Marking the start of 2016, the EDSOR peace camp was held last January 8-9. One of the most prestigious events yet available to our middle and high school students, the EDSOR peace camp is an annual event where potential student leaders from Xavier School San Juan, Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA), De La Salle Greenhills, and St. Pedro Poveda College are invited to participate in leadership training seminars and team-building activities.
This year, the EDSOR flag was raised by ICA, which acted as the official host of the event. In the context of the upcoming election season and the unique position that the youth have during the elections, the theme of this year’s EDSOR was “The V.O.T.E.” or “The Voice Of Team EDSOR.” This theme was selected with the hope of raising a generation of leaders who are willing and able to make a difference in today’s society, namely through the upcoming elections. As such, the program was geared towards the promotion of voter awareness and proper scrutiny of candidates through methods available to the youth.
EDSOR began with a speech by the School Directress of ICA, Sr. Irene Ferrer, on the role of the youth in the elections and our ability to orchestrate change. The speech was able to set the tone of the event as joyful, yet also serious in dealing with more pressing issues and themes. The event started off with some light-hearted icebreakers, but the event quickly got weightier with talks spearheaded by the Simbahan Lingkod ng Bayan or SLB.
The speaker, Fr. Xavier Alpasa, gave a discussion on labeling and its increasing prevalence in our society, which soon gave way to his point on certain prevailing issues in our society, namely: poverty, ecological disaster and the role of mercy as a value essential to any official. With these in mind, EDSOR participants were given quite a few things to look out for when considering promising candidates. Once the plenary was finished, participants were given time to reflect and synthesize before the main event of day 1, the amazing race.
For hours, participants attempted to overcome challenges that required cooperation and trust in their group mates. In what was a fitting ending, the letters that participants got from each challenge spelled out the word “leadership” when put together, reminding us that the true purpose of the event, aside from the fun, was to learn and become better student leaders. The day ended with a prayer session as participants pledged to remain socially aware citizens contributing to society – a pledge that was cemented through a ritual where participants were made to fill in the colorless gaps within a Philippine flag, symbolizing our ability to fix the holes in society.
The second day began with a bang, with the entire contingent of participants, facilitators, and moderators alike, dancing to a song that served to remind us of our duty and role as the youth in the Church. Participants then proceeded to join a workshop hosted by members of PETA, the Philippine Educational Theatre Association. Starting with the most basic forms of acting, participants slowly developed performances ranging from musical numbers to solo scenes with the final goal of showcasing the troubles of the electoral process in a creative manner. After repeated rehearsals and various adjustments, the participants were finally ready to perform in front of a crowd of invited guests. The stage resounded with the cries of the youth as each performance brought a new level of depth to the numerous issues concerning the election season.
Finally, the curtains closed on the participants as we prepared to end our event in solemnity through a Mass. As we prepared to leave, reflecting on the events of the past few days and thinking about the countless memories and friendships that would no doubt remain within our hearts, we knew that this was only the beginning. We realized that despite our inability to vote, we have the power and responsibility to make sure that we make a difference within our community and to guide the country step by step into choosing worthy, just, and morally upright leaders.