Camp L.I.F.E. 2017: From being a junior to senior facilitator

It has been five years since I joined camp. I was first trained as a junior facilitator whose responsibilities involved monitoring the room cleanliness, serving meals, taking care of co-camper buddies and being a role model and was later promoted to apprentice facilitator whose responsibility involved co-facilitating in some workshops and activities in addition to junior facilitator tasks that I still needed to perform. Two years ago, I graduated from being a camper to one of the coaches, otherwise known as facilitators (junior and apprentice facilitators are still known as campers yet with responsibilities.). However, I was known back then as a volunteer facilitator, who was trained to be one of the future senior facilitators (otherwise known as the highest rank of facilitators or coaches).

I was surprised to learn that I was finally one of the senior facilitators. I barely felt any difference between my volunteer and senior facilitator days in terms of responsibilities, and I did not facilitate any workshop but rather assisted my co-facilitators in preparing the materials, took pictures of the activities and workshops for documentation purposes and looked after my own camper buddies (who also happened to be my longtime friends since my good old camper days) and the ones endorsed by the other coaches. Prior to camp, my tasks were to pour my creative juices and make the most of my artistic and technical skills onto creating both camper and facilitator kits and certificates. Despite the slight difference in responsibilities, there are still new things I have learned (I would rather keep them personal, sorry to say).

I have also experienced lots of highs in my third year as a coach. Two of these ‘highs’ are the facilitators’ team building activities that involve knowing the co-facilitators personally and deep enough to be able to work well with them and the post-camp meeting where the co-facilitators were encouraged to share about their highs and lows. The newly introduced activities are what made the camp more enticing, and I personally loved guitar and songwriting workshop to the point that I was tempted to join. My ability to balance work, leisure and personal care times is my most highlighted high, as this used to be my difficulty in my first two facilitator years. I am glad to have the opportunities to respectively express my musical talent in my performances with friends during the bonfire, Myth Night and Sunday Program and my artistic talent in pillow art making and in painting an animal representing my tribe (water) in cubist form.

Meeting new friends and spending time with the old ones have always been my traditional highs. Although I admit missing my friends who did not join this year’s camp, I am still glad to have friends I can be with for a week.

“Thank you for always doing your best in performing your tasks/responsibilities while managing to still have fun with both campers and facis.”

Such are the touching words I received from my mentors. I am once again thankful for the opportunities to grow in camp as a camper-turned-coach and also as a person. I am now looking forward to apply what I have learned in camp in five years, both in next summer camps and outside camp.

My camp certificates (2012-2017)

Further readings

“CAMP L.I.F.E. 2015: Yesterday a camper, now a coach”

“CAMP L.I.F.E 2014: The Daily Blog of an Apprentice Facilitator”

#FlashbackFriday to my first camp: Why Camp L.I.F.E. is worth your summer 🙂

Advertisements

Come and join the fun at the natural playground called The Fun Farm!

I felt being one of the luckiest to go to this breathtaking nature as part of the school field trip. I was glad to have taken every opportunity in trying once-in-a-lifetime outdoor activities such as obstacle courses and tent house climbing and in having my photo taken with the horse. However, the weather was rainy back then. It still did not stop me and my companions from enjoying the ride to the point that I would consider every activity as my once-in-a-lifetime workout.

16195834_10155027712124752_8594016166920420000_n
Me doing different activities – obstacle courses, tent house climbing, and picture taking with the horse

Other offered activities include boat rides, animal rides, zip line, feeding the animals, fishing and truck riding. For more information about this recreational area, please visit its official website and its Facebook page.

Definitely recommended for children, kids-at-heart, and families.

Further readings

“A Day of Fun at Sta Elena Fun Farm!,” loveeatwander.com

“Around Town: Fun Farm in Sta. Elena,” SmartParenting

“Fun Farm at Sta. Elena,” Daphne.ph

“The Fun Farm at Sta. Elena Attraction Reviews,” Trip Advisor

“Weekend with The Kids: Sta Elena Fun Farm,” Windowseat.ph

Video

The Fun Farm Sta. Elena Golf and Country Estate Cabuyao SLEX by HourPhilippines.com

Lights, Camera, Action: Film Workshops are indeed a wrap!

Joining the workshops brought me back to pursuing my childhood dream to work in the film industry. I was glad to be given the opportunity to learn more from the professionals through the workshops (and thanks to my mentor for inviting me knowing that film making is part of my interest), and I had been looking forward to know the basic steps of film making that included writing the screen play, creating the production design, directing, shooting the film, editing and the final showing. I was even surprised to discover that I was picked as the actress of the main character. The workshop facilitators saw my potential in acting and thought of inviting me when there would be a casting call for actresses playing the character my age. Although I admit that my acting needed improvement, I could still say that I enjoyed it well. I just needed to work more on my facial expressions, acting the script spontaneously using adlibs (meaning to say without the need of saying the exact words on the script yet still able to act it out) and pouring emotions onto my speaking voice.

