It is quite hard, honestly, to condense everything that has transpired, everything we have learned, into a 5-7 minute sharing. But let me start by saying, Jesus is the ultimate role model of a leader. Knowing that we’re all from Assumption yet from different communities : Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Thailand ; I believe we have all been exposed to numerous recollections, retreats, and morning talks. I personally have been through many since I was in Grade 3, with the simple Day with the Lord. However, this camp was definitely and pleasantly different. It was a combination of a retreat and leadership training – two things that are quite different. A retreat is where we strengthen our faith and bond with God, it is the time where we keep the atmosphere solemn and quiet ; whereas a leadership training is full of workshops on confidence and communication, and activities to hone our skills in leadership. But this camp made me realize, made me see, how both can be very much connected ; more so, how we as leaders are first and foremost, God’s servants. We are leaders, because of God and we excel because of Him. After every activity during this camp, may it be after the talk of a speaker, group sharing, and even the boodle fight, we would always be given a time to write in our journals. And in every moment of silence we had, we’d always put to mind how we can be better leaders for our community and for God. We are all dependent on God and just like what Ate Sarah said, “God is my back up”, that no USB, laptop, or computer can match how dependable God is.
Throughout the whole camp, all our activities revolved around our theme, I see you, I L.E.A.D. – love, empower, act, and dream. And as the days unfolded each word was concretized by the persons, experiences, and stories that were shared.
First, love. I remember when we first entered the retreat house and how we all had those shy looks, awkward smiles, and exchanged “hello po” to those people we saw, that we regarded as strangers. But after the Avatar Race we did during our first day of camp, everyone seemed so bonded not only with their group mates but also with other groups. I remember what Sr. Maitel said that sometimes we need to do things outside in order to discover what is inside. From then on, our awkward and shy “hello po” formed friendships without judgments, transcending the notion that “Oh she’s from Antipolo, Makati, Mindanao, Passi, Thailand, etc.” rather it was friendship formed from just pure love.
Next, Empower. This, we experienced as we listened to the talks of Ate Sarah Corpuz, Mr. Lito Tayag, Mr. Alvin Barcelona and the Himaya band, Bai Hani Sumndad- Usman, and from the workshop of Ms. Ana Valdes and team. Their experiences in life motivated – empowered us that we can be just like them without forgetting to reconnect with our roots just like Mr. Lito’s leadership journey from a simple farmer’s son in San Simon, Pampanga to a country managing director of Accenture. He has reached so far already but he continues to give back to his Alma matter – Assumpta Technical High School and be “just your ordinary guy”.
Third, Act. After being motivated and empowered by the talks and different activities in this camp, we, as leaders, do not simply stop there. That is why, as we go back to our own homes, we are called to act and do something for the betterment of the whole community. After the gallery walk and Café Pandora sharing, seeing the different displays and hearing their stories, we had a renewed sense of awareness, because we saw what was happening in the different communities and how they address these issues. We had a wider perspective – we were able to see the bigger picture of the problems we had in the environment and even in the war happening in Mindanao. Bai Hani’s message was clear : we can be peace builders and voices of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao to our own communities.
Lastly, Dream. We all have our dreams for ourselves, some may want to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, or even be part of the religious community by becoming a priest or part of the religious of the Assumption. But more than the dreams we have for ourselves is our dream as a community, for the community, and for our country. We are leaders and we must not be selfish and self- centered with the dreams we plan for our future. For sure, you’ve heard so many times from our adults that they expect so much from the youth, especially from us, young leaders. Thinking about it, of course they expect so much from us, because first of all we have inevitably inherited problems and issues from them. It is so strange that we’re not yet even close to becoming an adult or part of the decision makers of this country but we already know that we will be the ones to solve those problems. So I guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of us here becomes the president of the Philippines or becomes part of the government – just like what Mike (from Kauswagan) said, yes he can become the next president. All this we can achieve, if as St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus said “My gaze is fixed on Jesus Christ and the extension of His Kingdom” coupled with the values that Assumption has instilled in each one of us.
This camp showed us that there are so many ways, means, channels for us to witness God’s presence through art, our work-life like Ms. Ana, and through music just like how Mr. Alvin and the Himaya band praised God and touched our hearts to see and believe in God’s presence in everything around us.
As I end my sharing, I recall Sr. Marjo telling us during the first day, “It is hard to lead, when we cannot see.” Through this camp, we were able to experience what it is to see and L.E.A.D., so as we go home tomorrow and leave camp, I’m sure that we, young leaders of Assumption, are more than ready to lead – to love, empower, act, and dream.
Madamo nga salamat ! Dakal a salamat ! Khop Khun Kha ! Maraming salamat ! Thank you very much and I hope you enjoy the rest of the night !
By Gaby Morillo, Assumption Antipolo
November 6, 2011