A lot of them were very excited, but some were still thinking, “Why am I here? What will I get from this camp?” Little did they know they would embark on a priceless journey of self-discovery, character development, and skill enhancement. Little did they know they would find something valuable that some people could only wish to have – a family.

The scholars were welcomed with motivating words by the Executive Vice-Chairman of PhilDev, Jones Castro. After expressing his gratitude to Shell, he went on describing the programmes for the 3-day camp, saying they are “expansive,” “exciting,” and “exhausting.” Addressing the scholars, he said, “You’re all going through the same road, but different stages of that road.” Furthermore, he shared four words he hoped the scholars would keep in mind: self, family, community, and country.

Edgardo Veron Cruz, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) Executive Director, on the other hand, gave an informative presentation about PSFI, its programmes (including the Shell-PhilDev Scholarship) and their respective beneficiaries. After his presentation, he advised the scholars to “Try to maintain a balance between other things you do and studying. At this stage, it’s important that you’re focused on your studies, not because of the scholarship alone, but because it’s all about your future.”

Batch 3, the newest in the bunch, had the Leadership Enhancement and Attitude Development (LEAD) Workshop, which batches 1 and 2 took before. This year, the earlier batches took up modules which Shell and PhilDev thought to be relevant and fit for them.

From the three days of intensive and learning-packed sessions, here are three things that make the Shell-PhilDev Leadership Camp 2016 a camp worth remembering:

The journey of self-discovery

A scholar sharing her life vision
A scholar sharing her life vision during one of the LEAD Workshop activities

Through the LEAD Workshop, batch 3 scholars were given an avenue to reflect on their past – what made them who they are today, present – what they are going through, and future – what they want to change and who they want to be.

Teaching them how to deal with life and its complexities, they were given a chance to strengthen their faith, embrace one’s pain and the pain of others, evaluate broken lines in their families, acknowledge the good in themselves, learn the significance of teamwork, learn how to make the right decisions, and set a vision for themselves.

During their free time, they were also able to experience tree and vegetable planting, which they definitely enjoyed.

Standing out in the real world

Students playing Icebreaker
Icebreaker games

Batch 1 and 2 scholars were exposed to a different kind of experience. As they are about to enter a new phase in their lives, with some of them graduating soon, they were given the opportunity to learn from speakers with years of experience and from young professionals starting out in the real world. 

As they were encouraged to exhibit executive presence early on, they actively involved themselves in the discussions and activities. They were taught the essence of leadership, introduced to the core values of Shell (Honesty, Integrity, and Respect for People), and taught the skills and values they would need to possess when they step out to the world of work.

A second family

Shell-PhilDev scholars raising their hands in unity
Shell-PhilDev scholars united as one

What we witnessed in this year’s camp was exceptional. We saw how strong bonds were formed. Without forcing the scholars to get along, they formed a natural connection. Maybe their struggles are not exactly similar, but their empathy towards each other is heartfelt.

Fellowship night

After the emotionally stirring and intellectually stimulating 3 days, the scholars amazed everyone with their talents during the fellowship night. Be it acting, singing, or dancing, they had the crowd smiling, laughing, and crying.

The scholars, especially those from batch 1, could not help but break down in tears because of their gratitude to Shell-PhilDev. It was definitely a night full of emotions, a night that marked the scholarship programme’s three fruitful years of nurturing the Filipino talent.

Capping off the night with nothing but positive vibrations, PSFI Programme Development Manager/Shell-PhilDev Camp Master Jay Javier thanked everyone for making the 2016 camp a success. Having seen the development of the scholars since day one, he challenged them to use their skills and achievements to make a positive impact in the country.

“You are all our future leaders. You are the leaders who will lead us into a brighter future. Don’t ever forget, you are our future. And we hope, we expect, and we are confident that you will lead the way not just for yourselves, but for all the other scholars who will follow you.” – Jones Castro

By Rachael Nathanielsz

Article published on PSFI news magazine October 2016 issue