Equipment used for the shoot
Contemporary Scene
Flashback Scene
Flashback Scene

Looking forward to next year’s Film Workshops (if there will be one hopefully). Kudos to the facilitators, participants and to CLH team for making the film experience more worth!

My certificate

Disclaimer. Candent Learning Haus, an educational center for individuals with special needs, offers a variety of summer programs with Film Workshops as one of them. For more information, please visit their websiteFacebook and Instagram pages.  

#FlashbackFriday to my first camp: Why Camp L.I.F.E. is worth your summer :)

I remember my first camp as a junior facilitator. Now I’m one of the coaches. It was truly an amazing memorable experience despite being the only twenty-something in a youth summer camp (I was 23 when I joined Camp L.I.F.E. 2012 through invitation by my former teacher.) as it was just as useful in adulthood and I could learn a lot from its offered workshops such as arts and crafts, comic book, writing, storytelling, dance and music jam. It was also where I met friends I could relate to and whom I considered for lifetime keeps. The camp equally shaped me into a better leader and trained me to assume responsibilities given that I was trained to lead the rest of the campers and to assist the coaches.

These are my six main reasons why I appreciated Camp L.I.F.E. Even now as a coach, I cannot help but reminisce the great times I’ve had during my camper/junior facilitator days.

1/ I LEARNED HOW TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY.

One of the main purposes of the camp is to teach children and teenagers how to live independently. I’ve always wanted to live on my own as a teen yet only fulfilled my wish as I stayed away from home and spent my week with the campers and coaches. I then had to fix my own bed and proper belongings, to pack my plate after each meal, to wash and hang my dirty clothes, and to keep myself groomed without being told. A particular activity named Nutroplex Survivor Challenge taught all of us how to read directions using the compass, map symbols and maps, to build fire, to do first-aid without band aids and other usual wound medicines, and to cook rice with bamboo and clay pot (in fact, the rice tasted better when cooked with those despite that it usually took time to cook using them). These may not be as crucially needed when practically living on our own (for instance, when we have our own apartment), but I still found it interesting to discover tribal methods of survival.

576513_184267778360249_447448217_n
Learning to read the map – crucially needed when commuting and driving (soon!)

2/ I LEARNED A LOT OF NEW THINGS. 

I discovered many more things that I had not discovered before that included planning for script and designing a character in Comic Books Workshop. In friendship workshops, I learned that I was once in other campers’ shoes while the band camp motivated me further to improve more in my singing, guitar and piano skills. The latter also helped me in coordinating well with the band.

531208_184271781693182_558589178_n
During one of the workshops where cooking pot is one survival tip I learned

3/ IT HELPED ME ENHANCE MY TALENTS. 

The offered workshops gave me an opportunity to exploit my talent in singing, writing and drawing and develop my creativity, imagination and fast-thinking skills. In addition, I was given a chance to release my inner dancer when I unintentionally joined the dance workshop, yet I considered myself more as a band person than a dancer.

403464_10150735693564752_539244722_n
Featuring my character description in Comic Books Workshop – the character turns out to be French!
538744_184264258360601_995899675_n
Showcasing my singing talent during band camp sessions

4/ I LEARNED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITIES. 

A junior facilitator is a camper who leads the rest of the campers and assists the senior facilitators, otherwise known as the coaches. This means that my responsibilities involved others and not just myself, and my tasks back then were to monitor whether the girls’ bedroom was fixed and the bathrooms were clean, to distribute snacks when it was time for snacks and to ensure that the campers of the tribe (campers are divided into three tribes known as their teams) was complete through head-count. I took this as an opportunity to train myself in becoming a better leader and I realized that I could be one while I had always known myself as a follower. Besides, I even felt more than proud that the campers admired and looked up to me as their older sister figure.

528681_183373368449690_9093315_n
About to distribute snacks – one of my junior facilitator duties

5/ IT HELPED ME BUILD NEW FRIENDSHIPS.

The primary goals in camp are to form new friends and replenish old ones, and as a first-time camper, building new friendships was what camp had in store for me. I found it easier to make friends in camp as it was easy to find someone I could relate to and who shared similar interests as me there despite the fact that many were far from my age. The camp was also where I met my close friends and band mates.

