HAPI Bicol held its first-ever Youth Camp at the Green Hillside Nest Campsite in Abucay, Pilar, Sorsogon all throughout this past February! 24 eager young campers, ranging from 15 to 21 years old, attended.
The HAPI-Bicol Youth Camp is an e-learning and e-training program that focuses on critical thinking, humanism, volunteerism, secularism, human rights, and environmental education. It is the first educational program of HAPI’s Bicol Chapter that educates the youth and empowers them to think and to act. The Youth Camp aims to inspire its attendees to become valuable advocates for humanity, tolerance, peace and to engage them as an environmental citizen.
HAPI as a whole believes that education is the key to opening up a future of freedom and hope. The children are our future. Through this Camp, we aim to translate that hope into reality.
The Experience – Day 1
On the first day of the Camp came the “Meet and Greet”, where each camper introduced themselves, their strengths and their weaknesses, and why they joined the camp. Most of them were curious about the camp activities and excited about the online lectures.
We divided the campers into three groups. The idea was to make each camper improve their skills (while learning new ones) as well as to learn the importance of team work and performing in a timely manner. The Team Chef was responsible for cooking and preparing food. The Team Cleaners were responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the camp area, implementing the “No Littering” rule, and segregating the trash. The Team Builders were responsible for building and dismantling the tents, collecting firewood, and tree planting.
The lectures were held in the evening from eight to eleven o’clock. On the first night of online lectures came the HAPI Introduction and the main topic of Volunteerism; we did some “icebreakers” to set the mood and let the campers be comfortable among one another.
HAPI Chairman Michael Sherman and HAPI CEO Javan Poblador conducted an online presentation about the history of HAPI, including when and how it was founded, the Mission and Vision, and the works that the organization has done since 2013 and will do for the years to come. HAPI CFO Mary Jane Valenzuela then did her talk on Volunteerism. Campers were very interested during these discussions and set personal goals to volunteer their time and skills in the future.
On the second day of the camp, we did a photo challenge. Each camper did an hour-long “photo walk” inside the camp. The purpose of the activity was to improve their creativity and to show humanity through their photographs. In the afternoon, HAPI Jr. Ambassador Angie Driskell did her online lectures about Secularism, which was then followed by a talk on Human Rights by HAPI Youth Ambassador Donna Darantinao.
In the evening, the campers built a bonfire and enjoyed some snacks while listening to HAPI Secretary Steven Cross discuss Humanism and afterward HAPI Bacolod Lead Convenor AJ Ballares who discussed Critical Thinking.
On the third day of the camp, we did a small activism activity. We called it “Slogan-Making”, where each camper was tasked to write their own slogan on cardboard. Their slogan could either be about Humanism, Youth, Volunteerism, Critical Thinking, Human Rights, or the Environment. Most of them chose to advocate Environment. In the evening, Javan Lev returned to present a lecture focusing on Environmental Education.
To end the camp activities, we did a Coastal Bay Cleaning Drive which took place in Brgy. Lambiqui, Pilar, Sorsogon, where we cleaned the whole bay area and gathered 20 sacks of plastic trash. After the Cleaning Drive, we did a short personality development activity to empower the youth to move forward, set goals, and own a purpose. We called it “A Journey to Humanism“, where the campers were put through four different zones: the Comfort Zone, the Fear Zone, the Learning Zone, and the Growth Zone. They needed to face some challenges in each zone before proceeding to the next zone. Happily, all participants made it through! Although there was a bit of fear, they all faced and survived the challenges.
The HAPI Bicol Youth Camp was an unforgettable experience and we’d like to thank all of our HAPI speakers and leaders who took the time to do their presentations via Zoom!