The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

Inside Hayaw: VYLH launches two-part Visayas Cluster Camp

Have you ever been to a place far away but feels like home? Or a place where you can identify yourself with people who know the feeling of being there and have done that? Or maybe being with people who are also advocating a cause worth fighting for? Because once upon a time, I experienced that.

Last May 18-20 in a far away land in the City of Smiles at Palmas Del Mar Resort, gathered a group of confident, enthusiastic, talented, and amazing people across the islands of Panay-Guimaras, and the two provinces of the Negros Islands (Negros Occidental and Oriental). It was such a pleasure meeting new people because you get to know not just their selves but also their culture.

Being chosen as my school’s representative to VYLH-Philippines, I realized that it was a privilege and an honor because not all youth can get this kind of opportunity to be part of this organization advocating for health, and spreading awareness thru volunteerism. The camp opened my mind that this organization does not only accept people in the medical field but it is open to all people who are willing to take the responsibility of being a volunteer youth leader (VYL) for health regardless of race, gender, and profession.

The first day was a little bit off for me because I barely knew the people who I’m going to spend the three-day camp with. But as the hours went by and I started knowing each one of them, it hit me hard upon realizing that I am surrounded by amazing group of people. 

The camp started with a “bang” as we met the people behind VYLH and the facilitators who organized the camp. The young and fresh minds of the campers were filled by listening to the lectures on the VYLH advocacies, and the issues faced by the youth today. Later that evening, the Socials Night was a great opportunity to get to know the other delegates. It also proved that each individual has something to give by showing their talents confidently. 

The next day, the campers started the morning with a devotion and some fun morning exercises. After that, we took our breakfast and went on for more lectures about the advocacies on orphan disorders, and preconception health – the newest VYLH advocacy. The team building activity tested each team's skills, values, and teamwork. After completing the activity together, we were able to understand each other's strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Understanding these is vital not just to the organization but to our community and ourselves, as well. And, this will be crucial in our work as a group in the future. The night culminated with the most important event - setting our commitment as volunteer youth leaders and advocates to the organization and to rest of the country.

The last day of the camp gave mixed emotions to all. The regional cultural presentation showcased the culture and history of each island. This was followed by the Kalog awards and the VYLH “tradition”. Many of us were not ready to say our goodbyes and leave the camp yet, but it was time to go back home.

At this juncture, I would like to thank the whole VYLH-Philippines family, the Department of Health Western Visayas Regional Office, and Newborn Screening Center Visayas for spearheading this once in a lifetime event that changed our outlook in life; for opening our young minds on aspiring greater heights; and for impacting our lives with so much love, positivity, and awareness.

After joining this camp, I realized that I didn’t just gained friends but I found a family worth promising. The camp indeed was full of surprises, laughter and some tears but in the end, it was an experience of a lifetime. The journey and the possibilities is yet to come for each one of us. Definitely, this is just the beginning of an adventure that will last till the end of time - for there is no ending in this story that will still go on until the next generation comes.# 
Hayaw is the Visayan word for rise or emerge. The second part of the Visayas Cluster Camp that will serve Central and Eastern Visayas is scheduled on August 2018 in Cebu. 

Written by Karl Scott BaƱares (Batch Hayaw)
Iloilo City

Karl Scott Banares is a BS Pharmacy student at University of San Agustin in Iloilo City.


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