380679_10150742747924752_700344945_n
With co-junior facilitator and friend made in camp

6/ I LEARNED HOW TO BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER PEOPLE AND MY SURROUNDINGS AND NOT ON MY OWN SELF. 

Last but not the least, being considerate to other people was what I learned most in camp. The camp is aimed at both neurotypical and individuals with special needs, and it made me realize how blessed I was despite being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a child and growing up with personal struggles and insecurities. Thus, I took these as an opportunity to share my blessings by being a helping hand to individuals with special needs. My experiences helped me understand them better and the camp was an occasion for me, well us, to embrace our differences and to feel that we had our potentials and a chance to develop them further.

576597_10150763676664752_324103462_n
With the Camp L.I.F.E. gang

I became an apprentice facilitator in my second camp (CAMP L.I.F.E 2014: The Daily Blog of an Apprentice Facilitator) and then a coach in last year’s camp (CAMP L.I.F.E. 2015: Yesterday a camper, now a coach). I am thankful for such opportunity given the unforgettable memories and experiences I have made there, and I find it endearing to work with special needs individuals and to bring sunshine in their lives. One does not stop from learning despite the level up. I am way looking forward to what next camp has to offer and it is indeed a fun learning experience.

535185_10150735693409752_692572381_n
Finally had my junior facilitator certificate on hand!

And now…

Me
A first time coach in Camp L.I.F.E. 2015

NB. For some unknown reason, the original entry of Camp L.I.F.E. 2012 experience (CAMP L.I.F.E 2012: Reasons why this camp is worth your summer experience 🙂) was taken down while I was looking for it to promote the camp. One reason I wrote this throwback entry.

Check Candent Learning Haus’s official website and Facebook page for teasers and countdowns. Most photos taken from Candent Learning Haus Facebook page. 

CAMP L.I.F.E. 2015: Yesterday a camper, now a coach

Remembering my good ‘ole’ camper days as the campers’ Ate (ie. older sister). I was invited to become a junior facilitator in my first camp, and reminisced how I enjoyed every moment in my ability to pursue my passions through joined workshops and activities, develop my talents, learn new skills, make new friends and spend my happiest moments with them, while facing the responsibilities such as being a role model to campers, monitoring the cleanliness of rooms, taking care of buddies and serving food during meals. It was indeed worth my summer to the point that I ended up writing an excellent feedback on camp as a blog entry. I explained my reasons why the camp was indeed an enjoyable life-learning experience, while remaining contact with my newly-made friends, whom I have already realized as my “friends for life.”

I was then promoted to become an apprentice facilitator two years later. I was still known as the campers’ Ate  yet with much more responsibilities on hand to the point that I was starting to have less time for breaks and social interactions. Most of my known tasks required so much sweat and blood that obliged me to work during the campers’ regular break, and my new assignments were to co-facilitate in certain activities and workshops such as morning exercises, social skills workshop and Superhero Team Quest as room marshal. I could already feel the ‘pain’ of being a coach at that moment. It turns out that I was right when I have finally become part of the facilitator’s circle in this year’s camp, providing a more leveled-up experience than my previously attended camps.

Being a volunteer coach is not an easy job. It requires so much heavier workload and responsibilities to the point that I am having a hard time knowing when to take grooming and self-care breaks (the only breaks facilitators can have during the day which can be even less than enough), which tasks to do first, and when to finish a certain task when other tasks are piling up while I am still on the process on doing the current. I am also having a hard time following instructions especially when they are explained abruptly, yet I am still expected to understand them like they are already clear. Having eyes on camper buddies and being a role model to campers (though I have less difficulties in these) are twice as expected in a senior and volunteer facilitators compared to being a junior and an apprentice facilitators. Rules expected in a camper to follow are twice as expected in a coach to live with, as much as self-control (controlling emotions – esp. negative, adapting appropriate behavior, dealing with pressure, being responsible for own actions..) is twice as vital.

There are times when I miss being a camper and want to go back from where I started. There are times when I am so easily carried away by pressure to the point that I almost ‘cried’ (yet I thankfully did not. Anyways sorry though..). But being a coach is part of my continuous life-learning experience from what I learned as a camper (especially now that I am already an adult), the main reason of which I did not regret choosing this path especially that being a coach has been part of my dreams. I learned to be independent and responsible not only in my daily living tasks (packing my plates, fixing my bed and proper belongings, grooming myself), but also in performing the assigned tasks and taking initiatives (though I am still learning honestly speaking). I have managed to pour my creative juices onto the campers’ kit, certificate, button pin design and the camp video presentation I made, and the tasks themselves have further enhanced my creativity that I can use for both work and leisure. I have also managed to handle the pressure no matter how hard it is, as well as unbearable circumstances I have no control over. Last but not the least, I have found time for FUN. Seeing the campers performing on stage, playing games, doing morning exercises (to be honest, there was a time when I asked myself if I could join the campers’ in their morning jog, yet I realized later on that I was no longer one of them so I did not join) and participating in the activities and workshops of their choice makes me relive those good ole experiences as a camper, and I have still managed to build new friendships and interact with old friends (especially after the program) despite having little time for socialization. Looking back at the photos and videos I took had also made me relive those moments in camp.

