13-year-old with special needs steps up to shoot at YMCA Proms @ The Park

Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) Tanglin School student and regular participant of the YMCA’s Y Photo Club programme, Joshua Tay, may be young but it looks like he already has what it takes to be a professional photographer.


Joshua Tay of APSN Tanglin School shooting with the professionals at YMCA Proms @ The Park.

Joshua Tay, an avid photographer and student at the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) Tanglin School, got the chance to shoot with the pros during YMCA Proms @ The Park 2018, which was held at The Lawn @ Marina Bay on Saturday (21 July).

The 13-year-old rushed to the front of the stage to photograph Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee when he came on stage to mark the beginning of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) event, which saw about 580 volunteers bond with more than 500 persons with disabilities, over an afternoon of art, music as well as carnival games.

Among them was Tay’s group from APSN Tanglin School’s Multimedia Club.

Although the young boy was flanked by professional photographers over a head taller, armed with high-grade cameras, he stepped forward and snapped away with his small Canon Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera anyway, and managed to capture some great photos.


Joshua’s photo of Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond (centre) with YMCA President Leslie Wong (right) and representatives from key sponsors of YMCA Proms @ The Park 2018.

Was he intimidated by the professionals?

“No, I was not afraid. I went up there because I always liked to take other people’s photo,” said Tay, who honed his DSLR skills through regular photo outings with YMCA volunteers, as part of the Y Photo Club programme, which encourages persons with special needs to express themselves through the art of photography.

“I felt happy! My favourite part of today was taking photos for everyone!”


Joshua photographs a performer from APSN.

Tay’s instructor, who only wished to be known as Mr Boon from APSN Tanglin School, praised him for his initiative.

“He had the courage to step up and take photos. Not everyone dares to do that with all the pros. I feel that he has a lot of potential. I feel very honoured to have produced such a student,” said Boon.

He added that he found the Y Photo Club programme very helpful in developing his students’ camera skills.

“In our school, the students only learn to use digital cameras, but they never have any contact with DSLR cameras,” said Boon.

“Through the YMCA programme (Y Photo Club), they actually have hands-on practise with DSLR cameras. The volunteers also teach them how to take photos from different angles.”

The YMCA is a volunteer-based Christian organisation which seeks to impact the lives of members of our community through the development of body, mind and spirit. In 2017, we mobilised more than 8,000 volunteers to help over 23,000 beneficiaries in Singapore and 10 other countries.

Want to find out more about the YMCA’s Y Photo Club programme? Looking for volunteering or sponsorship opportunities? Contact us at volunteer@ymca.org.sg! Check out our Facebook @YMCA.Singapore to see more photos!


Written by Han Wei Chou