Ayala Young Leader’s Camp
February 19-23, Malvar, Batangas
I never thought a four-day congress would be a life-changing and very humbling experience. I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace for using the 4-day congress to unwind myself from the tempestuous academic and personal matters and reminded me that my Great Superior is at work in my life for His glory.
In the orientation, it happened at the Ayala Museum, they encouraged us to keep an open mind, get over ourselves, create a safe space for growth, and be reasonably disturbed with our surroundings.
From his inspirational talk of giving back through his foundation Apple of My Eye program as well as integrating his Filipino identity to his craft, the rapper encouraged us delegates to not only follow our creativity in pursuing our leadership projects but also give others the opportunity to lift each other up.
From UA&P who shared her rappelling experience: “Sometimes I think some things are petty to be considered, but when I go deeper, it’s actually telling something about myself. For instance, during one of the outdoor activities, rappelling, I knew I could not do it because I have a fear of heights, but as I contemplate on that “fear,” I realized that it was something deeper about me. It wasn’t just about the fear of heights; it was about insecurities and anxieties and all other self-discoveries.”
Overall, during the congress, I learned that being a part of this prestigious program is not a privilege but a responsibility. There were myriads of realizations, insights, and takeaways from the panel discussions, workshops, outdoor activities, even during meals with the Ayala Corp. executives.
Fires were burning inside our hearts, and our passions were kindled and are very much alive. It was an unforgettable journey of finding the intersection between our deepest gladness and the world’s hunger. To conclude my whole journey here in AYLC it is to be an effective leader we must be a reflective leader, and our life will be our message to the world.
– VERONICA CASTILLO, 3rd year, BSBA-FM3A
‘Do I really deserve to be part of this?’, ‘What did they see in me that made me qualify for AYLC?’ But as soon as we had our plenary sessions, the Congress Director, Mr. Simon Mossesgeld (or whom we fondly call Tatay Monch) talked about servant leadership—and there, I finally settled the questions I had for myself. He talked about how the AYLC Leadership
Framework is about awareness [of the realities of the world—knows, feels and understands the needs, problems and concerns of others], stewardship [caring and taking responsibility for members, organizations and society], vision [a clear, compelling picture of the desired future that is radically different] and community [where there is a sense of belonging and being valued]—and that really resonated with my personal values as someone who has the heart to serve other people.
It set the tone for the day when they shared with us some really valuable life mantras such as, “The bigger the challenges and the falls, the higher you will rise up”—which was really in line for the outdoor activities we were to face that day. We had this “Trust Fall” wherein we had to catch/spot for each other when one of us falls, “Cling and Swing” in which we learned that things don’t always go as planned—we just have to improvise and move on as we go along, the Rope Balancing Course that had four phases, the first phase had two people helping you balance, the next phase, only one can help you out; and the last two was without guidance (except for a few seconds of momentary aid). That course taught me, the throughout your leadership journey, it’s not all the time that people would be there to help you out, sometimes, there are times wherein you have to face some struggles on your own.
Commitment— “Para kanino mo to ginagawa?”, and I told with conviction that I am doing this for the street kids of the Philippines. Scaling the wall was challenging, but this activity taught me that no encounter is too difficult to overcome if you have people who believe in you and help you achieve your goals. As we successfully overcame the wall as a team, we all cheered and cried as we knew that there is hope for the Filipino nation with each other as leaders committed to serve the Filipino people with hearts ablaze.
Towards the plenary hall and counted the remaining hours before this was all over. It was inspiring to see AYLC Alumni on stage for the third-panel discussion. Mr. Nizam Pabil (AYLC 2011), Ms. Allyn Sta. Maria (AYLC 2001) and Mr. Jeffrey Tarayao (AYLC 2000)—it has been a while since they themselves were also part of delegates of this congress and it was truly inspiring when they uttered the words “Like a compass, you will always find your way back home and to be loyal to your mandate
As we were on the bus heading back to Makati, I can’t help but tear up a little bit. The entire Ayala Youth Leaders Congress experience was truly one for keeps. I will forever hold in my heart the newfound family that I had spent almost a week with, the valuable insights and knowledge that I have gained regarding what it truly means to be a leader.”
(JULIANA OROPEO, in her letter to her parents…)
You both would’ve for sure been proud to see your daughter lead the group or even the whole batch in the last and most powerful outdoor training ever… because I was at 110%. That was one of my proudest moment in the congress. After the activity, people thanked me. People actually thanked me for “leading” them to victory.
During the congress, I thought of my past experiences and how I was and I realized I have been taking things for granted and I for sure want to change that. I don’t want to do and take things that have no heart in it and at the same time wish for things to happen differently.
In this congress, I learned and gained humility. I am so so so blessed to be a part of this congress and to actually call it home. But what I will never forget is the connection I had with these people. Things would’ve failed for me if I didn’t feel any spark with my groupmates and batchmates. But with them, I conquered my fear, gained need learnings and probably gained more weight because of them.
With that being said, I promise to be the light that people need. The same light these people were to me. I wasn’t the usual Julianna in this congress… I actually felt like I was a better version of myself in here and I want to keep it that way. With this being my commitment, I promise to show support and care for the people I interact with… and of course to my self. That way, I don’t just help others but also improve on myself.
This truly was a congress that will forever be in my heart. I am Julianna Oropeo, your daughter… who is committed to the Filipino.
-JULIANA OROPEO, 4th year LIACOM