And meanwhile..my life as a volunteer facilitator..

photo5

As much as the campers have seen the coaches as their role models, I have also honestly considered my co-facilitators as role models in working individually and as a team. They have inspired me to be a team player both in and outside camp.

IMG_0525
The team behind the enjoyable life-learning camp. Kudos to all!

Further reading

“CAMP L.I.F.E 2014: The Daily Blog of an Apprentice Facilitator”

#FlashbackFriday to my first camp: Why Camp L.I.F.E. is worth your summer 🙂

Why Halloween is my favorite holiday

Here came the opportunities to transform into our scary-like creatures and to express our inner monsters. It was finally the time of the year to feast under the sights of pumpkin Jack-O lanterns, scarecrows, graveyards and spider-webbed homes, and to yearn for trick or treats dressed in our monstrous creepy selves. It was finally the time to dance to the beats of Michael Jackson’s Thriller dressed as zombies and to scream to the highest level at those eerie bloody scenes in high definition horror films. It was also the time to fill our stomachs with homemade oozing bloodshot eye jellies, chilly booger-like cucumber, and thick and blood-like tomato soups, as well as to trick others with a picture of our bloody hand carrying a knife (or without is already enough) in the sink while it was only coated with red food color that looked like real blood. At the foremost, my favorite holiday of the year had arrived. I was glad to have the opportunity to celebrate it this year, with a Zombie Apocalypse survival run in my hometown, a simple silent movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari marathon, a series of gore anime episodes marathon (Parasyte and Terra Formars), and a witch-costume worn in the Halloween Party of the special education center I am working for and also while providing trick or treats to children at my village. Halloween self pictorials, in other words, Halloween selfies, never failed to amaze me during this spooktacular time of the year.

IMG_8756
With a zombie during the run
IMG_8753
The scariest creatures I encountered while running

Others would either claim Christmas, New Year’s Eve or even Valentine’s Day as their favorite. I consider Halloween to be my top holiday, simply because I grew up with the likes of dark gothic sceneries, gore, horror films and works of literature (novels, poems..) and fantasy creatures (witches, ghosts, bats, black cats, centaurs, unicorns, vampires, Dracula..). Halloween presents a grand opportunity to exploit more of these than I would in an ordinary day – seeing those dressed creatures roaming in streets, those horror haunted decorated houses and gardens and lit graveyards, dressing up as one’s own monster and decorating one’s house as though it was haunted and abandoned. The known holiday also unleashes our inner creativity while we decorate our own houses with haunted looks, cook creepy and typical horror and dark comedy movie dishes inspired by a number of Halloween recipes online, and design our costumes through imitation of our favorite horror and dark fantasy creatures, doing a crossover of two-to-three creatures and/or fictional characters and improvisation of our own creepily designed costume. It is as considered as a momentum of our inner childhood, with the sole opportunity to yearn for bittersweet treats (and/or to help ourselves getting them) and to dress up.

These are the reasons for making HALLOWEEN as MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY. While Valentine’s Day would satisfy love and romance fanatics the most, Halloween would be more ideal for aficionados of FEAR and SCARE.

64751_10152836907054752_4250966186261691810_n
Me dressed in witch costume about to provide trick or treats to little monsters asking for them

I also took Halloween as an opportunity to pray for the departed souls together with my family and relatives. Hope you had a blessed All Saint’s and Soul’s Weekend, and of course, THE HAPPIEST (AND CREEPIEST) HALLOWEEN!

10441908_10152836914614752_1546189370032002233_n
Dressed as ‘the joker witch’

CAMP L.I.F.E 2014: The Daily Blog of an Apprentice Facilitator

I remember my first camp. I was invited to be one of the junior facilitators by a former tutor and the camp has nurtured me a fun and life-learning experience that has already marked my life. My tasks involved monitoring the venue’s cleanliness, assisting the facilitators in taking care of campers (e.g. doing the headcount when it’s time for activity), and looking after a buddy and distributing meals, while having the chance to enhance my talents and learn new skills through various workshops, and to apply my independent living skills. What marked me most back then was I met my friends for life. I felt blessed having the opportunity to join camp, discovering how I could be an inspiring role model to campers, most of whom have special needs.

