Laudato Si’ Camp: Lead the Change!

Aspirants Summer Camp 2021

By Asp. Vince Joseph Alvarez Pedrola

The Summer Camp is one of the most awaited activities of the aspirants in Don Bosco Formation Center – Lawaan. This is a formative experience that allows the aspirants to have a breather after a successful journey in the  previous formation year. Unlike the usual summer camps, this year is more special, practical, and fruitful as the  aspirants reflected and responded to Pope Francis’ encyclical letter – Laudato Si’. Hence, it was themed as “Laudato Si’  Camp: Lead the Change!”. 

Amidst the threat of the COVID-19, the formators were able to scout a conducive and safe location for the  week-long camp. St. Joseph Coast and Cottages, a beach resort run by St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Alegria, Cebu  under the leadership of Fr. Reynaldo Qui, became the venue from July 27-31, 2021. 

Twenty aspirants camped while seven fourth-year aspirants were at the helm of the entire  event. Together with them were six Salesian formators and two lay mission partners to ensure the smooth running and safety of the camp. 

On the first day after the orientation, the campers were divided into three groups – The Baggins, Servie Dei, and Earthly Stewards – to make group flags and yells. The opening activity was followed by an input on Laudato Si’ by Asp.  Pius Yawalele. This allowed the campers to understand and reflect better the encyclical of Pope Francis.

The second day  became the practical application of what they have reflected upon the first day as they went for an intense clean-up  drive within the parish compound and its resort. On the third day, the focus was on nature appreciation. The aspirants,  together with some of the Salesians, went for a three-hour hike (11.23 km) to Cambais Falls. The locals met them with  big smiles and warm hospitality as the aspirants greeted them along the way.

Upon reaching the place, the magnificence of the waterfalls was refreshing. A huge, milky blue pool surrounded by ferns, boulders, and trees welcomed them after a very long hike. After spending three hours swimming and appreciating the beauty of the place, the aspirants hiked back to the campsite for another three hours, but this time, as they prayed the holy rosary. 

Nothing could stop the fever of the camp. The aspirants had their amazing race and other team-building events in view of Laudato Si’ on the fourth day. That day became extra special with the participation of the young people of the parish. An hour of vocation promotion and group sharing transpired between the aspirants and the young people in the afternoon. A friendly football match followed after. Everyone enjoyed each  other’s company without neglecting to observe the health protocols against COVID-19.

In the evening of the same day, a simple dinner program with the parish priest was held. Each of the three groups presented their out-of-the-box items inspired by their experiences in the camp and after Laudato Si’. A certificate and a token of appreciation were given to the parish priest as a symbol of DBFC’s heartfelt gratitude for his hospitality. 

The camp concluded with the awarding ceremony on the fifth day. Asp. Rene Lagria was awarded as the Camper  of the Year. The coordinator of the aspirants challenged everyone to bring all the good things that they have learned  from the camp as they go back to the formation center and, thus, lead the change in the ordinariness of daily life most  especially in taking care of the environment.

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