering.
The Voluntary Development Club of the Faculty of Engineering has continued to organize voluntary development camps every year until today. These camps have built permanent structures in rugged areas for the benefit of local people. The things they have constructed include permanent wooden bridges, concrete bridges, dykes and classroom buildings.
Surveys and assessments have shown that the structures built by the Voluntary Development Club have remained useful to local people. They have provided them with progress and a better life. The Camp’s project, each year, is difficult and challenging work which starts from surveying the site of the project, then specifying the characteristics of the construction, design, a campaign for financial support and project management to ensure that it meets the deadline. The students have to coordinate with local people and to live with them while undertaking the camp’s activities. The students have nobly dedicated themselves to the activities of their camp.