Monday, April 11, 2011

OMYLC: Oh, my! An experience of a lifetime

It’s has definitely been an ‘Oh, my! 'experience for most. 

Three days of learning, insights, leadership stories, tears and laughter, outdoor activities, and a fun and wet adventure that nobody will forget all too soon and make one go ‘Oh, my!.’ 

For 91 young student leaders of Oriental Mindoro, the 1st Oriental Mindoro Young Leaders Camp (OMYLC) would just be the beginning of the leadership journey that they will venture on. 

OMYLC officially opened last April 9, with 91 student leaders from 10 universities located all over Oriental Mindoro, as part of Ayala Foundation, Inc.’s Leadership Communities (LeadCom) Program in the area. Under the program, partner schools form a “Leadership Community” that will champion youth leadership development in its area. 

LeadCom’s primary goal is to organize and conduct a 3-day leadership congress for student leaders of its partner schools. The leadership congress provides students a venue to interact, learn leadership values, and hone their skills to help become positive agents of change in their respective communities. 

Thus, the OMYLC. 

Partner schools of LeadCom Oriental Mindoro are Ark of the Covenant Montessori Chamber of Learning, City College of Calapan, Divine Word College of Calapan, Luna Goco Colleges, Inc., Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinSCAT) – Bongabong Campus, MinSCAT – Calapan City Campus, MinSCAT – Main Campus, Prince of Peace College, St. Anthony College, and St. Augustine Seminary. 

“The vision is to see a country that is lead by servant leaders. And that’s the purpose of LeadCom, to offer a steady supply of these servant leaders,” said Mario A. Deriquito, senior director of Ayala Foundation, Inc. 

Partners of the program are Active Aid Partnerships (AAP), a newly formed non-government organization based in Denmark. After continuously supporting empowerment and development projects for children and young people, AAP has now extended its assistance in running the LeadCom program in Oriental Mindoro. 

“A large part of leadership is not about talking about it, it’s about doing it,” shared Rolf Andersen of AAP during the grand opening of the OMYLC. 

With their firm belief in the youth and their great potential, AAP has likewise offered to provide small grants to fund future projects of some delegates of the 1st OMYLC. 

The delegates were likewise introduced to the servant leadership framework, the underlying leadership framework followed by the LeadCom Program. Servant-leadership’s main concept is that the leader is servant first. Simon Mossessgeld, Congress Director of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress guided the delegates through the journey of becoming a servant leader. 

Though day two was physically taxing, it was an enriching experience to the delegates. 

The morning session was filled with a deep discussion of leadership and our passions through the multi-sectoral youth panel of young leaders of Oriental Mindoro. 

“As a leader, you should have the passion that drives you from within yourself,” noted Maila P. Saab, ordained pastor of the International Strategic Alliance of Apostolic Churches. 

While having found her true calling in the religious sector as a pastor for the past 10 years, Saab likewise finds her passion in training students for oratorical competitions all across the country. 

Likewise joining the panel was Madonna Virola, a freelance journalist for the past six years and correspondent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Virola was a thriving student leader and youth volunteer, supporting human rights and community development. 

The trio was also joined by Orlando Tizon of the provincial tourism office, who likewise shared his insights on leadership after having been an active youth leader during his time as well. 

“Do the things you think are right,” he encouraged the delegates. 

Rounding up the panel of four was Jon-jon Sarmiento, a community organizer and strong environment activist. He is the main convener of the Preservation of Naujan Lake National Park. Having been in the development sector for more than 20 years and driving communities towards development, Sarmiento shared his own insights on leadership. 

In the afternoon, the delegates found themselves hurdling a series of team initiative activities, the 91 student leaders found themselves climbing over nuclear fences in the woods, making their way through a maze with no verbal communication, and transporting toxic waste through the woods with no sense of sights and landmines littered all around the forest grounds. 

Things got chaotic and wet as the group took on the Chaos challenge and tried to fill up the punctured drums as a team. 

Topping the day with a boodle fight and a fellowship night, the young leaders showed off their talents in singing and dancing and enjoyed each others company. 

And while day three may have marked the end of the camp, it likewise stood for the beginning of something greater for the young student leaders of Oriental Mindoro. 

Together as one big group, the 91 student leaders came up with their community vision for Oriental Mindoro and the LeadCom Program of Oriental Mindoro. 

As one Leadership Community of Oriental Mindoro these 91 delegates of the first ever OMYLC will positively contribute to the development of province and likewise impact a positive change to their respective communities. And furthermore, it will supply more servant leaders to this country. 

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