On April 9-12, 2019, the 16th batch of Certificate in Youth Work students conducted a Youth Camp entitled “Malayang Lumipad nang Buong-buo (Free to Fly as Whole Persons)” at Lilok Farm, Tanay, Rizal, Philippines. The theme of the camp was Wholism, and our aim was to inspire holistic faith that integrates parts of our life like Spirit, Mind, Body, Relationships, Work, World and Play. We had 35 participants ages 13-28 from different communities of Quezon City, Tanay and Laguna which also came from different economic backgrounds. 14 of them were male and the other 21 were females. Most of them were regular church attenders.
I (Jeff) invited Patrick, one of the participants of the CYW training, to share about his experience as Camp Director. These are his reflections.
Searching For a New Routine
We invited a small group of boys from our community in Barangay Holy Spirit. We call them “Riverside Boys” because they stay in Riverside Street most of the time. JL, M, and D are school drop-outs for some years, stopped at elementary level and hanging around in the community. They are living a life with almost no healthy routines and don’t attend church on Sundays. At first, I was unsure and felt a little bit hesitant to take them along to our camp. “Would they get along well with the other campers?” I asked myself. But as Christians, we are called to take risks and to not always play the safety card. When we look at the life of our Friend Jesus, we see that he engaged specially with the misfits. With all these strong realizations, I brought them in the camp.
Aside from a small incident where one of the boys stole a snack from another camper (as the concept of ownership is not clear with these boys), I noticed that that the Riverside boys engaged well in the activities. There were times that they needed some encouragements to focus in the learning sessions. I saw that they struggled a little because they were not used to following programs that goes from morning to evening. They enjoyed the games, activities, and Nature (when they went to Batlag Falls). Aside from their learning from the sessions about Wholism, they gained confidence and learned how to socialize with their fellow campers.
One of the camp highlights was our Celebration Night. We enjoyed and laughed together because of the creative special numbers and a lot of music performed by the campers. We ended our event with a suitable Tagalog Song called “Huling Sayaw (The Last Dance)”.
One of the boys told me that he now has a lot of new friends after the camp. I wish and hope that next to the friends they made with each other, our friend and Savior Jesus will accompany the young people back in their community. This is one of the thoughts I had after the camp, on how to go further with the Riverside boys from our community and continue their learnings and deepen my relationship with them. The challenge that I see in our community is there are lots of people that influence the Riverside boys and so many things that distract them from living in their fullest well-being. There is also no daily program and structure like what we had in the camp that will serve as a guide on how to wisely spend their time. So we are trying to find ways to encourage them to go back to school (through the Alternative Learning System program) and to journey with them.
I hope that our topics and modules about Wholistic Faith will help the campers grow as Christians and in their way of following Jesus.
CYW Batch 16
Please pray for the CYW and Certificate in Wholistic Ministry enrollment for the year 2019-2020, that 15 participants may join each training. We have consistently taken on less than ten participants each training for the past few years, and we would like to see growth in this area.
We are also looking for a new volunteer for Sakahang Lilok, as Myra will leave the team to prepare for her move to Cambodia as part of the Philippine Servants team. Please pray that God will touch the heart of the next person to step up and serve in the ministry of creation care.
Please pray also for our upcoming Annual General Meeting this coming July 6, 2019. Arcy and Liza will be transitioning out of the Board of Trustees, and we are praying for the next two who will journey with Lilok as part of the Board.
Journeying with you in the service of the poor,
CYW Program Assistant Coordinator