At Virlanie Foundation, Inc. we believe in our young people’s potential to become the next generation of leaders therefore, we are proud of The Rising Youth’s (TRY) successful 4-day Leadership Camp held in Dasmariñas, Cavite last July 24-28, 2023. The camp was attended by 51 young people from our Communities in Rolling Hills, Bagong Silangan, and Parola, and from the Street-based program in Aroma and Delpan. The leadership Camp was funded exclusively by EMpower, wich support The Rising Youth.
“This Leadership camp is a success not only in terms of getting to know each other but also in terms of how they improve their personal skills” says Ate Jessa, Rising Youth officer in charge of Camp Coordinator together with five other girls from our Residential Programs.
Seven (7) young people who are officers of the T.R.Y were proud of their success as their relentless hard work for the past months has finally paid off”.
“A good leader must have strong communication skills, as well as self-awareness and self-control. Based on that, we designed four days of activities to help them discover their inner leader.” Ate Jessa.
The first day was allotted for The Rising Youth officers to set-up the campsite and look for alternatives because of the inevitable forecasted typhoon “Egay”.
The second day of camp was focused on the orientation (attendance and provision of camp kits, groupings, expectations, and rules setting) and all about creating a team (the name, yell, banner, and emblem) to foster team bonding and comfort. Afterwards, an amazing race of 10 stations with additional obstacle courses was facilitated for the young leaders to build camaraderie and to develop teamwork.
The third day was filled with activities and presentations that focused on self-awareness and self-control, communication skills emphasizing assertiveness, accepting criticism and feedback, decision-making and problem solving. The young leaders were participative and active in sharing their experiences and observations. They also worked as a team and the challenges and obstacles they encountered, which has an impact on how they improve in every activity.
The fourth day the activities were divided into two – Morning “Advocacy Campaign on Child Protection” through KAMALAYAN performance followed with a “Focused Group Discussion” and Afternoon “Culminating Activity” and “Socialization’s Night”. The whole-day activity allowed them to express their vulnerabilities, learning, reflections, and takeaways as leaders during the camp. It also became an avenue for them to relate with one another, deepen personal values, and strengthen young leaders’ connections through the convergence of The Rising Youth to street-based and community programs of Virlanie.
On the final day, each beneficiary received an award to recognize their active participation and commitment in the leadership camp. “My Commitment” or the Oath Taking was facilitated to apply their acquired learning and to continue being a leader in their respective areas, both street-based and community programs. An evaluation was also assisted for The Rising Youth to know their strengths and needs for improvement.
Everyone enjoyed the camp and was sad to see it end. It was time to forge strong bonds across the various communities interested in the Virlanie Foundation, Inc. and find the leader within them:
Kuya Jerry, 19 years old, Street-based Program, Aroma Tondo
“This camp taught us not only how to have fun, but also how to improve our personal skills and mindset. I really spent time here, I’ve got a good time, but what I liked best is learning how to change unpleasant conversations into positive ones. We learn a lot about self-control and self-awareness in this class. Today, I can claim that I discovered the leader within myself, and I will continue to grow as a result of this trip. I will not pass up the opportunity to continue in this manner.”
Kuya Dano, 17 years old, Community Program, Parola Tondo
“Not only did this leadership camp boost my confidence, but it also boosted my confidence in others. For example, the first day and the amazing race were challenging because we didn’t know each other yet. We didn’t have a plan to get around the obstacles at the moment. However, because of excellent communication, we were able to pass all of them. We learned a lot from one other and from ourselves. Actually, we’re all leaders here, and I’m grateful to be there and want to convey my appreciation.”
Ate Jen, 17 years old, Community Program, Parola Tondo
“I had no idea what I was getting into when I came here. However, the activities have really aided me in bettering myself and learning how to be a good leader. The camp allows us to be vulnerable and comfortable with it. This adventure taught me how to be responsible for myself and my group. Every issue was transformed into a challenge. I’m also thankful to the Rising Youth for organizing everything.”
Ate Christine, 19 years old, Street-based Program, Aroma Tondo
“This camp taught me so much about self-control, self-awareness, and self-confidence. My favorite memory is from the first day, when I couldn’t participate in any sports due to my asthma, but my team was extremely supportive. I’m an introvert by nature, but I’ve learnt to be more outgoing. I’m grateful for this chance, which has helped to shift my perspective.”
The Rising Youth was founded in 2015 and is supported by the Independent Living Program. The purpose is to focus on advocacy of children’s rights, also to empower young people through capacity-building activities so that they can reach their full potential. Youth-led activities include sessions on basic concepts of climate change and disaster risk reduction, tutorials, a summer camp, a sports festival, a focus group discussion, mental health, children’s rights, a youth summit, and many other things. The Rising Youth officers are elected every two years.
The origins of EMpower can be traced back to 2000, when a group of finance professionals banded together to give back to the emerging market countries where they did business. They have honed their strategic focus throughout the years to commit our grantmaking to marginalized kids, because it is past time for the resources available to young people to reflect their immense potential. EMpower funded this leadership camp and has helped to organize other camps conducted by the Virlanie Foundation, Inc.