Home | AdZU champions Positivity in OSY Leadership Camp

by Val Amiel Vestil

correspondent-Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts

AdZU, through its Center for Culture and Arts (ACCA)’s revolutionary SUGPAT Program, gathered more than 40 Out-of-School Youths (OSYs) last December 12-16, 2018 for the first ever “Kamp Kaya!”, a five-day stay-in leadership camp.

The first-of-its-kind leadership camp in the region, “Kamp Kaya!” assembled youth leaders from Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi at the Mercedes Retreat House, Zamboanga City. In partnership with UNICEF, the camp aimed to develop and improve leadership competencies and establish a network of leaders, innovators, and advocates from the OSY sector.

 “We came to realize that the first step of capacitating the OSY to become creative peacebuilders and problem solvers is to capacitate them with leadership competencies and the right attitude, for them to see their worth in making their respective communities a better and safer place for every young person,” said ACCA Director Kiko Miranda.

UNICEF Regional HIV/Adolescent Health Specialist Shirley Prabhu, who visited the camp, said many OSYs in the Philippines have so much potential that is yet to be tapped. “They have so many ideas, they have so much thoughts about what their future needs to be. That’s why it is important that we engage with them so that we can understand what they want for themselves,” she added. 

For five days, the campers were treated to inspiring talks, activities and night programs on the four-pillar themes on which Kamp Kaya was founded, namely: positive identity, leadership, aspiration, and volunteerism.  

Yasser “Barbie” Usani, the only camper from Tawi-Tawi, admitted that his initial perception of the out-of-school youth is that young people who “give the community a headache” by being standbys and being reckless towards barangay officers. This, however, changed after the camp. “When I was able to enter Kamp Kaya, I was able to see that the OSY can go places. It’s just that their voices are not heard. I saw that there are opportunities for the OSYs and they are not just ‘tambays’ but Tambayanis (heroes).”

Sulu Kamper Rufalyn Hussin proudly shared: “Just because we are out-of-school youth doesn’t mean we have no hope or we create problems in society. Just because we stopped schooling doesn’t mean we have no hope for our future. I admit I once lost hope. But when I got in Kamp Kaya, I realized that there is so much hope.” “If you want to achieve that dream, have patience and pursue the dream. Endure all the trials that will come your way,” the 17-year-old OSY added.

SUGPAT is a flagship program of the Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts. Kamp Kaya received funding from the US Embassy in the Philippines as a winning project in the Alumni Small Grants Competition.