MCI Youth Camp fosters learning by authentic participation

by Jerwin J. Capuras

The Minority Care International and MCI Students Association are once again taking the lead in engaging young students from different cultural backgrounds across the Davao region to meaningfully participate in a series of community and character building activities through its Annual Youth Retreat Camp. Approximately 50 young campers took the weekend off from school and trooped to the three-day yearly study retreat of MCI. This unique program aims to develop a community of caring and socially responsible youths through a series of activities specifically designed to help them achieve their own potential. The study camp exposes youth to different sets of workshops and team building activities that allows them to create an environment where they can share new perspectives, ideas and opinions. It also fosters an avenue where they can build personal competencies, take roles of responsibility, and develop an attitude of commitment, self-respect and appreciation for simple things through first hand learning experiences.

Aside from these activities, another highlight of the three-day camp was book reading. This initiative was also conceived by MCI to encourage young campers to hit the books. For the past six years since the inception of the study camp, MCI has gathered campers to read, discuss, learn and connect with the stories of people who brought inspiration to the majority youth today. Like the previous camps, participants of the annual retreat were introduced to the life stories of Immaculee Illibagiza, Benjamin Carson, and William Wilberforce. This year, MCI chooses a book entitled Fireproof, a valued-based book written to challenge the camper’s cultural perspectives on relationships. This book reading activity gives the students the opportunity to express what they had learned through simple discussions and open forums. It also heightened the participants’ confidence to read a text closely and express their insights while concomitantly learning from one another.

The theme of this year’s study camp was “Love is a Choice,” inspired by the lessons from the book Fireproof.

For six years, the MCI has continually held this annual study camp as a way to enrich the lives of the young students across the Mindanao region. Also the youth camp sought to imbue young participants with a deeper sense of oneness and community despite the differences in their cultural upbringing. This special event also serves as a wonderful avenue to celebrate the participants’ diversity and to widen the common ground they share, in order to strengthen one another.

Dr. Aland D. Mizell, MCI President, enthuses during the camp, “Our mission in MCI is to develop an individual who has compassion, respect for others, and appreciation for human value. We are committed to develop a generation who will be equipped to stand for what they know is right and help others to achieve their full potential.”

MCI looks forward to the day when students will live with uncompromising principles and be a vessel to inspire other young minds. The camp experience will continually serve as a challenge and will further encourage the students to move to greater heights.

The 2014 MCI Youth Camp houses participants at Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort at the most recent one, August 8-10, 2014. The people of Greenville, a small community east of Dallas, Texas, also supported this program. This has also been attended personally by the following MCI contributors who flew all the way from Texas to Davao: Ms. Kay Mizell, a college professor in Texas; Mr. Raymond Salmon, a Design Engineer; Mr. Bradley Byers, a sales representative; Ms. Leslie Killgore and her son Joseph, both certified financial planners. They were the ones who facilitated the study sessions during the three-day camp.