My second camp was quite different from the first. I am now an apprentice facilitator – with bigger responsibilities aside from the ones assigned to a junior facilitator. One of these tasks involves labeling whether the different elements in the room (lockers, bed, baggage, bathroom..) are either clean or messy after the facilitators-in-charge have inspected the rooms.  I am also in charge of helping a volunteer in arranging the library corner, look after two camp buddies as some facilitators are tasked to do (camp facilitators are usually asked to look after two-to-four camp buddies), and to facilitate in some of the workshops (social skills) and activities (being one of the room marshals in Superhero Team Quest) with the coaches. While being a junior facilitator is all about assisting a coach and being an older sibling to the campers, an apprentice facilitator is trained to be one of the future camp facilitators. There are times when I am referred as a coach by the new campers. I am equally required to work during the campers’ regular free time, which is filled with sweat and blood.

photo4 (1)
Tasks I did as an apprentice facilitator. Seems like I am having fun in my job.

Yet this feels more like a challenge than a hindrance. I have told myself that it is time to move forward and I need to learn more skills that are more applicable in my adult day-to-day life. It is about time that I earn more respect from campers seeing me more as an actual adult rather than as a peer their age, who is actually an adult in disguise. While dreaming to be one of the senior camp facilitators in the future, I also need to be well-trained before joining their circle. Being an apprentice facilitator has fully exploited my skills in becoming a leader, and has boosted my self-worth and sense of accomplishment.

This year’s camp is indeed as memorable as my first. The following pictures sum up all the fun.

photo2

photo2 (1)

photo4

photo12

And this leaves me with..

photo1
My certificates as junior (2012) and apprentice (2014) facilitators. Who knows what will happen next? #aiminghigh

Further reading

#FlashbackFriday to my first camp: Why Camp L.I.F.E. is worth your summer 🙂

Like One Dream Benefit Concert, CAMP L.I.FE is also organized by Candent Learning Haus (CLH), a center for tutoring and special needs. Check their official website (http://candentlearninghaus.wix.com/candentlearninghaus) for more details.

One day at The Maya’s Kitchen..

Just when I thought of taking a baking class. I’ve always been involved in arts and music, my earliest passions in life, and thought of moving to a new direction where I can explore new interests such as culinary arts. I told myself that it would serve me in the future especially when moving away from parents, getting married and having my own family. My undeniable love for desserts also drove me to learn baking. I’ve been looking for a prestigious short baking course that’s worth my experience and to my luck, end up attending basic baking courses at The Maya’s Kitchen.

It is definitely one of the best courses I’ve been to. I’m not only referring to culinary arts courses but to courses in different areas. I’ve lived my life studying several courses such as voice, guitar, piano, charcoal painting, life coaching and personality development, theater acting workshops, and now, basic baking. It is my first time studying a culinary related course and the basic baking from Maya’s already satisfied me. I learned how to bake a variety of delicacies (bread, cakes, pastries, cookies..) and a few tips to bake them more effectively as to provide good taste, texture and appearance. Here are the snapshots taken during the demo and the hands-on.

1373446776427
The “mis-en-place”, wherein the bakers prepare the ingredients needed. The fundamental step in baking

???????????????????????????????
Cream Puffs in form of bird
IMG_20130710_142710
Chiffon Cake (top) and Pineapple Pie (bottom)
IMG_20130710_143950
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
IMG_20130711_130128
Spanish Bread sample from the baking demo
IMG_20130711_130133
Ensaymada samples from the baking demo
IMG_20130711_133322
Bread dough for pandesal. Let it rise (covered in cloth) before the actual baking
IMG_20130712_111721
Focaccia topped with caramelized onion and pepper, from special demo by Chef John

If you’re looking for a baking and other culinary-related course, the Maya’s Kitchen is definitely a must go! It is good to interact with an experienced instructor and sometimes course mates, who will guide you in giving your desserts a better flavor. Another reason for appreciating this course is I gained some friends. It is a relief knowing that other adults still explore their passions as I’ve always been doing.

IMG_20130712_133102
Basic Baking Class Batch July 09-12, 2013 with instructor Ms. Rory Quintos
IMG_1988
The Maya Kitchen’s freebies sported by dearest plushies
IMG_1994
Post-baking reads
IMG_20130712_132702
And finally, my baking certificate!

For more inquiries about the course and center, kindly visit the Maya’s Kitchen website. There is more to this culinary art center than my blog can tell. 🙂

Up ↑