As shared wth you in my previous post, it’s a privileged to be part of EDSOR 2o12 Peace Camp, an annual leadership camp of student leaders coming from Dela Salle Greenhills, Poveda, Xavier and Immaculate Conception Academy. And I shared with the student leaders about “cyber wellness”.
Below is one of the reaction papers of the participants:
Reflection on Cyber Wellness Talk
Katrina Chan, II-Peace (Tropang Bahay-Bahayan)
On the second day of the twelfth EDSOR Peace Conference held last January 13-14, 2012, my groupmates and I were given the opportunity to listen to a talk on the topic of “Cyber Wellness” with our resource speaker Mr. Sonnie Santos. This year, the theme was “Kabataan: Kakabakaba o Kakasa Ka Ba?”
The EDSOR Peace Conference is an annual leadership training seminar for student leaders from Immaculate Conception Academy, La Salle Greenhills, St. Pedro Poveda College, and Xavier School in order to hone leadership skills and bring awareness about the present situation of the Filipino youth. The topic of cyber wellness was certainly relevant, considering that we are living in the twenty-first century when both the dangers and blessings of information technology are greatly felt, especially by its avid consumers, the youth. I will admit that, being a part of this more technologically-literate demographic, I was not expecting the talk to yield any fresh knowledge. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The talk touched on more youth-oriented issues, such as the privacy, cyberbullying, and responsible use of social networking sites. We discovered more about privacy settings and how to manage the information we share on the internet. Mr. Santos alerted us to the different ways our information could be exploited on the internet, but also showed how we can use it otherwise. I was impressed by his sharing about how he uses “Places” feature in order to leave a cyber trail, just in case of emergencies. As minors, we also learned about how to collaborate with our parents and guardians to maintain safety on the Internet. Mr. Santos himself was an engaging speaker who encouraged questions and displayed expansive knowledge on the topic. We are truly to Mr. Santos for imparting his expertise and time to educate us on this important issue. In the current day and age, information technology is an indispensable tool in one’s arsenal, a tool that can be used for good or bad. It is important that, as student leaders and members of the youth, we learn how to use it properly and safely so that, to borrow from the theme of this year’s conference, “kakasa talaga ang kabataan.”
It’s is an event that comes every year, but only after every four years is ICA given the flag to bear. This is EDSOR, the two-day peace conference that brings together delegates from the four schools along EDSA—the Immaculate Conception Academy, Xavier School, LaSalle Greenhills and St. Pedro Poveda College. This year, the challenge of hosting the conference fell on the shoulders of ICA, in time as we celebrate our 75th year.
EDSOR 2012 was themed “Kabataan: Kakabakaba O Kakasa Ka Ba?” It focused on bringing the delegates to conquer their own fears in order to mold them into better and stronger leaders of tomorrow. The event was launched with an Opening Ceremony which was followed by a talk by 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, Mr. Efren Penaflorida who brought along Kehz, a thirteen year old boy who started his own foundation—Caring Children. His talk defined what leadership truly is. Afterwards, the first day continued on. The activities then revolved around making the student leaders realize their own insecurities. The Amazing Race featured stations that pushed the participants to break free of the barriers holding them back.
After the race, the participants settled into break-out sessions facilitated by guidance counselors from the different schools. These sessions helped them discover what kind of leaders they were, the output of which was their personal statement bags. Once finished, the participants broke into prayer groups, where they were encouraged to share all the worries and fears they still had. The first day ended with a grand finale—the anticipated bonfire celebration. For the first time, the EDSOR Peace Conference lasted until 7:30 in the evening. The delegates, divided into different tropas, were invited to recite bonfire bravados (cheer) before throwing their fears into the fire. When all Tropas were done, the EDSOR participants joined in the flash mob dance to the music: “Kabataang Pinoy”.
While the first day was already packed with so many takeaways, the conference only got better! The second day was just as busy. It started with a talk on The Filipino Youth Today which was followed by break-out sessions that tackled 7 specific youth issues—education, teen parenthood, cyber wellness, substance addiction, bullying, children in conflict with the law, and media’s effects on youth values. The participants engaged in in-depth discussions about these issues with experts in these fields.
The afternoon was dedicated to preparing for an exhibit of their action plans regarding the issues they tackled in the break-out sessions. The Tropas got down to serious work as they brainstormed, finalized their plans, decorated their exhibit booths, and created advocacy materials like video presentations and posters campaigning for active youth response. Once the booths were up, the participants went around to view each other’s exhibits as they listened intently to the explanation of the Tropa members assigned to “sell” the action plan to them. It was indeed an exercise in creativity, quick-thinking, collaboration, & even public speaking. More importantly, it was an activity that led to viable projects that these participants can bring home and implement in their respective schools.
To cap the second day off, the participants were led to the chapel for the celebration of the Eucharist presided by Fr. Johnny Go, S.J. The turnover ceremony was also held as ICA Directress Sr. Dina Ang, M.I.C. passed on the EDSOR flag to the Student Activities Coordinator of next year’s host – La Salle Greenhills.
The delegates were left with one statement: leaders do not just start the fire, they keep it alive. Truly, the delegates walked home with a sense of lightness, of being freed from their insecurities; a sense of unity, of finding friendships bound to last; and a sense of true leadership, of being the leader who, by conquering his/her fears, can conquer anything.